Domestic Violence: Beyond Patriarchy
In the Beginning
The Battered Women's movement of the 1970's enlightened society about a much secreted, and what at the time, was considered a family matter, that of violence against women by their male intimate partners. Many lives have been saved as a direct result of society's public awareness of this much-hidden scourge on our families. Federal and state laws prohibiting Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) have been enacted, and funding has been put in place for battered women's shelter programs. These changes have made a significant difference in the lives of battered women and children over the last few decades. The feminist theoretical perspective of IPVIPV has been depicted throughout our society as well as how victim services, and batterers intervention programs (BIP) are modeled. "Our culture has historically exhibited certain patriarchal values observable in religion and social custom. Working against the backdrop of this history, feminism quite naturally saw an antidote in ending social oppression of women. Wife assault, kept largely out of the public view and tolerated by prevailing attitudes, was regarded by feminists as an evil symptom of patriarchy." (Dutton, page 17, 2006) Feminist theory defines IPV as a social problem with a single type of victim i.e. heterosexual women and one root cause, that of male privilege and patriarchy, which supports male domination, power, and control and the oppression of women. The need for services for IPVBIP's for female perpetrators is obscured and trivialized by this "one size fits all" view. Dutton describes feminist theory on IPV as being a "'paradigm:"' [A paradigm is] a set of guiding assumptions or worldview, commonly shared within a group and serving to ward off recognition of data that are dissonant with the paradigm's central tenets. This theory views all social relations through the prism of gender relations and holds that men hold power over women in patriarchal societies and that all domestic violence is either male physical abuse to maintain that power or female defensive violence used as a self protection. (p. 2, 2005) developed through the anti-rape and battered women's movements. This perspective has been the guiding light for how the social problem of against men by women and The violence against women by men paradigm is so entrenched that if anyone pursues any other theories or presents any data that is contrary to that perspective it is automatically considered anti-domestic violence movement. (Dutton, p. 44, 2005) Lucal (1995) found that attempts to discuss the idea of battered husbands started an emotionally charged and fiercely contested debate among researchers which has been the classic debate filled with claims and counterclaims. Much of the debate has been centered around whether or not there are very many battered husbands. Most of the debate has been about whether or not battered husbands are a social problem worthy of support. (pp. 95-96) Revealing Statistics Dr. Murray Straus, co-founder and co-director of the University of New Hampshire's Family Violence Research Laboratory, has studied IPV and child abuse for over thirty years. In study after study he has found that both men and women are capable of being victims and committing IPV. For instance: (I¥Ê(Busing data from the National Family Violence Survey of 1975, Straus (l980) found that 11.6 (2.6 million nationwide) of husbands reported having been the victim of severe violence by their wives. Severe vio1ence was defined as behaviors, such as kicking, punching, beating, or using a knife or gun, that have a high probability of causing physical injury. (as cited in Hines Malley-Morrison, p. 77, 2001) Presenting data that defies feminist logic has caused Dr. Straus and his colleague's substantial risk. As a result of the depth of the objections to our finding on assaults by wives, some of us became the object of bitter scholarly and person attacks. These...
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