For an undeniable amount of women, violence within an intimate relationship is sadly an all too common problem. Also classified as domestic violence, the U.S. Department of Justice defines the term as a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one intimate partner to manipulate power and control over another partner. Intimate partner violence can include rape, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault and simple assault by a current or former member of the relationship.
The most current statistical data states that domestic abuse occurs 85 percent of the time against women. While this information is readily available, a perspective that is not often reviewed in the U.S. is the longitudinal differences of domestic abuse over the span of history. Generally, Americans may only have faint ideas of the power dynamic between men and women in the past, particularly by how it is portrayed in dated televisions shows and films. Unsurprisingly, the overall scope of how women were treated in preceding years and decades creates a much more comprehensive representation.
While various areas of social interaction have been analyzed from the formation of psychological foundations, dissecting concepts through a gendered viewpoint was not actively explored until the 1970s. The amassing research and literature of the time revealed a positive progression of attitude toward gender studies, and many specific aspects of development, genetic factors and distinction from men were heavily studied. One of these aspects was the prevalence and consequences connected to intimate partner violence. Along this line of research, the FBI began conducting a massive, 20-year-long report compiling the cases of homicide within intimate relationships. From 1976 to 1995, these annual statistics showed that an overwhelming 60 percent of all domestic homicide victims were women and that 34 percent of all adult female homicide victims were killed by an intimate partner.
The study of this type of violence against women continued into the 1980s and 1990s as well. According to a widely cited 1985 National Family Violence Survey, the average of six assaults experienced by female partners during a 12-month period and the yearly rate of violence exclusively against wives was at 11.3 percent. Studies and surveys conducted between 1994 and 1995 claimed that women had a 10 times higher risk of being victims than their male counterparts and that women were up to six times more likely to suffer from a violent act by a partner or ex-partner.
In addition to this library of research regarding these widespread and problematic trends, other examples of research have also discovered more progressive developments. According to the same longitudinal report collected by the FBI, intimate partner homicide rates declined over the 20-year time frame for all gender and ethnicity groups except white, unmarried women. Another long-term survey was conducted among U.S. households from 1994 to 2010 detailing data on nonfatal partner violence. Researchers found that intimate partner violence lessened by more than 60 percent for both males and females. Some studies over the years have even found cases of fairly equivalent rates of violence between genders, but have also been deemed controversial by social scientists and activists alike due to their limitations and unproductive implications for future gender equality.
While progress has been made in the world of gender violence and its prevalence has lowered among some demographics, the raw number of persisting instances needs to be further addressed and treated. Between 2001 and 2012, the amount of women murdered by a current or former male partner reached 11,766, which was almost double the number of American troops killed in Afghanistan and Iraq during the same period of time. Intimate violence and harm is an issue that encompasses all groups of society, crossing ethnic, socioeconomic and age barriers and should be stopped wherever possible.
Sovereign Health of Arizona concentrates on the care of those afflicted with trauma, abuse and other associated mental disorders. By utilizing innovative and holistic services, these therapeutic facilities allow for an effective healing process to guide one to a full recovery. If you or a loved one is suffering from the traumatic consequences of an abusive relationship, please call 866-598-5661 for more information on how to get help.
Written by Lee Yates, Sovereign Health Group writer
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