Prior to the 1800’s, most legal systems accepted wife beating as an approach to show a husband’s authority and control over his wife. In these times, women were deemed as possession to their husband’s and inferior to men in general. Women were liable to be abused by their husband’s or partner’s and received no justice in return when they were faced with such abuse. Modernly named as domestic violence, this abuse was once very common and ignored as long as it “didn’t go too far” or was done in moderation. In 1882, Maryland was the first state to pass a law making wife-beating a crime; the punishment would be either forty lashes or a year in jail (Domestic Violence Timeline). Attention to domestic violence didn’t appear until the feminist movement around 1870; women became more involved in feminism and woman’s rights. Feminism was a series of movements aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal rights in all aspects for women. According to an article by Cathy Young, the publication of books such as Battered Wives by Del Martin drew attention to the various numbers of women who suffered in abusive relationships. Women all over America were seeking their equal rights and began to take notice to the violence against them in the forms of domestic abuse and sexual assaults. Women recognized gender difference expectations, and a legal system that failed to hold men accountable for their acts of violence, as a major contribution to the continuation and severity of their abuse. In the 1970s, the first shelters and crisis hotlines for abused women opened up in the United States. Women were finally beginning to see the respect and rights that they deserved. As
reporter Cara Feinberg wrote in The American Prospect, "feminist activists began to see the law not only as an important tool for protecting victims but as a way to define domestic violence as a legitimate social problem." (Independent Women’s Forum). Though women were getting their recognition socially and slowly politically, domestic abuse was and is still an ongoing problem in society. One of the most recognizable cases of domestic violence was the O.J Simpson trial. In 1994, the historic NFL football star O.J Simpson was charged and put on trial for the suspected murder of his wife Nicole Brown-Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman. Both Nicole Brown-Simpson and her friend were found stabbed to death outside of Nicole’s Los Angeles condo. Evidence from the murder scene led police to convict Simpson for the murder. Though the case was widely known to the public, and nearly most of America thought Simpson was guilty for the murder, Simpson pleaded not guilty for all of the charges against him. Simpson was unable to be held accountable for the murders because the primary evidence used in the case was believed to have been tampered with previous to the trail. The O.J Simpson trial stirred up a lot of controversy and put domestic violence in the spotlight for a long time after many Americans still believed that Simpson was a guilty man.
In my recent research about the prevalence of domestic violence, particularly among young and middle aged adults, I have conducted four interviews to get the social point of view on abusive relationships; these four individuals were selected so I could receive a diverse perspective on such relationships. When asked the question “Which age group do you think is exposed to abusive relationships more, young adults or married couples and why?” I was able to
generate some very interesting answers and opinions. The closer in age my interviewees were the more similar their answers seemed to be. My first interviewee was a 21 year old Hispanic male, he responded to the question as follows: It's easy to be blinded by love, so when you're married, you may think you know the person when you don’t. Because you're oblivious to what goes on, you’ll think...
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