Feminist Theory Domestic Violence

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Domestic Violence Looked at Through Feminist Theory
Joy McKinnon

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Domestic violence is an issue in almost every corner in the world. It is a public health and human rights issue. The accepted levels of violence have changed with history and varies between societies. Here in the United States, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, on average nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused. 1 in 3 women have been victims of physical violence from an intimate partner. The presence of a gun increases the risk of homicide by 500%. On average 3 women are killed each day by an intimate partner, Intimate partner violence is 15% of all violent crime. An analysis done by Every Town for Gun Safety found that 54% of mass shootings were related to domestic or family violence. This paper will be looking at the problem of domestic violence in the United States through the sociological conflict feminist theory.
In his 2003 paper Jeffery Adler states, "social scientists generally link domestic violence to strains and tensions in gender relations, especially men's efforts to preserve masculine authority. According to many criminologists, sociologists, psychologists, and anthropologists, wife beating represents a "strategy of patriarchal power, typically employed either to discourage women from challenging men's authority or reign in those who stray from established or expected gender roles." (Adler, 2003) In 1995, Michael P Johnson introduced two distinct forms of domestic violence. One is where families suffer from occasional outbursts of violence from either husband or wives (common couple violence) While others are terrorized by systematic male violence (patriarchal terrorism). The distinction between the two is important because it has implications on how policy is implemented, the development of intervention strategies, and educational programs. (Johnson 1995) Domestic violence used to be considered a private family matter and was not considered a societal problem until feminists in the 70's started pushing the matter. Beginning in the 1970’s, social policy toward female victims of domestic assaults focused on improving legal response and
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