Domestic Violence Theory Effects

Domestic Violence: Theory, Effects & Interventions Essay, Research Paper The female is, as it were, a mutilated…a sort of natural deficiency. It is not appropriate in a female character to be manly or clever.

Domestic Violence: Theory, Effects & Interventions Essay, Research Paper

The female is, as it were, a mutilated…a sort of natural deficiency.

It is not appropriate in a female character to be manly or clever.

The male is by nature superior and the female inferior.”


Domestic violence has been present in our society and an accepted practice of many cultures for hundreds of years. Up until the late 1800’s, a man in this country had the right to chastise his wife until the practice was declared illegal in two states (Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence Manual, p. B-8). Old English Common Law allowed husbands to beat their wives provided that the stick they used was not thicker than his thumb; hence the phrase “Rule of Thumb”(Heart on a Chain [Video]). Although times have changed in this regard and laws have been enacted in order to protect women from abuse, the fact remains that acts of domestic violence occur every 15 seconds in the United States.

Over the past two decades, extensive research has been done on the dynamics of domestic violence. Through this research, many of the aspects of domestic violence are better understood. Various researchers have theorized the causal mechanism behind domestic violence, have studied the characteristics of both the female victim and the male perpetrator, and have researched the effects on men, women, and the invisible victims of domestic violence: the children. Unfortunately, despite all that has been learned, domestic violence is still prevalent in today’s society. The question is why?

In an attempt to answer this question, this paper will present and discuss many of the theories of domestic abuse that have transpired as a result of years of research. Additionally, the emotional, psychological, and behavioral impact on the female victim and her children will be presented through the empirical evidence. Third, this paper will also present approaches to intervention strategies used with family members involved in violence. Finally, this paper will hypothesize, based upon the research, why, in today’s society, does domestic violence still exist?

Definition & Description

Domestic violence is defined as the physical or emotional abuse of an adult or child by a family member or friend. Physical abuse includes pushing, slapping, or grabbing, throwing objects, kicking, biting or punching, beating up, raping or sexually exploiting an adult or child and/or threatening with a weapon. Emotional abuse includes name calling, making jokes that are demeaning, verbally threatening physical abuse, isolating or unreasonably confining an adult or child, and/or the repeated humiliation of an adult or child (Woman Aware [Brochure]).

A person of any age or sex may be a victim of domestic violence. However, according to statistics, the majority of victims are women, children, and the dependent elderly (Woman Aware [Brochure]). Additionally, although there are many reported instances and services available to men who are victims and to those in gay, lesbian, and bisexual relationships, this paper will focus on the majority; that is the male perpetrator and the woman victim.

Literature Review

Etiology of Domestic Violence

Due to the complexity of family violence with its many forms, there has been a number of etiological models that have developed over the years (Kashani & Allen, 1998). The following is a description of some of these frameworks for which the understanding of domestic violence has been based on.

Psychoanalytic Theory stems from the belief that individual personality traits which develop early in life, predicts the probability that a person will be a victim of or submit to violence. These characteristics can and have been reported as psychiatric diagnosises. For example, a common abuse scenario could be explained through the diagnosis of “dependant/self-defeating personality disorder.” That is, a woman who tolerates an abusive relationship may exhibit one or all of the following behaviors: a pattern of self-defeating behavior such as choosing people and situations that ultimately lead to failure. She may reject the help of others and respond in negative ways. The reaction of others will then be a source of hurt for the individual. Furthermore, the woman may not follow through with actions that are crucial to her ability to obtain her goals. Therefore, with respect to this theory, it would then seem that the woman possesses an inborn personality trait that may predispose her to tolerate an abusive relationship (Harway, 1998).

Sociobiological theories focus on the work of Darwin and notion that the physical characteristics and behaviors of species develop over time through the process of natural selection (Rowe, 1994). According to Kashani and Allan (1998), since behaviors that help one’s offspring to survive are considered functional, parents are expected to invest more resources in one of their own children than in a non-relative child. Sociobiological theorists would explain that the function of marital violence can be found in the potential purpose of coercive control in marriages which can be viewed as being motivated by the male need to guarantee his paternity by ensuring compliance through power and control (Kashani & Allan, 1998). This could imply that the husband has justification in the scheme of evolution to engage in abusive tactics…all to insure the continuation of future generations.

