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Women in Abusive Relationships
The Bureau of Justice Statistics (2006) states that during the 1990's, the major reason for 22% of divorce cases in the American society was violence. In a similar context, among all the female victims who were murdered during 2003, approximately 30% were slaughtered by their husbands and boyfriends. Such thought provoking and disappointing statistics show the ongoing violence being faced by women which is not only limited to the American society, but is spread throughout the world. Hence, while evaluating the greater truth of abusive relationships, the functionalist and the conflict perspectives come across a number of consequences which are challenging to resolve.
The distinguishing features of an abusive relationship include feelings of extreme jealousy, anger, frustration, rage, threatening the partner, deceitfulness and lies. In other words, it is the exploitation of the partner via verbal, sexual, emotional and/or physical abuse. Abusive relationships have a long history which can be traced back to the Victorian era. During this period in the 19th century, the religious beliefs gave men the right to be the sole authority of his household. This also meant that he had the power to control and possess his wife and everything that belonged to her; children, wage, inheritance and other belongings. Moreover, the Biblical references presented at that time also referred that the virtuous women were required to follow their husbands. This eventually paved the way to the tolerance of domestic violence. The legal laws along with the religious principles gave men the freedom to treat their wives as slaves and hence as their subordinates. This was because that these laws regarded men to be the ruler of the house who owned his wife and her belongings, finally allowing him to adopt any measure to correct her behavior. This ultimately resulted in wife-beating and other measures directly contributing to domestic violence. The Victorian women have greatly struggled with abusive relationships. Although during the 1850s, many states did pass on laws to protect the rights of women, many abusive cases were unresolved. This was because they weren't considered to be acts of violent behavior since they did not match the court's standard principles of legal cruelty.
Today in the modern age, the meanings and reasons for abusive relationships have somewhat changed. Despite the fact that women today are given legal protection against assault, women continue to become a subject of violent relationships. Although factors that contributed to violence during the Victorian era included society and the social situations, today females are victimized on the basis of personal reasons. In this regard, the modern era depicts frustration resulting from poverty and unemployment to be a major factor in abusive relationships. Similarly, jealousy is another feature that results in an abusive relationship. This is because the husband is unable to tolerate the financial and educational success of his wife. Therefore, an individual's family background, social setting and psychological well being all directly affect his role in an abusive and a destructive relationship.
The intricacies of an abusive relationship can be better understood with the help of seeing this social phenomenon through the conflict perspective. It is a sociological view presented by Karl Marx which focuses upon the conflicting and the negative nature of the society. Since the conflict perspective believes in the idea that the rich and powerful control and dominate the poor and the weak, an abusive relationship also demonstrates such a similar picture. This is because that despite the laws protecting females along with the world progressing on the revolutionizing grounds, females are continued to be seen as weak objects who are victimized in the patriarchal society.
The power and control in an abusive relationship is seen via the male using a number of measures to exploit his wife. For instance, a number of times husbands use the source of intimidation by using weapons, pets, smashing things and property in order to make her afraid. This makes the wife psychologically weak and feeble to take any step against violence. Similarly, abuse of power in a relationship is also seen when men emotionally abuse their wives via humiliating them, calling her names, giving rude remarks and making fun of her. Furthermore, on the concept of inequality and power struggle as proposed by the conflict perspective, men often use the mode of isolating their wives in abusive relationships. They keep an eye on every action of their other half; controlling where she goes or talks to, and also dominate her social life. Similarly, they use their authority and privilege of being a man by taking in charge of all the decisions and activities and thereby treating the wife as a servant. In addition, males often use the tactic of blaming their partners to be responsible for the messed up relationship. Apart from economically abusing the wives by not letting them work or controlling the household income, men also threaten them on the account of the children. Furthermore, husbands often intimidate them by threatening to commit suicide or leave their wives who are often asked to adhere to illegal acts.
While talking about the conflict perspective which can be used to evaluate an abusive relationship, a number of socio-cultural factors go hand in hand with the power and control used by the male on their partners. Among a number of such issues, one of the most important one is dependence and security. Females are often exploited because they are considered to be weak and inferior to males. This concept can be traced back to the times when females hardly eared and inherited little property (Efroymson, 2006). However, the modern era has seen a drastic change. In this regard, the U.S. Census Bureau states that in 2009 females earned about 77 cents per day as compared to $1 earned by a man. Despite the fact that many females head households today, work in good positions and earn substantial amounts, they are continued to be considered as physically and mentally weak. This ultimately makes men powerful to such an extent that they abuse women. Along with economic dependence, women also require security and safety which often becomes the foremost reason for staying in an abusive relationship. Although money and a male would make them economically strong and socially safe, women stuck in an abusive relationship face the dire consequences of emotional, verbal and sexual abuse. Many females continue to be in an abusive relationship because of their financial weakness which is not only essential for their own selves but also for the career and survival of her children.
Therefore, there are a number of issues which are directly linked with the sociological views through which the concept of abusive relationship is reviewed. Men often dominate women to such an extent that they take away her freedom and right to lead a normal, peaceful life. Using intimidation as a source of abuse disturbs the psychological well being of a female. Many a time's couples don't even realize that they are in an emotionally abusive relationship because they assume that every couple fights this way. However, in actual, an emotionally abusive relationship is marked by severe criticism, control, isolation, humiliation and fear expressed towards the partner. Despite the fact that it is a non-physical attitude and behavior, emotional abuse also arises out of a physical behavior (e.g. kicking the wall). Consequently, emotional abuse results in depression, denial, fragile self-esteem and feelings of worthlessness and failure in the partner being abused (Engel, 2002). Due to this destruction being resulted from emotional abuse, the female is unable to stand up against her husband and put in an effort to get out of the abusive relationship. Moreover, such a behavior destroys her whole personality which automatically affects her relations with the peers and the society who often consider her to be suffering from some mental disorder. In addition, the brought up of the child is severely affected where he not only suffers from parental neglect but these violent activates shadow his later personality.
Hence, identifying a single sociological issue of an abusive relationship i.e. power and control brings about a number of socio-cultural issues that are directly related to it. This shows that violence at home creates great damage to the whole society where everyone is affected either directly or indirectly.
Another sociological view that would help to develop a better insight into the matter of abusive relationship is the functionalist perspective that proposes that all the aspects of a society our interdependent. Although this view does not focus upon the negativities of a society like the one addressed by the conflict perspective, it could still be used to analyze the truth about abusive relationships.
Since the society is a sum of different institutions, whatever happens at home is automatically dragged in public. In other words, the violence in a relationship generates a drastic impact on the whole society. This is because it not only affects the abuser and the victim, but their children, their families, their peers and automatically other couples.…[continue]
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