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Domestic Abuse

Course Code

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Domestic Abuse
Nar row: focus on physical injur ies
Broad: psychological, verbal, spiritual, and economic abuse included
Gender neutral/specific: spousal abuse (more inclusive) vs. wife abuse (from feminist
Nearly 30% of mar r ied women or common-law relationship have been physically abused
2/3 reported they were abused more than once
Yet mostly underreported
More likely to be beaten by your partner than anyone else in society
Who are more likely to be victims?
Abor iginal women
Economically disadvantaged women
Living in rural or isolated area
Immigrant women (for cultural bar r iers and SES disadvantages)
Cohabiting, separating and divorcing women
More common if wife has higher income or only a wife has a job
Theoretical explanations
Feminist theor y: abuse as husbands defense mechanism in their fear of womens
increasing economic and social independence
Social exchange theor y: tradeoff of reward and penalty
Symbolic interaction theory: couples fail to negotiate a non-violent pattern to deal with
their conf licts
Why do they still stay?
Committed to the wife/mother role: identity issue (failure of gender role playing), for the
sake of children
Fear of the consequence of leaving: poverty, less skill, isolation, short of knowledge and
social network
Feeling powerless: mental problem of depression and low self esteem
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