The theory of Intergenerational Transmission which borrows ideas from Social Learning Theory, involves the relationship between parental violence and subsequent child violence during adulthood. Specifically, it is believed that abused children are more likely to become abusers, victims, or violent offenders (Kashani & Allan, 1998). For example, a study conducted by Rynerson and Fishel (1993) surveyed parents who were abusive and found that 38.8% of men and 32% of women have had memories of their fathers physically abusing their mothers. However, after further review of the research, the authors believe that retrospective data is sometime unreliable due to the fact that the parents may blame others for their abusive behavior (Kashani & Allan, 1998). Therefore it would seem that although the statistics show a clear correlation, “blaming others” could be construed as an excuse for abusive behaviors, thus removing responsibility from the abuser.

Additionally, with respect to women experiencing violence, Harway (1993) relates the Theory of Learned Helplessness to the Social Learning Theory and how it may explain the passive nature of battered women. Harway (1993) believes that the battered woman perceives the situation as hopeless and eventually loses the ability to believe that anything she does will affect the outcome. Although this particular theory has been criticized by some researchers, it has been altered to the extent that “learned helplessness does not result immediately from abuse, but as a reaction over time to battered women’s realization their partners’ violent behavior cannot be controlled” (p.32). This remains as one of the leading explanations of the learned behavior of battered women (harway, 1993).

Social Psychological Theory explains the strong emotional bond that forms between the battered woman and her partner, sometimes referred to a traumatic bonding (Painter & Dutton, 1985). This term is defined as a strong emotional tie that develops between two people when one person harasses, beats, threatens, abuses, or intimidates the other. This intermittent behavior between the couple has been identified as the Cycle of Abuse. The cycle of abuse consists of three stages: (a) the tension building phase, (b) the acute battering stage; (c) the loving and contrite phase or honeymoon phase (Painter & Dutton, 1985). Harway (1998) concurs that it is the repetitive nature of the build up, the trauma during the battering, and the reconciliation that follows that helps bond the battered woman to her batterer, traumatically, and causes her to remain in the relationship. Furthermore, Harway (1998) explains that the period immediately following the battering is experienced by the woman as one of extreme aversive arousal, together with feelings of self-blame, depression, and helplessness. These feelings leave the battered woman vulnerable and dependent for some period of time after the incident. During the loving phase, the batterer’s calmness, sensitivity, and behavior serve to relieve the woman’s fears, temporarily. This allows her to believe that she is in control and encourages her hopes of change, believing that the violence will not recur. By behaving as the ideal loving husband during this phase, he reduces the aversive arousal he has created and reinforces the likelihood that she will stay in the relationship (Harway, 1998).

Family Systems theorists hypothesize that the violence that ensues between a couple is a contribution of both partners and is seen as a result from their need to maintain a pattern of equilibrium, (functional or dysfunctional) in the system. Men and woman in violent relationships are said by family systems therapists to be experiencing difficulties in separating from their families of origins and are using violence to regulate the closeness/distance theme in the relationship (Hanson, 1993). This theory, however, is criticized by many researchers due to the theory’s implication of blame, especially on the woman.

There are a number of theories that attempt to explain domestic violence. Regardless of which theory one may prescribe to, one cannot overlook the common link that underlies many of the theories. This common link is the power and control mechanism that exists in a domestic violence situation and is the basis of still another theory. The Duluth Model is based solely on the power and control mechanism and has become the theory most widely used for understanding domestic violence.

In 1980, after a brutal domestic abuse homicide, the Duluth, Minnesota Domestic Violence Intervention Project (DAIP) found a community willing to experiment with new practices to confront the problem of men’s violence against women (Pence & Paymar, 1993).

In 1984, based on group interviews with women attending educational classes offered by the DAIP, a framework was developed for describing the behavior of men who physically and emotionally abuse their partners. According to Pence and Paymar (1993), many of the women criticized theories that described battering as sporadic, rather than a constant force in their relationship. Additional criticism was given to the theories that attributed the violence to men’s inability to cope with stress and those that failed to acknowledge fully the intention of batters to gain control over their partners’ actions, thoughts and feelings (Pence & Paymar). As a result of these interviews and educational sessions 200 battered women designed the Power and Control Wheel. (See Figure 1 and Table 1) The Power and Control Wheel illustrates that domestic violence is part of a pattern of behaviors rather than isolated incidents of abuse or sporadic explosions of pent up anger, frustration, or painful feelings. For example, the stereotyped behavior using “male privilege” explicitly shows how power is a dominant factor in the male perpetrator’s psyche. The behavior of male privilege which includes treating women like servants, making all the decisions, acting like the master of the castle, and being the one who defines men and woman’s roles, (Pence & Paymar, 1993). Additionally, the behavior using coercion and threats through various means illustrates the need to have control over another in an abusive relationship. Further, Pence & Paymar (1993) explain that the tactics used by batters reflect the tactics used by many groups or individuals in positions of power. Each of the tactics described on the Power and Control Wheel are typical of behaviors used by groups of people who dominate others such as those groups which sustain racism, ageism, classism, heterosexism, anti-Semitism, and many other forms of group domination.

