The Link Between Socioeconomic And Psychological Factors And Domestic Violence Incidence

Link Between Socioeconomic Factors and Domestic Violence

Domestic violence has become a major public health issue because of the prevalence of such incidence globally and increase in negative physical, mental, sexual and reproductive impact on victims. Intimate partner violence and physical violence can lead to depression, post traumatic stress disorder, suicide attempts and many mental health issues in affected individually (Ouellet?Morin et al., 2015). Certain social and psychological factors predispose certain groups of people in the society to risk of domestic violence. This essay aims to explore socioeconomic factors that influence domestic violence incidence and also find link between the psychological factors and domestic violence episodes. The evaluation of both the two factors will be done by analysing the eventual impact of the factors on perpetrators or victims of domestic violence.

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Domestic violence is a phenomenon that defines abuse or harm inflicted to an individual by the partner or the person with whom they reside in a setting. The most common form of domestic violence is the intimate partner violence where a woman is mostly likely to suffer if they have low education, no employment and attitude towards violence (Caetano, Schafer & Cunradi, 2017). Such factors indicate link between socioeconomic factors and domestic violence incidents. Low education is a social risk factor that predisposes women to risk of domestic violence. Trinh et al. (2016) supports the fact that lower educational attainment is one of the key factors that inculcates violence supportive attitudes among women. They are compelled to accept such form of abuse because of their low bargaining power in society and dependence on the partner for livelihood and other means of living. Sabri, Simonet and Campbell (2018) justifies acceptance of intimate partner violence among women because of cultural normalization of abuse, fear of losing children and the need to protect family honour. The study has revealed that women with low education and low socioeconomic status adhere to norms justifying domestic violence. Hence, by examining the link between education and domestic violence, it can be said that there is a need to make education a protective factors against domestic violence for victims so that they can be empowered to act against domestic violence through education, financial support and housing.

Apart from low education, unemployment and low income has been found to be effective factors that lead to domestic violence against women. This is proved by a research study by Slabbert (2017), which revealed that women with low income are more vulnerable to abuse as they have limited choices and resources to make their life better. Poverty is a negative element in their life, which offers no route for them to escape the situation, but accept violence silently. For many women, housing is also linked to their partner’s employment contract and they fear taking action against violence because of loss of employment, housing and income. Daoud et al. (2016) explains that housing instability is most common among victim of intimate partner violence and their fundamental right of stable housing is violated when victims are not securely housed in their own home. The situation becomes worst for those women who have low level of education as it limit their chance of seeking alternative employment and eliminating poverty.  It eventually leads to poor health and exaggeration of exiting health problems among victims (Wong & Mellor, 2014). Hence, low education and income force victims to accept domestic violence to meet their basic life needs, whereas perpetrators of domestic violence get the encouragement to continue with repeated acts of violence because of their female’s partner’s low education, no income and complete dependence on them for basic life needs.

Low Education and Domestic Violence

The patriarchal norm in society and values of masculinity increases risk for victims and enhances motivation of perpetrators to engage in violence act. Patriarchy is defined as a social system that promotes institutionalization of male dominance over woman and children and deprivation of rights and resources for women (Sultana, 2011).  Low education and unemployment is mostly seen in victims who live in a patriarchal society. Patriarchal arrangements promote the occurrence of domestic violence because of the dominant power that is given to the male gender to have social control over the other gender. The patriarchal norms in certain communities limit women’s opportunity to get education and eventually obtain stable income source. This eventually reduces the bargaining power of women and empowers the perpetrators to negative take control of the lives of victims (Rajan, 2018). This ideal can be understood from the patriarchy theory or feminist theory that regards patriarchal thinking as the main cause of domestic violence. In patriarchal society, males can resort to violent means to show their superiority (Khatchvani, 2015). This discussion gives an insight into the role of patriarchal norm on perpetrator’s motivation to engage in domestic abuse of their partner. Cultural norms legitimize violence committed by perpetrators and expose women and children to cycle of emotional and physical abuse (Namy et al., 2017). Poor long term health effects and negative current health effects such as depression, stress, sexually transmitted disease and miscarriage is common among victims of domestic abuse.

