Intimate Partner Violence: A Psychological Diagnosis of Social Pathology

By Stein, Abby | The Journal of Psychohistory, Winter 2013 | Go to article overview

Intimate Partner Violence: A Psychological Diagnosis of Social Pathology


Stein, Abby, The Journal of Psychohistory


Every year, 2.2 million people in the United States are physically assaulted by an intimate partner. Although men may also suffer physical abuse in either same sex or heterosexual relationships, women account for 85% of the victims of intimate partner violence1. Indeed, about 1 in 4 American women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.2 3 Incredibly, domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to U.S. women between the ages of 15 and 44; more common than automobile accidents, muggings, and cancer deaths combined. And yet, compared to women in the rest of the world, my American sisters and I have it good. Many immigrant women that I have interviewed speak with unmistakable envy - and some irritation-toward their Western sisters who have the "luxury" of calling 911 for assistance when a partner performs an act that is criminal in the U.S. but considered a male privilege in their country of origin. Even when relocated to the United States, immigrant women import their countries' perils with them, as many fear that a call for assistance with a domestic assault will result in deportation for them or their partner. Wherever they are from, women suffer a disproportionate share of private and public violence. Charlotte Bunch, a leading advocate for women's rights, reminds us of the gross inequities that plague women from Dumbo, Brooklyn to Darfur, Africa.

Imagine a people routinely subjected to assault, rape, sexual slavery, arbitrary imprisonment, torture, verbal abuse, mutilation, even murder - all because they were born into a particular group... Such a group exists. Its members comprise half of humanity. Yet it is rarely acknowledged that violence against women and girls, many of whom are brutalized from cradle to grave simply because of their gender, is the most pervasive human rights violation in the world today (p.l).4

-Domestic violence does not occur in a vacuum. Whether in the United Arab Emirates-where beating one's wife has been declared by the high court to be within a husband's rights to discipline his spouse-or in Sweden, where charges may be brought against a man who seriously and repeatedly violates a women's "integrity" with or without physical assault-all partner abuse should be understood not only in terms of the interpersonal dynamics of couples caught in its destructive grip but in the context of the institutionalized norms that promote and maintain gender inequality. Attorney Bonita Meyersfield has observed the immutable connection, writing that "systemic intimate violence against women is not a case-by case peculiarity, but often a manifestation of social views, perceptions, priorities, and customs" that maintain status quo arrangements between men and women.5 As Sweden has demonstrated with its broadened definition of offenses against women in intimate relationships6, the amelioration of gendered violence may be at least partially contingent on changes to traditionally patriarchical arrangements in law and culture. Sweden, considered progressive on issues of gender equality, has substantially lower rates of domestic violence than even its most liberal Western counterparts.7

Sociologist William Graham Sumner's famous dictum that stateways cannot change folkways, has not proved out. Particularly regarding gender and sexuality, changes in both law and in psychiatric nomenclature seem to have paved the way for greater acceptance of previously deviantized behaviors from masturbation to homosexuality to women's desire to vote, even as shifting cultural norms may have emboldened legislatures, magistrates, and medical societies to oversee revisions previously considered unthinkable. Both formal law and institutionalized regulatory systems (such as psychiatric diagnoses) reflect underlying political beliefs and promote specific agendas. Methods of social control are inevitably hierarchical, with groups in power reflexively constructing things in a way that upholds their authority and keeps unempowered groups marginalized. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Intimate Partner Violence: A Psychological Diagnosis of Social Pathology
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.