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Inthe USA, each minute, approximately twenty people experience physicalabuse that is imposed by an intimate partner (CNN 1). Onein three women and one in four men have been victims of certain formsof physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime.Intimate partner violence entails victimization by either the formeror current spouses or dating partners. The different forms ofviolence include economic, emotional, sexual, and physical abuse.According to the United Nations, 35% of women experience eithersexual or physical intimate partner violence globally. The GlobalStudy on Homicide revealed that of the women that were victims ofhomicide in 2012, approximately 50% succumbed to the abuse caused bymembers of their families(CNN 1).
IntimatePartner Violence in the USA
Onaverage, nearly twenty people per minute are victims of physicalabuse by an intimate partner in the United States. On an average dayin the USA, husbands or boyfriends kill at least three of theirwomen. The National Domestic Violence Hotline receives nearly 23,500calls reporting intimate partner violence. On a yearly basis, closeto 10 million men and females encounter intimate partner violence indifferent states. Approximately half of the perpetrators of intimatepartner violence used guns to murder their partners in 2014. The USAhas witnessed a 72% decline in cases involving intimate partnerviolence between 1004 and 2011. The country recorded an improvementin the reduction since the marked decrease in 2010 was 64%. Between1994 and 2010, 4 out of 5 victims of intimate partner violence in theUSA were women (Catalano 3). The age group that exhibited the highestlevels of vulnerability to intimate partner violence were femalesaged between 18 and 34 years. The majority of the victims of intimatepartner violence were women that lived in households characterized byone female adult with children. The risk of encountering intimatepartner relationships among such women was ten times higher than therisk presented by females living in other households (Catalano 1).
Partnerstalking has turned out to be one of the most recorded forms ofviolence against both men and women. Approximately 15.2% of women inthe USA experienced stalking at one point in their lifetime. Thistranslates to 18.3 million women. Stalking has had the impact ofinstilling fear into the victims thus compelling them to think thateither they or individuals close to them would fall victims ofintimate partner violence. In 2013, approximately 5.1 million females(4.2%) were victims of stalking. Nearly 6.5 million males (5.7%) werevictims of stalking victimization at one point in their lifetime.Also, in 2013, 2.4 million men (2.1%) were victims of stalkingvictimization. The prevalence of trailing and harassment among thedifferent ethnic and racial groups has also revealed differentresults. Nearly 24.5% of Alaska Native/American Indian femalesexperienced stalking victimization in their lifetime (Breiding 3).
Theprevalence of stalking victimization in the other ethnic groups is asfollows: multiracial women (22.4%), non-Hispanic white females(15.9%), non-Hispanic black females (13.9%), and Hispanic females(14.2%). Most cases of stalking victimization revealed variationsbetween the sex of the perpetrator and the victim. Male offenderswere responsible for approximately 88.3% of female stalkingvictimization acts. Female perpetrators accounted for only 7.1 ofstalking victimization cases experienced by women. On the other hand,male and female perpetrators accounted for 48.0% and 44.6% of thecases respectively. The stalking victims indicated that theirperpetrators were either people that were well known to them or hadintimate relationships. Nearly 60.8% of females reported that theiroffenders were either former or current intimate partners (Breiding3).
IntimatePartner Violence Risk Factors
Thereis an equal likelihood of both men and women to perpetrate intimatepartner violence (IPV) (Capaldi 4). However, certain studies indicatethat women are more likely to perpetrate IPV than men are. Thegreatest form of IPV perpetrated by women is physical aggression.However, both males and females that commit physical abuse areinvolved in clinically abusive relationships. The fact that women insuch relationships need more medical attention than their malecounterparts implies that the extent of committing IPV among femalesis greater than that of males in such relationships.
Incometurns out to be an influential predictor of IPV in intimate partnerrelationships (Capaldi 4). Education is the other determinant of IPVbecause of its substantial influence on antisocial behavior. However,low verbal IQ among men turned out to be a great predictor of IPV.Even though non-employed individuals do not present a high risk ofIPV, employed people receiving welfare benefits reveal increasedcases of family violence. Nevertheless, there is a positive linearassociation between low income and IPV.
Itis evident that members of a minority group are at a higher risk ofexperiencing IPV as compared to their counterparts from majoritygroups (Capaldi 5). In the USA, the high prevalence of IPV amongAfrican American and Hispanic couples validates the thesis. The caseis different with their counterparts, the White American couples thatrecord few cases of IPV.
Communityand financial stress suffice to be one of the greatest predictors ofIPV (Capaldi 5). As a result, the financial stress exhibited by bothmen and women predicted greater IPV penetration into theirhouseholds.
Areview of acculturation on the aspects of the use of language, valuesof the ethnic group and race interrelate. This indicates that thethree elements predict the penetration of IPV into households(Capaldi 5).
TheVarious Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence
Recent studies disclose that intimate partner violence can affect anindividual for a long time even after the violence has ended (WHO 5).The more extreme the abuse, the higher the impact on the affectedperson. The implications of the violence are varied. One of theoutstanding consequence is that a person may experience injury whichmay affect his/ her overall physical health. The physical harms thatarise from the abuse may comprise of head injuries, welts, fractures,thoracic or abnormal injuries, abrasions and lacerations. Apart fromthe injuries the obvious implications of IPV involve healthconditions that do not have a particular medical origin or ailmentsthat are difficult to detect. The illnesses are sometimes defined asstress related conditions or functional disorders. They includeexacerbation of asthma, fibromyalgia, gastrointestinal symptoms.