Individual Characteristics of Men and Women in Violent Relationships

The Female Victim. Most studies of battered woman involve those victims who sought refuge in a shelter after a serious incident of violence, which most likely represents a bias toward economic and social disadvantage (Jaffe, Wolfe & Wilson, 1990). However, due to the fact that studies have begun to examine broader community samples, it has been found that victims originate from all socioeconomic backgrounds (Jaffe, Wolfe & Wilson, 1990). Further, Harway (1998) adds that: “there is no evidence that the status that a woman occupies, the role she performs, the behavior she engages in, her demographic profile, or her personality characteristics consistently influence her chances of intimate victimization” (p. 35). For example, Harway (1998) cites an example of research conducted on 403 battered women, ages 17-59 years. The results indicated that the women were of middle class status, well educated and employed. Therefore, this would seem to indicate that becoming a victim of domestic violence could and does happen to anyone.

The Male Perpetrator. According to the research, there are two distinct variables that have been correlated to be characteristic of the male perpetrator. These variables include the male’s childhood experiences and use of alcohol.

The characteristics of male perpetrators are consistent with respect to the issue of childhood experiences. In most cases, a batterer usually has had instances of childhood abuse or witnessed abuse between parents (Pence & Paymar, 1990, Kashani & Allan, 1998). For example, Pence and Paymar (1990) explain that the history of a man who batters is often a history of childhood abuse, exposure to male role models who have shown hostile attitudes toward women and exposure to women hating environments (Pence & Paymar, 1990).

Alcohol abuse tends to be a factor in those men who batter. Alcohol has been found to be present in almost half of all reported incidents of wife assaults. However, most researchers indicate a correlational relationship rather than a causal (Jaffe, Wolfe & Wilson, 1990). Nevertheless, as Pence and Paymar (1190) have found in their work with these men that although their pain and scars must be taken into consideration, the fact remains that this not only explains the reasoning behind the violence, but also provides an excuse for its continuation. In other words, it is not unlikely that an abuser will attribute a battering incident to his use of alcohol. The woman then believes that if the alcohol abuse ceases, so will the abuse. Unfortunately, this is usually not the case. Although the use of alcohol does intensify the battering incident, it does not cause the abuser to abuse (Pence & Paymar, 1990)

The Children of Domestic Violence

The research on domestic violence and children has, for the most part, focused on children who are direct victims of physical abuse. It has only been in the last decade that researchers have addressed the issue of the “indirect” victims of family violence (Fantauzzo, Boruch, Beriama, Atkins, & Marcus, 1997). The literature overwhelmingly concludes that there is a multitude of detrimental effects on the children who are exposed to domestic violence. The effects on children witnessing domestic violence include Attention Deficit Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, somatic complaints, externalizing behaviors such as aggression, anger, non-compliance, and internalizing problems such as anxiety, depression, low self esteem, social behavioral and academic problems (Holden, 1998).

In a general sense, it is believed that a child witnessing domestic violence is equated to psychological abuse of a child. By definition, psychological abuse is a direct attack by an adult on a child’s development of self and social competence (Peled & Davis, 1995). The psychological maltreatment of child witnesses can take three forms: terrorizing, living in a dangerous environment, and exposure to limiting and negative role models. The child is terrorized when the adult perpetrator of violence verbally assaults the child, creates a climate of fear, bullies and frightens the child, and makes believe that the world is a hostile place to live. Therefore, it is suggested that the perpetrator is not only abusing the woman but also the children who witness the violence (Peled & Davis, 1995). The following is a discussion of some of the possible detrimental effects on children cause by domestic violence.

