The Rise of Domestic Violence in our Society and Culture

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The definition of the term domestic violence is, violence or abuse of one person against another taking place in a domestic setting, for example: marriage, cohabitation, etc. Therefore the topic of domestic violence is a serious one, because it takes place in homes, in some of the most personal and intimate of settings. The truth is that violence comes closer to many families than we would like to admit. Domestic violence is America’s dark little secret – Former Senator Bill Bradley.

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This former senator understands that the issue of domestic violence is very real within our society. This issue is one that doesn’t really get spoken about that often on the news or in the community. Most victims don’t get help and end up having to deal with the abuse that they endure on their own. Police officers are called upon to deal with domestic violence calls almost everyday, yet you don’t hear much about it in the news or in political debates.

This shows that society has down played the severity of this issue through lack of attention. None of the recent presidents have tried to do much about domestic violence in our country. Therefore, the purpose of this research project is to study the statistics behind domestic violence, in order to analyze it deeper and possibly see if there’s a correlation between race and the occurrence of domestic violence. This is important because with this research society could use the results to possibly prevent domestic violence. Domestic violence is rooted deep within our societyand has been since the beginning of human interaction. It is even reinforced through norms and values in various cultures and societies in the world. Domestic abuse occurs in numerous forms, the most common being: intimate partner violence, child abuse, and elder abuse. It can happen to anyone, regardless of age, sexuality, or gender. However, there are some factors of which domestic violence relies more heavily upon, such as gender or race/culture. Statistically, violence is often perpetrated by men to women. Throughout history, men have assumed a dominant position in most, if not all, cultures. There is yet to be a culture that is truly matriarchal in nature.

In male-dominated societies, it is often culturally acceptable for a husband to discipline his wife and children. People use this as a way to justify the horrible experiences they are putting victims through. Consequently, neither the perpetrators or victims would acknowledge the problems domestic violence brings. Even if the victim were to complain to law enforcement, in most cases, they would be told either that the matter was private or not a problem at all, due to the law enforcement being predominantly male. For example, in many Latino and Asian American households, domestic violence often goes unreported due to the cultural norm of husbands disciplining whomever they please within the household (Schaefer, 2008). It is imperative domestic violence is studied due to the number of cases that still go unreported and the masses of people struggling from its effects. Historically, most cases are unresolved due to the stigma and private nature surrounding domestic violence (Schaefer, 2008). Although many of our norms and values have drastically changed over time due to new information, domestic violence still goes unreported today. Information and research on the correlation between domestic violence and other factors could be the first step in preventing these incidents.

For example, according to the Institute on Domestic Violence (IDVAAC), (on average), in the African American Community, one in four women will experience domestic violence in their lifetimes. For black females, this statistic is closer to one in three. This could also have to do with poverty in different races. For example, the poverty rate is 25.8 percent for black people. The poverty rate for white people is 12.3 percent. The article makes a claim that this drastic difference between the two percentages could be one reason, for which domestic violence is higher in one race than another. The same article presents a cause for the situation as well. The article argues that for households where there is a financial issue there is a higher chance of domestic violence. Stress might lead to circumstances getting violent. Stereotypes about black females can also stop them from seeking help in an abusive relationship. For example, there are ones that depict black females as domineering figures that require control, making these individuals vulnerable to abuse by discouraging them from seeking help. Furthermore, statistics provided by a five-year University of Texas Houston School of Public Health Study of 2000 supports that there may be a relationship between race and domestic violence. The study focuses on 1,025 couples. These 1,025 couples included 406 white couples, 232 black couples, and 387 Hispanic ones.

The study concluded that Black and Hispanic couples are two to three times more likely to report domestic violence than white couples. White couples reported 8-10%, whereas black couples reported rates of 20-22%. Hispanic couples reported rates of 20-21% of domestic violence. This shows us that different races do have different levels of domestic violence with blacks and Hispanics leading, followed by whites. Domestic violence percentages and statistics are dominantly higher in certain races than others. As we take note of the devastation domestic violence may bring to a household or a relationship, we may come across particular short and long term effects domestic violence brings. Not only to the victims, but to the perpetrators as well.These effects may range from physical to psychological damage. According to a research article called Long-Term Physical and Mental Health Effects of Domestic Violence by Kavita Alejo, short term physical injuries that may be sustained from domestic violence may include cuts, bruises, bite marks, concussions, broken bones, penetrative injuries such as knife wounds, miscarriages, joint damage, loss of hearing and vision, migraines, permanent disfigurement, arthritis, hypertension, heart disease, and sexually transmitted infections including human papillomavirus, which can lead to cervical cancer and eventually death.

