Unanswered [1] | Urgent [0]
  

Home / Writing Feedback   % width Posts: 2

History, patterns, and dynamics of violence between intimate partners


FredParisFrance 61 / 7  
Dec 21, 2007   #1
Hello,

Could you please read my essay and give me some feedback?

The prompt is:

Each student will write an essay that reviews the history, dynamics and patterns of violence in marriages both heterosexual and homosexual. This essay should critically analyze the research and discuss the similarities and differences that the researchers are finding. You will need to find at least 4 research studies to discuss this topic thoroughly.

Thank you in advance
Frederic

-------------

Primary needs and second thoughts: a brief review of intimate violence in the light of the evolutionary psychology

Introduction

Intimate partner violence is reported to affect about 4.6 per 1,000 of all American women according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. However, these figures are far from being representative of the actual prevalence of violence between intimate partners in the United States of America nowadays because, although intimate violence is a scourge afflicting traditional heterosexual marriages, it is also highly widespread in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender couples. In the present paper, the history, patterns and dynamics of violence between intimate partners are investigated, whatever the sexual orientation of the individuals may be, in order to comprehensively broach the review of the research that has been carried out on violence between intimate partners. It is hypothesized that the patterns and dynamics underlying intimate violence would be more comprehensively apprehended thanks to the embracement of the evolutionary psychology approach as an integrative paradigm based on the findings of previous research rather than the traditional approaches (including legal, psychological, social and medical perspectives). The following essay attempts to demonstrate and support this hypothesis through a critical analysis of the most important or controversial statements that have emerged up to now.

Historical Issues

The first written documents officially bearing witness to violence between intimate partners in what is now known as the United States of America come as far back as the eighteenth century. However, such documents are relatively scarce since intimate violence was considered a private matter and was authorized, either explicitly or implicitly, by the legal and social systems until the late twentieth century. Although the initial passage from the darkness of privacy to the light of public awareness is the fruit of collaborative efforts between individuals on the fringe of the judiciary, legal, and political systems, US institutions and legislation have successfully engaged in the way of change. This evolution is the criminalization of violence between intimate partners, which provides the American society with the indispensable tools to apprehend the patterns and dynamics of violence between intimate partners.

Nonetheless, scholars, agreeing with the fact that the underlying causes of domestic violence have to be discovered in order to implement and enforce the most efficient policies and laws, have advocated different, if not completely opposite, paradigms and patterns in qualitative and quantitative data for the last forty years. Three major ideological currents have stood out over these past decades and have competed with one another to gain public approval as regards what is the assumed "explanation" of violence between intimate partners, and consequently, the subsequent policies that should be implemented. First, feminist scholars have claimed that violence between partners is the unfortunate result of the implementation of patriarchal beliefs in the American society. Conversely, such a justification being in no way defendable when the problem of violence between partners in same-sex couples is broached, other scholars have contended that domestic violence is the consequence of the experience or witnessing of violent acts in one's family of origin that is later emulated in one's own relationships. In opposition to this family dysfunction hypothesis and to structural approaches such as the feminist views, some scholars have declared that domestic violence is the outcome of personality disorders because only individual psychopathologies can explain why lesbians who have never experienced or witnessed violence in their family of origin could batter their female partners.

Finally, a new hypothesis emerged in the early 1990s and obliterated the ideological barriers of the researchers studying domestic violence. Based on the evolutionary theory of Charles Darwin, scholars integrated the findings of anthropologists and psychologists so as to apprehend the human beings' actual nature. Consequently, the adoption of evolutionary psychology to study domestic violence would not mean to create another reductive window but would rather imply to look at all the windows that have been constructed so far. In consequence, the espousal of evolutionary psychology would permit researchers to critically analyze findings originating from all approaches. This enlargement of intellectual scope would be most beneficial to victims and aggressors because the researchers' findings could fuel policymakers, law enforcement and health care interveners with a sound theoretical framework that could allow all those people to design and implement practical tools for tackling the issue of violence between intimate partners. Furthermore, since theorists studying violence between intimate partners argue over the temporal extent of this phenomenon, evolutionary psychology can incorporate all their findings to evaluate its prevalence and significance in the course of human history.

Patterns of intimate violence

The most significant elements transpiring from a brief overview of the current literature addressing the topic of violence between partners are, on the one hand, that a technical vocabulary is far from being fixed and, and on the other hand, that the nature and extent of domestic violence fall beyond the limits of one's imagination. First, the linguistic vagueness in the past and present research emphasizes the relative difficulty to determine the limits of what are, or are not, abusive behaviours in intimate relationships within the framework of the American cultural expectations. Second, the imprecision of the language also highlights the difficulty to apprehend the patterns associated with intimate violence because of the numerous academic domains dealing with the issue, such as the criminal, sociological, medical, and political sciences.