Attachment Affects Attachment Theory suggests that a young child normally works back and forth between exploration of the environment and checking in with an attachment figure. In times of stress, exploration is reduced and contact with a secure base is enhanced. Therefore, infants who are exposed to domestic violence may suffer serious consequences with respect to attachment (Holden, Geffner & Jouriles, 1998). Their basic needs for attachment may be disrupted by un-normal routines. The mother, who is under stress due to the violence, may not adequately meet the demands of a small infant. The infant may then recognize this distance and a lack of availability which will in turn affect the natural bond that forms between mother and child (Jaffe, Wolfe & Wilson, 1990).

Further, since these children do not experience the warmth, affection, and caring from parents that is associated with healthy parent-child relations, the trust between a child and a violent parent may be severely strained (Kashani, Shekim, Burk, & Beck 1997). For example, females witnessing abuse as children report that their relationships with their parents were characteristic of the insecure attachment style. This insecure attachment style associated with familial violence may then lead to developmental problems or psychopathology (Kashani, et al., 1997).

Internalizing Effects Although a strong correlation has not been documented between family violence and a subsequent diagnosis of major depression, researchers have found that children may exhibit many symptoms of depression (Kashani, et al., 1997). For example Kashani, Shekim, Burk & Beck (1997) found that there is a significant relationship between children’s self reported fear of future violence and a diagnosis of depression. Additionally, documentation has shown that children who witness abuse may manifest symptoms of depression, such as the sad affect, social withdrawal, and low self-esteem (Kashani, et al., 1997). The child may also begin to blame himself when the mother shows aggression in order to protect the child but not in protecting herself. The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence explains that while men use violent acts for power and control, women use them in self defense in order to stay alive or to protect themselves from serious injury (PCADV Manual, 1998). These maternal tendencies might also prevent their children from establishing a meaningful context for understanding the abuse and may provide, especially for their daughters, a model of passive and ineffective problem solving. Therefore, this passivity can be reflected in school by low academic achievement, school phobia, difficulties in concentration, and social isolation.

Mediating Factors It is important to state that much of the research on the effects of children witnessing domestic violence is contingent upon mediating factors, and thus these factors have been taken into consideration when conclusions have been made on the severity of the effects. These mediating factors include the following.

Severity of Violence Witnessed Children who witness physical violence between their parents seem to have more behavioral problems than children from families in which high parental conflict exists (Peled, et al., 1995). Through their research, Fantuzzo, et al., (1997) found that children who were exposed to both physical and verbal violence exhibited more behavioral problems than children who witnessed only verbal abuse.

Child Abuse It is estimated that between 30% and 40% of all children of battered women are abused themselves and estimates based on those residing in shelters are even higher. Child witnesses of violence between parents who were also physically and sexually abused were found to have more behavioral problems than those witnesses who were not abused (Peled, et al., 1995).

Gender/Age Studies of the influence of gender on behavioral problems in child witnesses provided a variety of results and were dependent upon the child’s age (Peled, et al., 1995). In regards to preschool age children, girls were less empathetic and showed more anxiety than boys. Preschool age boys hand more externalizing and internalizing problem behavior and more aggression, depression, and somatic symptoms (Kolbo, et al 1996). With respect to school age children, Peled, et al., (1995) report that girls displayed more overall behavioral problems, aggression, and internalizing problems than boys. However, Jaffe, et al., (1990) found that school age boys had more behavioral problems in general, especially with respect to aggression.

Adolescent males exposed to marital violence were more likely to run away from home and to have suicidal thoughts than adolescent females; however, college age women reported more depression than males who were raised in a similar background (Peled, et al., 1995).

Race Race has been found to also be a mediating variable for the effects of witnessed violence on the child. It was found that white children in abusive households have more behavioral problems than their minority counterparts (Kolbo, et al., 1996).

Resiliency Resiliency, as defined by family therapists in the context of marital violence, is the ability to effectively cope, whereas the child tries to restore or maintain equilibrium under threatening circumstances (Berman, 1993). Researchers believe that this ability has a positive affect on a child’s identity formation. Markward (1997) reports that some abused women may continue to be nurturing parents and that the impact of the good example set by a non-abusive adult is underestimated. A mother who gives meaning to the abuse, such as chronic alcoholism, unemployment, or lack of education, may provide a positive cognitive accommodation to the violent events, thus facilitating the natural resiliency in the child (Markward, 1997). Moreover, parenting skills that may be decreased in violent contexts and may incite the child (who has a positive self-worth) to “fill in the parenting gaps.”

