SCHOOL OF POSTGRADUATES STUDIES
DEPARTMENT OF SOCIOLOGY
SOC 729: THEORETICAL APPROACH TO GENDER RELATIONS
TITLE: THEORIES ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
AGUNBIADE OLAYINKA ASANDIA
LECTURER: DR. B. N. OTESANYA
Domestic violence, also known as domestic abuse, spousal abuse, battering, family violence, and intimate partner violence (IPV), is defined as a pattern of abusive behaviors by one partner against another in an intimate relationship such as marriage, dating, family, or cohabitation. Domestic violence, so defined, has many forms, including physical aggression or assault (hitting, kicking, biting, shoving, restraining, slapping, throwing objects), or threats thereof; sexual abuse; emotional abuse; controlling or domineering; intimidation; stalking; passive or covert abuse (e.g., neglect); and economic deprivation. Alcohol consumption and mental illness can be co-morbid with abuse, and present additional challenges in eliminating domestic violence. Awareness, perception, definition and documentation of domestic violence differ widely from country to country, and from era to era. Domestic violence and abuse is not limited to obvious physical violence. Domestic violence can also mean endangerment, criminal coercion, kidnapping, unlawful imprisonment, trespassing, harassment, and stalking. History of domestic violence:
Prior to the mid 1800s, most legal systems accepted wife beating as a valid exercise of a husband's authority over his wife. One exception, however, was the 1641 Body of Liberties of the Massachusetts Bay colonists, which declared that a married woman should be "free from bodily correction or stripes by her husband." Political agitation during the nineteenth century led to changes in both popular opinion and legislation regarding domestic violence within the United Kingdom and the United States. In 1850, Tennessee became the first state in the United States to explicitly outlaw wife beating. Other states soon followed suit. In 1878, the Matrimonial Causes Act made it possible for women in the UK to seek separations from abusive husbands. By the end of the 1870s, most courts in the United States were uniformly opposed to the right of husbands to physically discipline their wives. By the early twentieth century, it was common for police to intervene in cases of domestic violence in the United States, but arrests remained rare. Modern attention to domestic violence began in the women's movement of the 1970s, particularly within the contexts of feminism and women's rights, as concern about wives being beaten by their husbands gained attention. The first known use of the expression "domestic violence" in a modern context, meaning "spouse abuse, violence in the home" was in an address to the Parliament of the United Kingdom in 1973. A few months later the world's first domestic violence services federation (Women's Aid) was set up in 1974, providing practical and emotional support as part of a range of services to women and children experiencing violence in England. With the rise of the men's movement of the 1990s, the problem of domestic violence against men also gained significant attention.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary definition, domestic violence is: "the inflicting of physical injury by one family or household member on another; also: a repeated or habitual pattern of such behavior." (Webster 2011). The term "intimate partner violence" (IPV) is often used synonymously with domestic abuse or domestic violence. Family violence is a broader definition, often used to include child abuse, elder abuse, and other violent acts between family members. Wife abuse, wife beating, and battering are descriptive terms that have lost popularity recently for several reasons: There is acknowledgment that many victims are not actually married to the abuser, but rather cohabiting or in other...