Domestic violence is something that happens every day around the world. Young, old, rich or poor, this is an issue that we must look at to better ourselves as a country. One of the things that we look at is how domestic violence relates to the different social classes of the country, this being upper, middle, and lower. Some would thing that it would be more common in lower classes, but the reality of it is domestic violence is a problem across all social classes. In this paper I will discuss different articles about domestic violence and its relation to social class.
It is clear to see that any of the articles on this topic focus around women as victims and men get put into a category of the only ones committing violence. From different articles you can see that social class has a relation and an effect on domestic violence. To begin with we need to understand what domestic violence is. The National Domestic Violence Hotline describes domestic violence as pattern of behavior in any relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner.
Abuse is physical, sexual, emotional, economic or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that frighten, intimidate, terrorize, manipulate, hurt, humiliate, blame, injure or wound someone. Domestic violence can happen to anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion or gender. It can happen to couples who are married, living together or who are dating. Domestic violence affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels (The National Domestic Hotline). This is one of the best definitions you will find.
It’s important to realize that Domestic Violence can happen to anyone. The focus on economic background is important; there is not one ocial class that domestic violence does not occur in. It is key that we keep this in mind, otherwise we begin to label and fit certain social groups into categories. And as we will find out this is not the case at all. In Gender, Status, and Domestic Violence, by Kristin L. Anderson she discusses many issues related to domestic violence. In her article she talks about social economic status and how it can affect domestic violence.
The section on social class begins with how gender and social class play very big roles with each other, or how each social class helps determine the resources available to men for the construction f masculinity (Anderson, 1995). Anderson begins with the working and lower class and how their position they hold at work lacks power and authority. This can lead to violence in the home because they search for positions of power in other aspects of their life. And many times the search for power and masculinity starts in their home life. This could be one explanation for the cause of domestic violence among low income social class.
It is very clear that society even thought changing for the better over the years, still puts the man as the breadwinner of his family. And if a man annot produce for their family I agree with her that that will look for other places to find there masculinity and in some cases this is accomplished with violence against their partner. Next Anderson discusses middle and upper class together. She states with reference from another article that “Middle and upper class notions of masculinity focus on ambition, responsibility, and professional employment (Segal, society.
The research done in this article shows that men or women with low income jobs and less resources are more likely to be violent in their home as a means to gain the lack of power in their life. Men who have fewer resources then there female partners will be more likely to commit domestic assault than the men with resources equal or greater than their female partners (Anderson, 1995). We can see for the research done by Anderson that she focuses on the reporting of violence. I would have like to have seen some numbers on education and or employment in ration to domestic violence.
But it is clear and can be understood that men base their masculinity on their economic social status, and if that status is low they begin to search for other ways to gain power, and often that is in the means of domestic iolence against their partners. Social class plays a key role in everyday life of millions around the world. So it is clear that social class would play a role in domestic violence. Knowing that domestic violence knows no boundaries it is correct to say that wealth does not protect against violence.
In the article Economic stress and Domestic Violence by Claire M. Renzetti from the National Online Resource Center on Violence against Women, they bring social class and domestic violence into clear view. One discussion in the article which we have to take into account when looking at social class and domestic violence is ell put when she stats “the data we have about domestic violence comes from samples to which researchers have greatest access, such as individuals who use social services and these individuals are more likely to have low incomes” (Renzetti, 2009).
With this in mind it is clear to see why there are so many articles on low income violence. As she states from a study done by Benson and Fox (2003) from analyzing data from the National Survey of Household and Families, the family income increases the likelihood of domestic violence decrease. It is becoming clearer hat even though we know that domestic violence knows no social class, The National Crime Victimization Survey reports the chance of violence in a low income household is five times great then the households with the highest incomes (Renzetti, 2009).
As stated earlier it seems that the relation to domestic violence and employment takes a big part of the problem with violence among the social classes. In the article by Anderson early discuss she makes it clear that the feeling of power is directly related to the males economic standing. Renzetti state that sever studies have documented hey deliberate sabotage to their partners efforts to maintain paid employment (2009). We can tie that back to how males base their masculinity and power on their economic status. Women have reported that their attempts to obtain paid employment outside their homes only aggravated their partners.
It is becoming clear that men see power in being the main provider in the house and to lose some of that power is demining in some ways, and can result in violence against their partners. She references an article by Bush (2003) say that paid employment if a female intimate partner is threatening for some men, especially men who are unemployed r in low paying Jobs. Renzitti states that some researchers have argued that social class has a greater influence on domestic violence risk than race/ethnicity, and that even the social class of your neighborhood plays into account.
Disadvantaged neighborhoods domestic violence rates are significantly higher in neighborhoods By now it is clear that there is a relation between social class and domestic violence. In domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking by Walby & Allen (2004) they discuss how it could be the domestic violence that is causing the low economical status. This is a little broader thinking then our other authors but still Walby & Allen tie mans need for masculinity and power into the equation.
But first to look how they discuss domestic violence as the cause for low social status, the lack of economic resources is clearly associated with domestic violence against women. But it is how we see one leading to the other that they discuss. Walby & Allen purpose that maybe it is the other way around. For example that poverty and low social status are the consequences of domestic violence. Women who leave behind their homes and partners in order to escape violence will be much more ikely to be poorer as a consequence of the loss of their home and of their partner’s income (Walby &Allen, 2004).
This is a new concept to think about but can easily be seen as possible. From what we have learned low income family are more prone to domestic violence, it is clear to see if the victim does get out of this relationship they have no means of economic support. In return this Just keeps them in poverty and most likely sinks them deeper down the status pool of the world. As Walby & Allen (2004) report that “eventually making their way back into the abusive elationship because they have no economic support. It seems that the affect that social class and domestic violence have on each other is a never ending cycle. As we found in the research social class plays a big part in domestic violence and in some cases domestic violence plays a big part in social class. Whichever way that you look at it one constant held true across all of the articles, this being that men have been socially constructed by society to have to have the need for power in relationships. And when that power is lacking and they feel there masculinity is in eopardy we see domestic violence.
Now a lot of the focus of the articles was on the lower class, showing that the economic stress had a direct relation to man and the need for power. We need to understand that the lower social status groups are not the only ones with a domestic violence problem. Like I said earlier domestic violence can happen across any social class, rich or poor. Most of the research that is done focuses on women in poverty because that is where the easy samples are. We know that there is a problem there, we need to move on to research that examines women ofa higher social standing.
When we open up to who is we look at then we will begin to get a real grasp on the social class and domestic violence issue. Now I know that that depends on if they are willing to report, but that is a whole different topic for a different day. We have to be careful not to stereotype individuals into this field Just because of the economic standing, but it is clear that social class and domestic violence show a clear and direct relation with each other.