Although the message through violence is perceived as ineffectual problem solving between parents, the resilient child may seek out other relationships through supportive adults and peers. Younger children receive the message that rewarding relationships do exist and that people can be available in times of need. For the adolescent who has the increased capacity to use abstract thinking, these relationships will provide them a forum to imagine and experiment with relationships that are different from their parents (Berman, 1993).

Unfortunately, Jaffe, et al., (1990) points out that being resilient is not equivalent to being happy and secure. These resilient children who desire to offer protection and nurturance to their mothers and younger siblings may take on roles that violate the parent/child relationship. They are put into a position of having to grow up too quickly and take on more responsibility which can be developmentally inappropriate (Jaffe, et al., 1990).

Domestic Violence Interventions for Victims, Children, and Perpetrators

According to Edelson and Eisikovits (1996) it has been more than 20 years since the first formal battered women’s shelters were established in both Great Britain and the United States. In the past decade alone, there have been a tremendous number of shelters established around the world, societal interventions have been developed and public policies created to address the issue of domestic violence (Edelson & Eiskovits, 1996). Advocacy services, job training, and transitional housing have been added to the services provided by shelters across the country. Additionally, programs for violent offenders have been established and services for children who witness violence at home have also been developed (Edelson & Eiskovits, 1996). However, although battered women’s programs in the United States provide assistance to larger numbers of women and their children each year, these women and children only represent a small portion of those in need of assistance (Edelson & Eisikovits, 1996). The following is a description and discussion of some of the interventions that provide assistance to those involved with domestic violence.

Victim Interventions Currently recommended professional standards for providing individual therapy to victims of domestic violence focus on ensuring the safety of the women before attempting any other intervention. These safety needs can be met through residence in a shelter or through legal means (Hansen & Harway, 1993).

Legal Intervention. In 1976, Pennsylvania passed a law to provide protection for people who are or were abused by family members. This law, the Protection from Abuse Act, allows battered women and other victims of domestic violence to file a civil action and obtain a court order against further abuse. However, not anyone who is abused by someone close to them is eligible for a protection order under this act. Only family or household members are eligible. According to the Act, family or household members refers to spouses, or those living as spouses, parents and children, current or former sexual or intimate partners, or persons who share biological parenthood (PCADV Manual, 1998).

The Protection from Abuse Act defines four types of abuse: (a) Attempting to cause or intentionally, knowing or recklessly causing bodily injury, serious bodily injury, rape, spousal sexual assault or involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with or without a weapon; (b) placing by physical means, another in fear of imminent serious bodily injury; (c) the infliction of false imprisonment; (d) physically or sexually abusing minor children (PCADV Manual, 1998).

Although this particular intervention is readily accessible, many women do not seek out this option for various reasons. Such reasons include the unsympathetic and sometimes degrading attitude of law enforcement and court officers, the loss of choice to withdraw the complaint, being forced to testify, and mandatory arrests. Nonetheless, victims’ responses in one study suggest that the legal process can and does make a difference (Erez & Bellknap, 1998). Several respondents stated that when law enforcement and court officers show understanding and appreciation of their situation and the case is treated with persistence and compassion, domestic violence victims can sustain the frustration they face, or withstand the difficulties they have to overcome, to reach a satisfactory resolution (Erez & Bellknap, 1998).

Therapeutic Intervention. In regards to therapeutic intervention for victims, Hansen and Harway (1993) explain that treatment needs for women of domestic violence should address the issues of empowerment, normalization, social networking and long-term protection. These women are survivors and should be treated as such. Additionally, therapists should incorporate as part of their plan to include outside agencies that will provide social support and referrals. In working with battered women, therapists may find that economic concerns and protection issues may be more pressing to the woman than the consequences of the battering. It then becomes clear that the therapist must be more than a neutral third party; rather, the therapist must take on additional roles to assist the victim of domestic violence (Hansen & Harway, 1993).

Perpetrator Intervention. According the PCADV Manual (1998), men who batter usually do not seek professional help and when they do, they normally withdraw from the program within a few sessions. The criminal justice system can be used as leverage to pressure men who batter into entering and completing therapy. Edelson (1996) points out that in many cases, it is not the threat of imprisonment but the fear of losing his wife that prompts a man to seek help. The perpetrator usually enter a program at a crisis point when, for example, separation has occurred and divorce seems imminent. However, counselor’s emphasize that saving the relationship is not the facilitator’s primary objective, ending the violence is first and foremost (Edleson, 1996).

