Domestic Violence Against Females: Scope and Dimensions
According to a report issued by the Public Health Service (1990), at least 18 percent of all homicides in the United States occur within families with the risk for women being 1.3 times that of their husbands. However, according to Campbell (1986), even when wives kill their husbands, self-defense is involved approximately seven times as often as when husbands kill their wives.
In terms of actual numbers, Straus and Gelles (1990) state that about 1.8 million women are battered by their husbands each year in America. The authors further state that this figure is low because it does not include violence against women in either dating or cohabitating relationships.
Straus and Gelles also report that while all spousal violence is serious, abuse of female partners is a particularly serious community health problem; and this for several reasons. These reasons include its greater prevalence, the stronger potential for homicide, the effects on the children, and its more serious long-term emotional and physical consequences.
In their discussion of spousal violence against women, Papalia and Olds (1992) noted that there are definite patterns to the violence. First, it usually begins with only a shove or a slap; however, over the course of the relationship, it soon escalates to a beating. Second, wives are more likely to be battered if couples are young, poor, and unemployed.
Papalia and Olds (1992) also state that men who abuse their wives or girlfriends tend to have a set of common characteristics. Specifically, they tend to be isolates with low self-esteem and problems of sexual inadequacy. Often, they are inordinately jealous and tend to deny or minimize the degree of violence they perpetuate. The male also tends to be very dominant in the marriage.
Psychological, Legal, and Community Responses to Domestic
Studies tend to show that abused women feel that ...