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Family Violence Problem. Reasons and Facts


Family violence includes child abuse, intimate partner violence (IPV) and elder abuse. Child abuse is caused by stepchildren, unplanned/prematurely born/handicapped children, young age/inferior socioeconomic position of parents. IPV is caused by urge to control, hereditary experience, economic problems or misconceived machismo. Elder abuse is caused by financial hardship, alcohol/drug addiction or isolation from society. Females are victimized more than males especially in IPV due to societal definition of women, optimism, fear of societal rejection, fear of retribution from abusers and financial reliance. Family violence takes place in a cycle that has three inter-connected stages: tension, violence and the ‘honeymoon.’ The danger of family violence is recognized by the U.S public and government who are both taking steps to combat it.

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Family violence is an increasing malady that spares no family irrespective of economic status or background, and targets family members irrespective of age. Family violence includes 3 types of maltreatment including actions that result in endangering or threatening the health and welfare of family members.

  • Child abuse that may be physical, sexual or psychological in nature.
  • Intimate partner violence {IPV} involving domestic violence against adults that may be physical, sexual or psychological in nature.
  • Elder abuse that may be physical, sexual or psychological in nature against people 65 years old or more. It also includes withholding of proper care of elders.


The primary cause of child abuse is stepchildren; such children do not generate the same amount of love and affection in the step-parent that his or her own child would do. The second cause is handicapped children due to their continual ill-fitting status in society. The third is inferior socioeconomic position of the parents who are ill-equipped to bring up their children property. The fourth is unplanned birth of children; such children are resented because they were not required yet managed to force themselves into the family. The fifth is prematurely born children who are generally weak and require more initial care and attention {and expenses} as compared to children who are born normally. The last is the young age of parents who are not mature enough to have and look after children.

The first cause of IPV is the urge of one of the partners to establish more power and control over the other. The second cause is hereditary wherein the abusive partner has grown up in a family characterized by a lot of IPV. The third cause is a misconceived sense of machismo where the man thinks IPV is a stereotypically masculine trait. The fourth cause is alcohol or drug addiction which drains the financial resources and causes discontentment. The last cause is economic problems {such as poverty, unemployment, underemployment and lack of housing} that cause despair and hopelessness.

The first cause of elder abuse is financial hardship; the parents may be facing difficulty managing household and child-rearing expenses with little or no money to spare in providing sustenance and health care to elders in the family. The second cause is alcohol or drug abuse by one or both parents which greatly restricts family funds. The last cause is if the family is cut off from the broader society whereby the parents feel no fear of societal disapproval.

Issues of Gender

There is no doubt that females are the victims of family violence in much greater number and proportion as compared to males. In general, females in the U.S are abused 6 times more often by intimates as compared to male victims. As a result, females of all races suffer more abuse from persons known to them rather than from strangers. This discrimination is hardly seen in case of elders {among the 33,026 cases of elder abuse in the U.S as recorded by the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System [NEISS] in 2001, but is more apparent in case of child abuse and literally overwhelming in case of women in IPV. In case of child abuse in the U.S, 45% of girls of average age 12 years are abused by people known to them. This percentage assumes large proportions when one considers the large number of child abuse victims {there were 906,000 child abuse cases registered by child protective service agencies in 2002 in the U.S. In case of IPV, 26% of rapes and sexual violence against women in the U.S are perpetrated by intimates like husbands, ex-husbands, boyfriends and former boyfriends. 30% of murders of women are committed by husbands, ex-husbands and boyfriends {in contrast, only 3% of men were murdered by wives, ex-wives or girlfriends. The U.S Department of Justice statistics in 2000 recorded a huge 5.3 million cases of IPV against women aged 18 or more as compared to only 3.2 million cases of IPV against men aged 18 or more.

There are several reasons for the over-victimization of women as compared to men in cases of family violence. The first reason is societal definition of women. Many women have been brought up to believe that they are responsible to make their marriages work and keep their families together; if they cannot do this, it means they have failed as women. The second reason is optimism. Women are generally tender-hearted, and are easily persuaded by love to continue in abusive relationships. They tend to blame factors like stress, alcohol addiction and work related problems for provoking the abusive behavior in their men and optimistically hope that things will return to normal soon. The third reason is financial reliance. Women who have at least 1 dependent child are financially reliant on their abusive husbands; they are hesitant to break away as they fear poverty for them and their children. The fourth reason is fear of being ejected from familiar society. Women who have grown up in certain communities face devastation if they decide to break away; in addition, their children face problems of missing school and losing friends. The last reason is fear of retribution. Women who leave abusive relationships are constantly afraid that their abusive husbands would track them down in which case they fear of being subjected to violence again.

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Cycle of Violence

Family violence does not happen constantly as abusers do not perpetrate violence against their victims regularly. It occurs in a cycle that has 3 stages that are inter-connected. Stage 1 {tension} leads to Stage 2 {violence} that leads to Stage 3 {the ‘honeymoon’} that leads back to Stage 1.

In Stage 1 {tension}, the victim is unable to know what the abuser needs. This stage is steeped in emotional abuse and threat of violence which is as bad as actual perpetration of violence. In Stage 2 {violence}, the abuser resorts to physical, sexual or psychological abuse which is considered a crime. In Stage 3 {the ‘honeymoon’}, the abusers tries to woo the victims into a false sense of security by displaying different reactions to the violence perpetrated by them ranging from total denial of it, to lightly blaming the victims for causing it, or by expressing regret and remorse. This stage is called the ‘honeymoon’ because the abusers act romantically {sending flowers/presents, getting counseling or being extra-helpful in household chores}. The aim of this stage is to arouse pity for the abusers in the victims and draw them back into the relationship.

Stage 3 however, is a sham – it is never a real ‘honeymoon’ and soon completes the last lap of the Cycle of Violence by leading back to Stage 1 {tension}. The Cycle of Violence has 2 characteristics. The more times a revolution is finished, the less time it needs to finish, and, the more times the cycle is repeated, the more frequent and severe is the violence perpetrated by the abuser against the victim.


Family violence in the U.S has been recognized as a serious problem that needs to be combated strongly at all levels. Today, the public {neighbors, teachers, medical professionals and clergymen} are doing their best to safeguard their fellow-citizens from acts of domestic violence. It is also heartening to note the positive steps taken by the U.S government to combat this menace; it was President Bill Clinton who began the government fight back when he first passed the Violence Against Women Act in 1994 and later declared a countrywide, 24/7 toll free domestic violence telephone hotline {1-800-799-SAFE} on February 21, 1996 that ensures professional assistance is immediately rushed to needy callers.


The Cycle of Violence: Why do Women Stay in Violent Relationships? (2009). Coalition Against Violence Web.

Domestic Violence Awareness Handbook. (N.d). 2009. U. S. Department of Agriculture Web.

Family Violence. (2007). American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. 2009. Web.

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Violence against Women. (2009). Childbirth Solutions, Inc. Web.

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1. StudyCorgi. "Family Violence Problem. Reasons and Facts." October 25, 2021.


StudyCorgi. "Family Violence Problem. Reasons and Facts." October 25, 2021.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "Family Violence Problem. Reasons and Facts." October 25, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Family Violence Problem. Reasons and Facts'. 25 October.

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