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Societal and Gender Construction Affecting Incidents of Domestic Violence

Introduction

The recent surge in incidences of domestic violence has continued to baffle policymakers and scholars alike. However, some theories have been advanced by scholars to attempt to explain this latest scenario. A feminist perspective, however, offers a bottomless understanding of domestic violence by examining how social and gender constructions connect to and are surrounded by patriarchal power structures. Guerin and Ortolan (2017) argue that every dynamic of a relationship is anchored on ender power. The human subjects positioning within these arrangements are vital to all feminist theory.

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Violence is naturally connected to power, and there is debatably no violent act that does not cross with gender. Most people define violence without considering that they are perpetrators of the same (Denver, Pickett, & Bushway, 2017). When less-powerful individuals try to challenge current power relationships and encourage social change, an existing battleground is frequently the word used to total these issues. The description of terms such as domestic and sexual violence has the authority to label some deeds negatively while disregarding, the allegation, and tolerating other acts. The description of domestic and sexual violence expresses several assumptions concerning gender and sexuality, coercion, and power (Guerin & Ortolan, 2017). The paper intends to explore how societal and gender construction can affect the incidences of domestic violence.

News reported daily concerning wives murdered by their estranged husbands, odd men molesting kids on their way to school, and serial rapists raiding neighborhoods. Sexual violence (Gray, 2019) is defined as a sexual deed or a trial to attain a sexual need or undesired sexual interpretations directed towards an individual’s sexuality using coercion. Anybody commits sexual violence despite their relationship with the victim. On the other hand, gender is the features or appearance of socially constructed boys, girls, men, and women (Guerin & Ortolan, 2017). That includes behaviors, roles, and norms, linked with being a boy, girl, man, or woman and relationships. As a social construct, gender varies from culture and can vary over time.

Social Construction in Domestic and Sexual Violence

Such phrases as wife-beating, date rape, courtship violence, and wife rape were rare in the past. Violence seemed like something that happened between unknown people instead of close relationships or families. The first form of immediate violence to be considered a severe social issue was child abuse. State legislatures approved child abuse documented laws. The case involved innocent children (Carnevale, Di Napoli, Esposito, Arcidiacono, & Procentese, 2020) who did not incite violence. Research reveals that men throughout the past have mistreated women.

For instance, the thumb rule introduced by Sir William Blackstone stated that husbands are permitted to discipline their wives as long as they beat them with a stick no more significant than their thumb. That is because if a husband wants to answer for his wife’s misbehavior, it is reasonable that he has the authority to detain her by domestic chastisement (Humphreys, Healey, & Heward‐Belle, 2020). For instance, in 1824, an English common law influenced the Unites States law whereby a Mississippi court provided the husbands with the right to discipline their wives with corporal punishment. The common law also affected the American rape law and used rape as a property crime against men and women treated as men’s possessions. In England in the 17th century, Sir Mathew Hale, Chief Justice, stated that a husband couldn’t be guilty of raping his spouse since she gave her sexual permission in marriage (Westenberg, 2017), which she cannot retract. Countries globally define rape as sexual intercourse between a man and a woman, not his wife, against her will and force.

Therefore, due to his marital exception, it was legal for a husband to force his wife to have sex at any time he wants, even when she is not in the mood (Humphreys et al., 2020). Fortunately, in today’s society, this perception has changed with time. In the 1960s and 1970s, sociologists and psychologists paid little to no attention to domestic and sexual violence. In situations where they needed to address it, they would mostly blame the women (River & Flood, 2021). In a study done to investigate what instigated men to rape women, people said it was due to social issues such as foster mothers’ dominating and incestuous ways. Others said it was because of their mother’s abandonment (Cahill & Dadvand, 2021), dominating and unstable behavior by his female boss, and the target’s unconscious need to be raped.

A research evaluation on wives’ abusers established that the whippings fulfilled both the wife’s and the husbands’ needs. For instance, a man punished a wife (Pun, Tjomsland, Infanti, & Darj, 2020) for restoring the man’s masculine identity and emasculating activity. The conclusion made was wives were masculine, aggressive, masochistic, and frigid and that the wives called the police when an incident promoted by her appeared out of control. According to the domestic research done in 1958 and 1960 (Myhill, 2017), females diverged from gender roles and caused 19% of the forcible rapes documented in Philadelphia. Investigators said that women were invited rape if they wore two-piece clothes or bathing suits to work in a garden and talked to strangers.