Further, when treating men who batter, one curriculum used is based upon eight themes which represent an aspect of nonviolent and respectful relationships. These eight themes are depicted in the Equality Wheel (See Figure 2). In contrast to the Power and Control Wheel, the behaviors and aspects of an egalitarian relationship shown on the wheel become the mode offered to men for egalitarian and interdependent relationships with women. For example, one of the behaviors depicted on the wheel refers to mutual respect among partners. Respect in an egalitarian relationship respect is displayed through listening non-judgmentally, being emotionally affirming and understanding, and valuing each other’s opinions. (Pence & Paymer, 1993).

Couples Therapy. In cases of domestic violence, the treatment of the couple together has been widely criticized due to the many approaches of family therapy that focus on the reciprocal interactions among family members. This approach can result in therapy that will give co-responsibility for the violence; or, in an effort to avoid blame may result in no responsibility for the violence and not address the aggressive actions at all (Hansen & Harway, 1993).

Additionally, the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence takes a powerful stance on the issue of couples counseling. The coalition labels couple’s counseling as “interventions to avoid” (PCADV Manual, 1998, p. 111-2) explaining that it is an inappropriate intervention that further endangers the woman by encouraging the abuser to blame the victim by her examining her role in the abuse. Many women have been beaten brutally following couples counseling sessions in which they disclosed violence or coercion (PCADV Manual, 1998).

Berg-Cross (1997) agrees that when violence exists in a marriage or relationship, the couple must be seen separately in therapy so that the aggressive partner’s attempt to take responsibility for their behavior and reach a point where they are motivated to control their aggressiveness. Research is still trying to ascertain at what point marital/couple therapy is most appropriate. However, it is important that both individuals feel comfortable with this type of treatment, and that the woman is not fearful of disclosing in front of her partner. It is also imperative that if there are drug and alcohol issues present within the relationship, these problems must be treated before the couple engages in conjoint therapy (Berg-Cross, 1997).

Children. Women’s concerns for their children and the growing awareness of the effects of violence on children have led to many new services for children (Peled, 1994). Although counseling children of domestic violence was usually done on a one to one, informal basis, interventions are not focusing on formal programs to address children’s needs. A survey of federally funded demonstration projects for children in shelters found that the most common recommended counseling technique is group counseling and play therapy (Peled & Davis, 1995). Evaluation of one program showed that group interventions have significant success in changing children’s self esteem, attitudes about violence, and practical skills in emergency situations (Wolf, Jaffe, Wilson, & Zak, 1994). Individuals who have designed specific group programs identify four major goals for child witnesses of domestic violence: (a) To break the secret of abuse in their families; (b) to learn to protect themselves; (c) to experience the group as a positive and safe environment; (d) to strengthen their self esteem (Peled & Davis, 1995)

With respect to crisis intervention with children, the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence indicates that this type of counseling should help a child reclaim his/her life through emphasizing his/her strengths, enabling him/her to feel powerful and in control again. However, a common response is to rescue the child and protect from further harm which will only reinforce their feelings of powerlessness (PCADV Manual, 1998).

Summary & Conclusions

In summary, during the past 20 years, much has been researched, studied and learned about domestic violence. Researchers have theorized as to the causes of domestic violence; they have determined the harmful effects and consequences on both the perpetrator and the victim. These effects have been proven to be detrimental to the physical, psychological, emotional well being of the victims.

In addition to the research and subsequent findings, coalitions have been formed, programs established, and laws have been enacted with the ultimate goal of protecting, assisting, and educating those affected by domestic violence. Recently, the focus of domestic violence now includes means to educate those who are indirectly affected by domestic violence. Pennsylvania, in particular, has approved funding for a program that aims to educate law enforcement and legal officers.

However, with all the knowledge gained, and the insistent passion that has been put into the fight against domestic violence, it is still a continual, disturbing, and prevalent force in today’s society. The question is why?

Based on research conducted, it is my feeling that this question is an overwhelming, frustrating, and a seemingly hopeless enigma. Nonetheless, after extensive review of only a small portion of the literature on this subject, it seems to me that the way in which to start the process of combating the problem of domestic violence for future generations must start with the education and socialization of our children. In our society, males are taught and encouraged to be dominant, aggressive, independent and in control. Females are taught and encouraged to be passive, submissive, and dependent. Although equality between the sexes has made tremendous strides and rigid sex role socialization is more subtle than before, these expectations reach the very core of what domestic violence is based on; power and control. Perhaps this is where the answer to ending domestic violence can be found.

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