Family Violence Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Family Violence


As the nature of the family has change in the past century, the problem of family violence has also become more pronounced.  Today, it is more common to find mixed families, single-parent families, and families where substance abuse and mental health issues are major problems (Lee, Lincoln).  However, because of the nature of family violence, much of it goes unreported.  Hermann notes that family violence is one of the most prevalent forms of interpersonal violence, with women and children often being the victims of reported instances of this type of crime. But as Lee and Lincoln point out, women and children are not the only victims of family violence:  “males are subject to all forms of domestic abuse and yet their victimization receives scant attention” (233).  For this reason, family violence is often a hidden crime, as statistics only show those cases that are reported and not those that happen but go unreported.  Because of the wide ranging nature of family violence, which can extend from minor abuse to major violence and murder, there is a great deal of leeway in terms of what is meant when one discusses the issue of family violence.  This paper will describe what family violence means today and what is known about it.

Definition of Family Violence

Sexual abuse is often associated with family violence (Hermann)—but it is by no means the only form of family violence that occurs today.  Family violence can occur against young and old, male and female.  It can take the form of child abuse, domestic assault, intimate partner violence, and elder abuse.  Family violence may be contained in the family, but it might also spill out into the community and lead to violence in schools; it also spans cultures and socio-economic conditions (Zhu, Chan, Chen).  Family violence can be physical or mental, emotional and economical.  It can even be spiritual and legal.  Family violence is any type of abuse perpetrated by a family member towards another.  A violent assault, an emotionally abusive partner, economic abuse—such as stealing funds from a partner or from a grandparent or parent who is elderly and unable to address the situation; spiritual abuse—such as using one’s religion to manipulate the person, or ridiculing the person for his or her spiritual beliefs; or exploiting the law for the purposes of disempowering a family member—all of these are examples of family violence in today’s day and age.

Why Family Violence is So Prevalent

The family unit used to be considered, traditionally, the building block of society—but along the way in the 20th century social mores and cultural norms changed and the meaning of family underwent an enormous shift.  Instead of family and the notion of family values being upheld as something pivotal in society and important for communities and individuals alike, family began to be seen as something oppressive and disconcerting.  The idea of having children after marriage became something extra—as procreation and sexual activity were divided from one another thanks to contraception (Rainwater), and the need to link marriage with having a growing family became less common as contraception and family planning became more common.  Traditionally, large families were the norm and family values were a staple of large families as everyone had to take a role to make sure the family unit survived.  

America, however, went through many changes over the course of the 20th century.  It took part in two World Wars and following the second it experienced a sexual and socio-political revolution that began in the 1960s at the same time that the Women’s Movement began under the leadership…

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…loss of cultural and social mores pointing the way towards the value and significance of what it means to have a family—these are all some of the many different factors leading to family violence.

What to Do

Family violence, first and foremost, has to be addressed by getting those who are victims of family violence out of the situation as quickly as possible.  There are numerous hotlines one can call to report family violence, such as the National Domestic Violence Hotline.  Those who fail to report, however, typically do so because they fear reprisal from loved ones or they fear they may be abandoned at some point (Hermann; Lee, Lincoln).  If one can get away from the situation, one should, as that is ideal.

At the cultural and social level, however, society and community leaders have a duty to address the situation of family violence as communities depend upon strong families to be the building blocks of society.  If families self-destruct and continue to do so the way they are doing now, there is not going to be much of a future for society.  Community leaders have to get this message out and help to restore the idea of character formation in schools so that people understand what is incumbent upon them to pursue (Arthur).


Family violence has been growing in the nation at the same time that families themselves have been changing.  There are many types of family violence and many factors that lead to it.  However, there can be only one solution to the problem of family violence—and that is to re-affirm the principles and values of family life and why strong, stable families are so important to society and to the future of the community.

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

Arthur, James. The Formation of Character in Education: From Aristotle to the 21st Century.  Routledge, 2019.  

Friedan, Betty.  The Feminine Mystique.  NY:  W. W. Norton, 1963.

Hermann, Henry R. Dominance and Aggression in Humans and Other Animals: The Great Game of Life. Academic Press, 2017.

Lee, Andrea, and Robyn Lincoln. "Reciprocity and Exchange: Perspectives of Male Victims of Family Violence." The Psychology of Criminal and Antisocial Behavior. Academic Press, 2017. 233-256.

Rainwater, Lee. Family design: Marital sexuality, family size, and contraception. Routledge, 2017.

Shriner, B & M. Shriner. Essentials of Lifespan Development: A Topical Perspective. Bridgepoint Education: San Diego, CA, 2014.

Zhu, Yuhong, Ko Ling Chan, and Jinsong Chen. "Bullying victimization among Chinese middle school students: the role of family violence." Journal of interpersonal violence 33.12 (2018): 1958-1977.

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