The article also mentions psychological damage that may be sustained from domestic violence may include depression, alcohol or substance abuse, anxiety, personality disorders, posttraumatic stress disorder, sleeping and eating disorders, social dysfunction, and suicide. From this we can observe that most of the psychological effects can be categorized as long term effects of domestic violence. The perpetrator may sustain self inflicted or defensive wounds during altercations. The type of damage sustained does not have anything to do with the race of the victims however gender may play a role. For example, the previous stated article mentions that in heterosexual relationships, females are more likely to sustain psychological and physical injuries due to the fact that their primary victims of domestic violence. Domestic violence is more likely to cause more long term health problems in women than in men. In same sex domestic violence, both men and woman sustain mental and or physical injuries. Women in general, were mostly violated up until the 1920s when all states made wife beating illegal. Even when this was passed, they didn’t take domestic violence crimes very serious until the 1970s. In the 1970s, they highlighted Domestic Violence as a serious crime; making people be able to get arrested for the harsh crime they’ve done. If the assaulter has a background history of crimes or if they did very serious injury to the assaulted, they can be filed in as a felon.

As of today, the assaulter must go through fifty-two mandatory program classes and may even get issued an anger management class based on the court’s choosing. But, the domestically violated get less reported because women are more often to look up to the man for economic support. Let’s not run away from the fact that men also to get domestically violated not as much as women but rather somewhere close. Domestic Violence is a very sketchy crime but the abusers can overcome the challenges of being domestically violated. Through all the troubles of domestic violence, it has had some beneficial responses to the problem which helped out some people in the long run. Society took the problem in its own hands and created things beneficial for the assaulted. In 1994, President Clinton established the National Domestic Violence Hotline. There are also domestic violence counseling classes, shelters and there has been wives, husbands and children who have been attending these in their communities. All this resulting in a 30% decrease in domestic violence. The helpfulness of public awareness, advocating, and the victims combating it mentally has caused this decrease in the crime. Ever since the 94 law, domestic violence has gone down two-thirds in the United States, says Democratic Rep. Gwen Moore. She also states that, cases of domestic violence have fallen by 67% due to the Violence against Women act.

Domestic Violence has took a toll on people, but due to our society we have helped the problem of domestic violence. Therefore the perceptions of domestic abuse being caused by one factor are false, throughout the study it is shown that there are multiple causes throughout history for domestic violence in America. The building blocks of the societal norms that promote domestic abuse date back to before the Declaration of Independence was written. This means that it’s just something that has been institutionalized and worked into society, just like many of the other issues in our society today, for example, racism. This means that domestic violence being in our society isn’t our fault, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t responsible for stopping it or helping the people that go through it. Maria Hong’s book, Family Abuse: A National Epidemic states some of the myths about domestic violence found through research studies. The book states, Certain myths have made it hard to prevent family abuse from happening. These misconceptions include the following: It occurs only within poor families and certain racial and ethnic groups. It is perpetuated only by mentally ill or alcoholic or drug-abusing persons. Victims of abuse provoke it and should be blamed for it. (15). This shows that only one of the many variables cannot be blamed for the occurrence of domestic violence in the households of America.

In Conclusion, there are certain coincidences or similarities between many of the domestic violence cases that take place in our country. There are also many set up societal norms that promote the rise of domestic violence in our society and culture, but the blame of one of those factors or norms being the sole cause of domestic violence is ridiculous. The point is that there is no one factor to blame or watch out for that would always prevent domestic violence because domestic violence can happen to anyone in any family at any time for a multitude of reasons. So race cannot be blamed or connected directly to the causes of domestic violence. The main thing to take from this study is that there are many signs of domestic violence in society and that those signs shouldn’t be used as a way to create stereotypes or blame anyone. They should be used to watch out for others and be there to help people who might be going through it. So use this knowledge to help, not to hurt and not to blame.


Buddy T., 2012, Domestic Violence Varies by Ethnicity, U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics, :Intimate Partner Violence, 1993-2010.) Special Report. Retrieved from

Hong, M. (1997). Family abuse: A national epidemic(Vol. 1, Issues in focus). Springfield, NJ, USA: Enslow. Kavita Alejo, 2014, Long-Term Physical and Mental Health Effects of Domestic Violence, Volume 2, Research Journal of Justice Studies and Forensic Science. Retrieved from

Meghan Mausteller, 2017, The Intersection of Racism and Domestic Violence. Retrieved from

Pleck, Elizabeth, 1987, Domestic Tyranny: The Making of Social Policy against Family Violence from Colonial Times to the Present. Retrieved from

Schaefer, Richard T, 2008, SAGE Publications, Volume 1, Domestic Violence

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The Rise of Domestic Violence in Our Society and Culture. (2019, Sep 02). Retrieved from