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However, things have begun to change, and women are now forming shelters for battered women to assist them anyhow. Wife abuse is one of the least known characteristics and the most terrible social problem in today’s societies (Westenberg, 2017). Women have become more empowered than men, which has led to them feeling threatened even in their homes. That has resulted in domestic violence on the homestead that has left people injured and killed. However, in today’s society, women are not only the ones beaten but also men. The women empowerment movement (Carroll, 2017) has made the situation so that no one will believe them even when men are beaten and reported.

Instead, everyone will come to defend the rights of the woman (Li, Sun, Lin, & Wang, 2021) and put the man to shame. That has led people to be depressed and die in their homes’ comfort because society has refused to hear or protect them. Another societal construction that affects domestic violence incidences is the courtship violence that leads to domestic violence. In courtship violence, heterosexual individuals dating tend to engage in fights that sometimes lead to physical violence (Denver, Pickett, & Bushway, 2017). Those fights result from one party indulging in infidelity or cheating on their partners, lack of trust, and childhood and self-esteem issues, among others. These issues later transfer to their marriages if not solved at an early stage.

Furthermore, courtship violence (Tur-Prats, 2021) can lead to rape issues in a secluded place where people are not around. Fortunately, there has been a rise in feminist activists (Piippo, Husso, Hirvonen, Notko, & Glumbíková, 2021) emphasizing the violent nature of rape and the social construction of sexuality as a manifestation of male supremacy. The feminist activist also says that rape is a method of colonial dominance over women in that culture. A feminist activist has created rape crisis centers to help rape victims (Carroll, 2017). Despite this, the rape centers and abused women shelters are still not enough because the cases are increasing daily. Most sexual, family and domestic violence incidence go unreported with the consequence (Nancarrow, 2019) that it is not likely to measure the issue’s true magnitude.

Nevertheless, predominance surveys of these violence forms demonstrate that it is extensive across all socio-economic groups, cultures, and ages (Parkinson, 2019). The PSS (Personal Safety Survey), done by the ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics), offers the most up-to-date incidence approximations in Australia. The survey recognized that 48 percent of males from eighteen years and 40 percent of females from eighteen years (Wendt, Natalier, Seymour, King, & Macaitis, 2020) had experienced some violence since the age of fifteen. However, women have gone through physical violence from a person close to them, such as their partners, while men have undergone physical violence in strangers’ hands. Furthermore, most women and men (Chisale, 2018) gone through physical violence are unwilling to report the incidence. That goes to show that domestic violence happens across all socio-economic groups and in all communities.

That has made it possible to find both individual and structural or social cases. The principal social causes are complicated and not completely understood, even though there is a general agreement that gender inequality is the primary determinant of domestic violence. That happens where social acceptance of scarcely constructed notions of traditional gender roles (Parkinson, 2019) and masculinity. The WHO international demonstrates that global variation in violence is related to socio-cultural factors. The global variation occurs where cultural views endorse male control and authority over women and promote violent culture.

Gender Construction in Domestic Violence

According to standard magazines, gender in domestic violence is something that men do to women. The husband in those magazines gets portrayed as stereotypically masculine with manly values. The wives are stereotypically feminine with dependent, fearful, and selfless matters (Ramsey, 2015). However, countries with lower domestic violence rates and women’s status in the office and other social spheres might be high. Women still enjoy a social quality in the private field regarding social or work matters. In Australia, community outlook surveys look at gender equality very differently at home than at the office.

Researchers argue that such rooted social equality at home combined with an acceptance of violence used by some people can be an explosive and dangerous combination anywhere. Some people say that gender inequality constitutes a more significant threat globally (Ramsey, 2015). Research has exposed that women report using physical violence against their spouses more than men do. Gender stereotypes are undistinguishably related to the conduct that gets described as violent. Women stabilize male violence as excusable or understandable, a response that follows the concepts of men as stereotypically aggressive (Chisale, 2018). Alternatively, since women get traditionally characterized as passive, violent conduct on their side is remarkable or notable, although not a severe threat to men.

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In short, the way gender comes out in heterosexual violence is much more complex than when it gets taken through research planned to total up violent deeds. Sexual, violent researchers have asked women as victims and men as culprits, in effect defining sexual violence as something done by men to women. Research has shown that women engaged in coercive sex experience severe consequences as compared to men.

The Proposed Amendment to the Law

The Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) (the FL Act) deals with various disputes related to divorce, marriage, separation, and de facto relationships. Therefore, instead of classifying men as the main perpetrators of domestic violence and women as the victims, legislatures should amend the law to incorporate both men and women as domestic violence victims. That is because both of them are subject to domestic violence in one way or another. Therefore, the law should protect both men and women victims of domestic violence and discourage discrimination. That will help people that have experienced abuse to come out and report the offenders.