The range of abusive behaviours is extremely wide because it encompasses a collection of diverse types of assault and abuse. However, the nature of abusive behaviours that are employed by offenders against victims can be catalogued into four main categories that are often combined to form complex sets of tactics. A typology of abusive behaviours recognizes physical, sexual, psychological and economic abuse that is employed in both heterosexual and homosexual couples, such as the obligation of sexual relationships. Nonetheless, some of them are idiosyncratic with respect to same-sex couples, for example the fact of threatening one's partner with "outing", or characteristics of heterosexual couples, like uxoricide.

Except the traditional dichotomist classification based on sexual orientation (heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual), perpetrators and victims are also epitomized by factors such as their gender (male, female, transgender), socioeconomic status, ethnicity, cultural or sub-cultural background, and homophobia (parental, internalized). Moreover, research on intimate violence is highly hampered by the difficulty to clearly define who the initiator of the violence is and whether the employment of violence is mutual or unilateral. Furthermore, the construction of patterns is also impaired by the definition of the location where violence happens, though studies tend to show that households are the most important location for intimate violence. Finally, patterns of violence can be drawn according to notions of time at both micro-levels and macro-levels, such as the developmental stage of the people involved (childhood, adolescence, maturity), the frequency of occurrences (endemic or sporadic), the continuum of the relationships (courtship, marriage, separation), or the legal status (citizen, alien, illegal immigrant, married, divorced).

Since scholars, policy makers, and interveners underpin divergent views on the typologies that should be espoused for conducting research on violence between intimate violence, evolutionary psychology can integrate all existing typologies to ameliorate future research. Indeed, evolutionary psychology emphasizes the selection of patterns allowing the explanation of ultimate rather than proximate causes, namely patterns for studying intimate violence should embrace phylogenic rather than ontogenic characteristics. In this way, researchers should avoid focusing on peculiar symptoms and, thus, they could root their studies on intimate violence on complete systems applicable to the whole Homo sapiens sapiens species.

Dynamics of intimate violence

Scholars seemingly vindicate as many underlying reasons for the emergence of violence between intimate partners as they model patterns. However, three main phases govern the continuum of violence between intimate partners (genesis, persistence, and disappearance). So far, four main theories have been developed to explicate this continuum. The significance of structural, individual, family, and developmental characteristics have been supported respectively by the feminist, psychopathological, family dysfunction, and developmental approaches.

First, feminist theorists support the universal-risk theory arguing that the American society, as many other western societies, has institutionalized in addition to legally and socially maintained male dominance and female subordination through a patriarchal framework that puts forward male privileges, misogyny, and an asymmetry of power favourable to males. According to the feminist paradigm, males utilize all forms of violence over females to exert their power. However, this theory fails to recognize that its epistemology is invalid since the unidirectional causation of violence has been refuted. Moreover, the feminist approach fails to justify why violence also happens in same-sex couples. Furthermore, the feminists also struggle to elucidate why men who batter their female partners do not constitute the bulk of the male population since this practice is largely acknowledge, even if encouraged.

Second, some theorists claim that violence between intimate partners results from an intergenerational transmission of violence. This paradigm bases its ideological foundation on the social learning theory that assumes that people model their current behaviour according to behaviours they have previously experienced or witnessed. Consequently, the proponents of the family dysfunction theory contend that individuals who experienced and/or witnessed violence in their family of origin emulate these violent attitudes in their present families. However, the family dysfunction paradigm fails to explicate why parents are expected to have a more significant influence than other potential role models on their offspring, such as classmates or celebrities. Furthermore, the family dysfunction theorists find it difficult to evaluate whether children imitate their same or opposite gendered parent.

Third, some researchers assert that violence between intimate partners stems from individual pathologies. The psychopathological paradigm emphasizes the predominance of personality disorders and traits, such as substance addictions or bipolar disorders, as the main causes that give rise to violent acts from the part of one partner over the over one. Nonetheless, the psychopathological theory cannot explain why batterers do not necessarily suffer from addictions or mental disorders. Moreover, some scholars have revealed that, independently of the actual state of the offenders, their expected behaviour was a source of criticism from their partners and that these denigrations were the triggers of violence from the part of addicted people.

