The The final definition we settled on


The topic of our group presentation was “Interpersonal Violence and its
Proposed Remedies”. Specifically, our presentation focused on Family Violence
and the victims of this abuse that occurs. My main focus was on the sociological
aspects of interpersonal violence, and the family violence cycle.

Throughout our presentation we strived to create cohesive operational
definitions that were unbiased and concise Within the research we found that there
were not any universal definitions for extremely important labels such as;
interpersonal violence, abuse, neglect etc. We attempted to relay the importance
of the consistency in labels to combat this and it also works in tandem with proposed
remedies because the unanimity among definitions would allow some of the mystique
and questions of “What is abuse?” to be more easily answered and thus addressed.

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The main definition we focused on was ‘Interpersonal Violence’, which there
were several definitions of. The final definition we settled on was Krug et. Al’s
in the World Report on Violence
and Health “The intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or
actual, against oneself, another person, that either results in or has a high
likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment or
deprivation” (Krug,
3). We chose this definition because of its simplicity. Also, because of the
addition of ‘threatened or actual’ this is important in-regard to the many
different types of abuse a victim, especially a child, may face.

Along with having very concise operational definitions, we found it
imperative to highlight that there is more than one type of abuse. Looking at
emotional, physical, sexual and psychological abuse that occurs in domestic and
family violence situations, we began to understand the difficulty of defining
them because each case of abuse can be strikingly different. I chose to use info-graphs
throughout the presentation, because of their inherent ability to convey a lot of
statistical information in a clear and concise manner. An issue with the information
available about family violence is that these stats are based off of police
reports. However, according to the 2009 General Social Survey (GSS) on
Victimization, less than one-third (30%) of female victims indicated that the
incident of spousal victimization was reported to police. male victims, who
continued to be less likely than their female counterparts to state that the
incident of spousal violence came to the attention of police, 13% in 2009 and
17% in 2004 (Burczycka,4-8). Intimate partner violence, including both spousal
and dating violence, accounts for one in every four violent crimes reported to
police. In 2011, there were approximately 97,500 victims of intimate partner
violence, representing a rate of 341 victims per 100,000 population. The vast
majority of these victims (80%) were women, a finding consistent over time Intimate partner violence accounts for
one-quarter of all police-reported violent crimes (Canada Go. 3-8)

Intimate partner violence was first widely recognized as a
social problem in the 1970’s after a long history of being treated as a private
matter that did not warrant research or attention outside the family (Dobash
& Dobash, 1979; Gelles, 1985). Our focus was then put on to the abusers and the
abused, including those who are forgotten about within the research. We found
it extremely difficult to find any studies or even statistics which breached outside
of the “typical” violence realm of the nuclear family. Family violence research
is heavily skewed towards hetero-normativity in lower socio-economic circumstances,
yet the reality is that family violence is everywhere and is not discriminate to
any race, gender, class or religion. The effects on the child victims are
particularly merciless, and it would seem to be common sense that violence should
never be used especially in a family setting however there are sociological theories
that explain why interpersonal and family violence may occur.

Sociologists have applied some of the main theories in sociology to
explain violence as a social function instead of attributing it to individual
pathology. According to Levin and Rabrenovic (2007), sociologist
seek to understand interpersonal
violence through a few overarching
theories. Each of which seeks to explain violence as a function of social
structures and systems. Essentially, it is a social not individual cause for interpersonal violence and utilizing
general strain theory, the intergenerational transmission of violence thesis,
feminist and family perspectives on violence and gender symmetry.

General strain theory posits that the
provision of social support and the possession of personal and financial
resources can facilitate non-criminal coping (Agnew 2001) Essentially the theory
when applied to interpersonal violence is stating that when the pressures of
society causes strain on an individual the lack of resources or knowledge to
help the individual cope is then resort to violence. This aspect of Agnew’s GST
is important because it suggests that economic and social resources rather than
individual characteristics or individual strains may account for higher
reported rates of crime among racial minorities. The structural characteristics
of society that result in a disparate distribution of opportunities (e.g.

unemployment, poverty, community and neighborhood characteristics, law
enforcement and criminal justice practices).

Intergenerational transmission of violence
thesis premise states that observing parental violence or experiencing
parent-to-child violence during childhood increases the likelihood of violence
in adult intimate relationships (Stith & Farley 1993). Variables that substantiate the cycle
of violence generally include family of origin variables (history of abuse as a
child, and/or exposure to intimate parental violence), as well as social
structural and demographic variables (age, race, employment status, occupation)
which are thought to be predictive of domestic violence (Fagan et al. 1983).

Sociologists generally fall under two view points
as to why interpersonal violence occurs. The feminist perspective and the
family violence perspective. The feminist perspective view point treats the
problem of interpersonal violence as wholly related to gender and the
patriarchal domination of men over women. They argue that intimate partner
violence is disproportionately skewed in that men are far more likely to use
violence in relationships than women and that, when a woman uses violence it is
assumed to be for self-defense purposes. The family violence perspective regards
partner violence as just one aspect of the larger issue of family violence.

When partner violence occurs, it is just one expression of conflict within the
larger family structure, intimate partner violence is not seen as qualitatively
different from child abuse, elder abuse, or violence between siblings. This
view is in contrast to psychological explanations of violence, the family
violence perspective asserts that most family violence is not the result of
individual pathology but is a ”normal part of family life in most societies
and in America”1. (Straus, 67-74)


Gender Symmetry is the extent to which women are equal perpetrators of
violence in intimate relationships. In surveys of large, national,
representative samples of intimate heterosexual partners, the rate of
wife-to-husband assault is consistently shown to be about the same as the rate
of husband-to-wife assault. Straus (1993) states,
”It is remarkable that every study that has investigated who initiates
violence using methods that do not preclude the possibility of a wife-beating,
found that wives initiate violence in a large proportion of cases” (75). Dutton
(2006) sums up the gender symmetry position, stating, ”Women use violence in
intimate relationships to the same extent as men, for the same reasons, and
with largely the same results” (p. ix)

Keeping with the trend of multiple unclear operational
definitions there are various theories that allude to the origin and perpetuation
of interpersonal violence. Some of the theories are clearly gender biased with
a heavy focus on families who fall in the lower socio-economic/ demographic
variables. This allows for a massive void in treating and preventing the issue,
the forgotten men, women, children, aboriginals all have one thing in common-
they are all people. Unfortunately, the lack of social provisions and government
funding does not satisfy the overwhelming need for solutions.

My group members were supposed to be Taylor, Azra and Kayla.

However, Taylor never made contact with our group and Azra’s participation was
minimal. Her portion of the project was History, proposed
remedies and reporting procedure. Azra’s last minute retreat was detrimental to
our presentation as her portions were intended to tie in everything. Kayla and
I were very on-top of our group meetings and we worked extremely well as a team.

Kayla was extremely prepared and a pleasure to work with despite our group



1 Gelles, R. J.,
& Straus, M. A. (1988). Intimate violence: The causes and
consequences of abuse in the American family. New York, NY: Simon &