The influence of psychological factors on domestic violence incidence is understood from high reported incidence of crime, substance abuse, suicide ideation and developmental and behavioural problems in women and children who are abused. For example, children who are exposed to domestic violence at an early stage of their life become vulnerable to developmental problems evidenced by substance abuse, and mental illness and anti-social behaviour (Patterson, DeBaryshe & Ramsey, 2017).  Westrupp et al. (2018) revealed that physical exposure to inter-parental conflict increases externalizing problems in children. Hence, it can be said that children’s exposure to violence increases their risk for domestic violence and developmental problems in later life too. Herrenkohl and Jung (2016) indicated that 14-19 years boys with history of maltreatment are more likely to perpetrate physical abuse in later life. Children who are abused physically or emotionally have low self-esteem and they are more likely to be robbed, attacked or assaulted. Therefore, the evidence gives the insight that being abused in childhood transforms such children to perpetrators of abuse in later life. Such kind of attitude developed because such children grow in a violent home environment. They normalize such acts and start favouring violence in their later life. However, the severity of risk for victims or perpetrators can be understood by the type and timing of exposure to child’s exposure to violence.    

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Unemployment and Domestic Violence

Substance abuse is a factor that is most commonly found in victims and perpetrators of domestic violence. Substance abuse in perpetrators increases incidence of domestic violence and substance abuse is the consequence of domestic abuse too. The frequency of violence episode is higher when the perpetrator is a problem drinker or engaged in alcohol abuse. This is revealed by Caetano, Schafer and Cunradi, (2017) as the study revealed that heavy drinkers have impulsive personality and they use drinking as an excuse to engage in violent behaviour. Alcohol use is common among both perpetrators and victims. Alcohol related problems increase the likelihood of violent relationship among people with the problem. For this reason, alcohol abuse and domestic violence is regarded as phenomenon that co-occurs most frequently and share same risk factors too. de Paula Gebara et al. (2015) reported that apart from young age, illiteracy, history of physical violence and depression, alcohol related problem is one of the risk factors of domestic violence. Such links has been found mainly because alcohol has direct effect and physical and cognitive performance of an individual and it reduces people’s ability to self-control and identify signs of danger. Perpetrators use alcohol as an excuse to display aggression whereas victims use alcohol use as a coping strategy to deal with psychological stress caused by exposure to violent situations (de Paula Gebara et al., 2015).

Victims of domestic violence are affected by psychological problems like depression, post traumatic stress disorder, eating disorder and suicide ideation. Chang, Kahle and Hirsch 2015) explained the cause behind greater depressive symptoms in patients with domestic abuse by investigating about the relationship between domestic abuse, belongingness and depressive symptoms. The study revealed that depressive symptomatology is one of the most robust findings among people with domestic abuse as women with domestic abuse are three times more likely to develop depression. The author identified belongingness as a mediator that lead to depressive symptoms among victims of domestic abuse. Women who have violent relationship with their partner lose sense of belongingness with their children and partner. This form of disconnectedness is a consequence of domestic abuse and it is positively associated with depressive symptoms. On the contrary, Khalifeh et al. (2015) gave the insight that patients with severe mental illness are at increased risk of domestic violence. High prevalence rate of domestic and sexual abuse was found in patients with mental illness and such victims were more likely to commit suicide too. In addition, Kavak et al. (2018) argued that suicide ideation is seen in patients who are battered by their husband. Hence, depressive symptoms in such victims can be treated by providing external source of support and increasing interpersonal connectedness.

The Impact of Patriarchy and Masculinity on Domestic Violence

From the above discussion, it can be concluded that domestic violence occurs of the interplay of various socioeconomic and psychological factors in the life of victim or perpetrators. Low education and unemployment has been found to be the two vital risk factors that make victims vulnerable to risk of domestic violence and the same deficits in the partners encourage perpetrators to engage in violent acts. The patriarchal norm of the society and the masculinity ideals also support males to normalize their violent behaviour and exercise self-control on their partner. Victims of abuse are more likely to experience mental illness and developmental problems because of lack of sense of belongingness and social disconnectedness from family. To empower such women to come out of violent situation and improve their health and well-being, it is essential that social support group empower victims by providing financial, housing and emotional support to them.


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