Reflection

Domestic violence is not something that one can wish for another person. That is because it lures people into depression and low self-esteem by destroying their peaceful lives. Every couple should ensure that they go through marriage counseling classes to learn and know how to handle each other during conflicts. Society can help reduce or prevent Domestic violence by encouraging both men and women to report the perpetrators and avoid suffering in silence. Furthermore, the county government should create laws whereby the perpetrators get severely punished to ensure others do not follow that path.

Conclusion

Domestic violence is an incident that is rising fast in society. It has led to people getting injured, suffering from depression, and dying silently in their marriages. Therefore, people who have experienced or are experiencing violence in their relationships should come out and report their partners to the police (Goodmark, 2017). They should not accept being mistreated or hurt in their relationships. Society should also terminate the use of gender seniority to encourage such behaviors and start practicing gender equality.

Word count: 2043

References

Cahill, H., & Dadvand, B. (2021). Triadic labor in teaching for the prevention of gender-based violence. Gender and Education, 33(2), 252-266. Web.

Carnevale, S., Di Napoli, I., Esposito, C., Arcidiacono, C., & Procentese, F. (2020). Children are witnessing domestic violence in the voice of health and social professionals dealing with contrasting gender violence: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(12), 4463. Web.

Carroll, A. B. (2017). Family law and female empowerment. UCLA Women’s Law Journal, 24, 1. Doi: N/A.

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Chisale, S. S. (2018). Domestic abuse in marriage and self-silencing: Pastoral care in a context of self-silencing. HTS Theological Studies, 74(2), 1-8. Web.

Denver, M., Pickett, J. T., & Bushway, S. D. (2017). The language of stigmatization and the mark of violence: Experimental evidence on the social construction and use of criminal record stigma. Criminology, 55(3), 664-690. Web.

Goodmark, L. (2017). Should domestic violence be decriminalized? Harv. Women’s L.J, 40, 53. Web.

Gray, H. (2019). The ‘war’/‘not-war’ divide: Domestic violence in the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative. The British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 21(1), 189-206. Web.

Guerin, B., & Ortolan, M.O (2017). Analyzing domestic violence behaviors in their contexts: Violence as a continuation of social strategies by other means. Behavior and Social Issues, 26(1), 5-26. Web.

Humphreys, C., Healey, L., & Heward‐Belle, S. (2020). Fathers who use domestic violence: Organizational capacity building and practice development. Child & Family Social Work, 25, 18-27. Web.

Li, L., Sun, I. Y., Lin, K., & Wang, X. (2021). Tolerance for domestic violence: do legislation and organizational support affect police view on family violence? Police Practice and Research, 1-14. Web.

Myhill, A. (2017). Measuring domestic violence: Context is everything. Journal of Gender-Based Violence, 1(1), 33-44. Web.

Nancarrow, H. (2019). Unintended consequences of domestic violence law: Gendered aspirations and radicalized realities. Springer Nature.

Parkinson, D. (2019). Investigating the increase in domestic violence post-disaster: an Australian case study. Journal of interpersonal violence, 34(11), 2333-2362. Web.

Piippo, S., Husso, M., Hirvonen, P., Notko, M., & Glumbíková, K. (2021). Institutional and Affective Practices of Domestic Violence Interventions in Social Work: Malignant Positioning of Victims. In Violence, Gender and Effect (pp. 113-133). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

Pun, K. D., Tjomsland, T. R., Infanti, J. J., & Darj, E. (2020). ‘Violence exists to show manhood’: Nepali men’s views on domestic violence–a qualitative study: global health action, 13(1), 1788260. Web.

Ramsey, C. B. (2015). The Stereotyped Offender: Domestic Violence and the Failure of Intervention. Penn St. L. Rev., 120, 337. Web.

River, J., & Flood, M. (2021). Masculinities, emotions, and men’s suicide. Sociology of Health & Illness.

Tur-Prats, A. (2021). Unemployment and intimate partner violence: A Cultural approach. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 185, 27-49. Web.

Wendt, S., Natalier, K., Seymour, K., King, D., & Macaitis, K. (2020). Strengthening the domestic and family violence workforce: Key questions. Australian Social Work, 73(2), 236-244. Web.

Westenberg, L. (2017). ‘When She Calls for Help’—Domestic Violence in Christian Families. Social Sciences, 6(3), 71. Web.

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