Academic journal article Sociological Focus

Deterrence of Men from Using Aggression toward Female Partners

Academic journal article Sociological Focus

Deterrence of Men from Using Aggression toward Female Partners

Article excerpt

The study explored how men were deterred from using aggression toward a female partner by examining men's evaluation of their female partner's readiness to respond to their aggression (by involving formal and/or informal social agents and by threatening to leave or leaving the relationship). The data were obtained from 217 men. Findings show that the higher the men evaluate the women's readiness to respond to their aggression, the more severe their aggression. Findings also indicate that women's readiness to threaten to leave, actually to leave, or to involve informal social agents is higher than their readiness to involve formal social agents. Findings that show that when the men decide that the women will respond to their aggression, this evaluation directly affects the other variables, as well as the association between these variables. The more the men evaluate that the women will respond to their aggression, the more likely they are to restrain their violent tendencies.

When female partners facing male aggression are ready to seek help or to leave the relationship, some men consider this readiness a significant threat to the dyadic relationship. They might also consider it a threat to their social, professional, or economic status-or even to their personal freedom. It is reasonable to assume that such a threat could act as a deterrent for men in the general normative population: the stronger the men's belief in their partners' readiness to reach out for help or to leave the relationship, the more restraint the men would use to curb aggressive behavior. It is possible, however, that such threats could have the opposite effect, motivating the men to increase their hostility towards their partners for their willingness to put the men and the relationship at risk. The present study examined men's evaluation of their female partners' readiness to seek the involvement of formal and informal social agents, to threaten to leave, and actually to leave the relationship in the event of partner violence. The study addressed how the men's perception of these potential reactions in their female partners might deter them from using aggression toward their wives. Understanding whether these threats suppress or encourage aggression in the general population is of great theoretical and practical importance. Theoretically, the study will contribute to the understanding of the factors that regulate partner violence in the general population. Practically, it can assist in developing an encouraging perspective to deter the use of violence between partners in the general population.

Women's Response to Partners' Violence

This study examined how men viewed their partners' readiness to respond to their aggression as a threat to the dyadic framework, focusing on three different types of response: seeking the help of informal social agents, such as relatives and friends; seeking the help of formal social agents such as the welfare system and the police; and leaving the male partner. The study was conducted in Israel, where family violence is regarded primarily as a welfare problem. In other countries, such as the United States, violence against women is considered a health problem. But when, as in Israel, violence against women is considered a welfare problem, the responsibility to cope with it is assigned primarily to the welfare systems. On the other hand, when it is regarded as a health problem, it is logical to assign the responsibility to cope with it to the health systems.

The three different types of response this study focuses on and the readiness to perform them appear to be interrelated. For example, the involvement of informal social agents might encourage women to seek the involvement of formal social agents; the social involvement might encourage a separation or a divorce; or it might encourage the partners to stay in the relationship (BenAri, Winstok, and Eisikovits 2003; Peled, Eisikovits, Enosh, and Winstok 2000). …

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