Anotherconsequence of intimate partner violence is that the affected personmay develop mental health challenges which may further lead tosuicide. Studies disclose that women exposed to abuse by theirhusbands are more likely to suffer from anxiety, phobia, anddepression as opposed to their male counterparts. Many women afterexperiencing emotional distress may end up committing suicide, orthey tend to develop suicidal behavior, which further affectsfamilies (WHO 5). A study conducted by Warshaw, Brashler, and Gil(147) on the mental health implication of intimate partner violence,disclosed that IPV has been associated with several types of mentalhealth effects more specifically the post-traumatic stress disorderand depression. The study also correlates with the findings by theWHO that women are mostly affected.
Thestudy by Warshaw, Brashler, and Gil (147) also discloses the factthat another implication of IPV is that the stigma that is linked tomental ailment reinforces the ability of the abuser to manipulate themental health effects which give them the leeway to control theirpartners. In addition, they undermine their victims during custodybattles and further disrespect them with family, friends and incourts.
IPVmay also affect the victim’s reproductive and sexual health whichmay further result in negative implications on the reproductive andsexual health. Some of the impacts include unsafe abortion, unwantedpregnancy and the transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitteddiseases. This conditions mainly arise after forced sexual contactwhere the partners physically abuse the victim and later forces themto be intimate. The violence may also affect pregnancy. Researchindicates that many women lose their pregnancies due to IPV. Theabuse also accounts for a significant proportion of maternal deaths,despite the lack of recognition of this fact by many policy makers(WHO, 6).
TheUnique Issue of Battered Spouse Syndrome
Thisissue of battered spouse syndrome is unique. Foremost, controversyarises due to the lack of a clear description of what the syndromeconstitutes. The symptoms presented by the BSS are often related toother disorders, therefore, making it difficult to link the syndrometo intimate partner crime or violence. For instance, an individualwith battered spouse syndrome may manifest maladies such aspost-traumatic stress disorder. The victim exhibits signs such asdifficulty in forming relationships, isolation, inactivity andemotional distress. Due to the manifestation of such indicators, BSScan be difficult to diagnose (Orenstein, 1). It may, therefore, beproblematic to link the symptoms to the criminal offense of intimatepartner violence.
Thebattered spouse syndrome is also unique because it correlates to boththe female and the male spouse. In most cases, due to the societalbelief that women are more exposed to IPV, the syndrome was referredto as the Battered Women Syndrome to denote a group of symptoms thatare typically manifested by women who continually suffer physicalabuse from their husbands (Scheb 446). Liability may, therefore, bedifficult when a case involves a man who has experienced IPV. It is,however, imperative for law enforcement officials to acknowledge thatthe male gender also suffers the same fate. Consequently, batteredspouse syndrome is a unique condition that affects both men andwomen.
TheNature and Adequacy of Criminal Justice Response to Intimate PartnerViolence.
Itcan be stated that currently, the response of the criminal justicesystem towards intimate partner violence is commendable. Foremost,the police have been in the frontline in ascertaining that theabusers are arrested and arraigned in court. Abused people mostly thewomen have a tendency to make calls to 911 to report incidences ofviolence from their partners. The response by the police is fast.This has resulted in the saving of many lives.
Carison (186) discloses that the courts have been proactive indealing with the issue of IPV. However, in the recent years, it hasbeen challenging for courts to deliver verdicts due to scenarioswhere the defendant claims that he or she acted in self-defense andhad to kill or maim his attacker. Also, there is an increased debateconcerning the battered spouse syndrome which is often discrediteddue to the lack of legal proof.
Theabove presentation has examined the issue of intimate partner crimes.The paper takes note of the fact that these offenses are on adeclining trend. The paper also highlights risk factors such asimpacts on the socioeconomic status, stress, gender, race, andacculturation. Also, a key finding is that partnerstalking has turned out to be one of the most recorded forms ofviolence against both men and women.The paper also discloses that an increased number of incidences ofIPV occur among the black community and the Hispanics. Inconclusion, it was noted that the response of the criminal justicesystem towards intimate partner crimes is commendable, essentiallyregarding police response. However, it is essential to preciselydefine what aspects constitute the crime, so as to deliver efficientand just verdicts.
Breiding,Matthew J. "Prevalence and characteristics of sexual violence,stalking, and intimate partner violence victimization-nationalintimate partner and sexual violence survey, United States, 2011."Americanjournal of public health105(4). 2015. Print.
Capaldi,Deborah M., et al. "A systematic review of risk factors forintimate partner violence." Partnerabuse3.2 (2012): 231-280. 2012. Print.
Catalano,Shannan M. Intimatepartner violence, 1993-2010.Washington, DC: US Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs,Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2012.
CNN.Domestic (Intimate Partner) Violence Fast Facts. CNNLibrary.2016.<http://edition.cnn.com/2013/12/06/us/domestic-intimate-partner-violence-fast-facts/.
Carlson,Bruce. Criminal Justice Procedure.Routledge. 2010. Print.
Orenstein,Beth. UnderstandingBattered Woman Syndrome.Everyday Health. 2016. Print.
Scheb,John.Criminal Law. CengageLearning. 2014. Print.
WHO.(2012). Intimatepartner violence.World Health Organization.
Warshaw,Carole, Brashler, Phyllis and Gil, Jessica. MentalHealth Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence.National Center for Trauma. p 147-18. 2015. Print.