Fourth, some scholars affirm that violence between intimate partners is a consequence of the socio-reproductive dialectic. That developmental theory is rooted in the premise that individuals experience a need for intimacy because of external social and internal biological forces and that necessity is often impaired during one's life. Consequently, when this need for intimacy is repressed, individuals harbour an irrepressible feeling of frustration arousing an intense stress. That nervous tension put the individuals in a state of extreme irritability that provokes the degeneration of simple quarrels between partners into violence. Developmentalists also anchor their comprehension of the dynamics of intimate violence on the cycle of violence theory, developed by Walker in the early 1980s, which claims that relationships undergoing violence follow a cycle of three consecutive stages: tension escalating, battering, and repentance. Albeit the latest paradigm seemingly appears atheoretical at first sight, the developmental theory lays its foundation on the assumption that human kind is scarcely deprived of inner dispositions to its own biological reproductive function and that societies stimulate individuals' interest in their reproductive function. That postulation, unfortunately, fails to take into account the fact that the Homo sapiens sapiens species has succeeded into sufficiently growing to avoid extinction whereas natural selection exerted an intense pressure over human beings.

Finally, researchers generally consent to admitting that integrative models for studying the dynamics of violence between intimate partners are much more needed because the current perspectives are now too restrictive to really apprehend the extent and complexity of the dynamics of intimate violence. Accordingly, evolutionary psychology can provide the necessary theoretical framework to establish an Ariadne's thread between all the approaches that are currently used. Indeed, with the benefit of hindsight, evolutionary psychology can suppress the theoretical frameworks that are too largely based on ontogenic characteristics or that are not eminently sound from a logical point of view. Once this ideological pruning done, evolutionary psychologists, whose staple diet is composed of research originating from natural and social sciences, could demonstrate that their diversified intellectual nourishment provides with the most appropriate foundations to establish an utmost efficient multi-analytic approach to study the dynamics of violence between intimate partners.

Conclusion

This brief review of the history, patterns and dynamics of violence between intimate partners has revealed that the American society as a whole has become aware of this phenomenon. Thanks to individual and collective efforts to criminalize intimate violence, research has been conducted. This research has started disclosing the structure of violent behaviours in addition to the motivational forces that have been mobilized behind them. However, research has seemingly reached breaking point: it may either pursue studying intimate violence through hyper compartmentalized and contextualized perspectives or espouse a "liberal normativeness" based on the espousal of a highly multi-analytic approach that would be an amalgamation of exo, meso, micro, and macro systemic procedures. Evolutionary psychology can afford researchers, policymakers, interveners a unique opportunity to integrate an all-encompassing paradigm. Evolutionary psychology puts forward a constructivist approach, integrating the findings of previously conducted nativistic and empiricist studies. Thus, practitioners involved in the political, legal, or medical management of violence between intimate partners would be given the possibility to ameliorate their comprehension of the ultimate aetiology and pathogenesis. Furthermore, the gain of an improved awareness of the prevalence, severity and persistence of intimate violence would allow the American society to efficiently tailor social, legal, and medical alternatives to address this reality through the reorientation of the present scientific goals into the initial humanitarian objective of the study of intimate violence: save lives. One can conceive that the adoption of the evolutionary psychology paradigm can arouse suspicions but having second thoughts on this topic would permit the American society to fulfil its primary need, namely adumbrates preventive and curative treatments aimed at both victims and perpetrators eradicating the actual causes rather than the symptoms of violence between intimate partners.

EF_Team2 1 / 1,709  
Dec 22, 2007   #2
Greetings!

I'd be happy to give you some editing advice on your excellent essay!

scholars integrated the findings of anthropologists and psychologists so as to apprehend [delete the] human beings' actual nature.

Since scholars, policy makers, and interveners underpin divergent views on the typologies that should be espoused for conducting research on violence between intimate partners, evolutionary psychology can integrate all existing typologies to ameliorate future research.

Moreover, some scholars have revealed that, independently of the actual state of the offenders, their expected behaviour was a source of criticism from their partners and that these denigrations were the triggers of violence on the part of addicted people.

That nervous tension puts the individuals in a state of extreme irritability that provokes the degeneration of simple quarrels between partners into violence.

Once this ideological pruning is done, evolutionary psychologists, whose staple diet is composed of research originating from natural and social sciences, could demonstrate that their diversified intellectual nourishment provides [delete with] the most appropriate foundations to establish an utmost efficient multi-analytic approach to study the dynamics of violence between intimate partners.

Excellent work!

Thanks,

Sarah, EssayForum.com


Home / Writing Feedback / History, patterns, and dynamics of violence between intimate partners