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Intimate Violence: End of Chapter Questions

3 pages
714 words
University of Richmond
Type of paper: 
Research paper
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Why have the hidden forms of intimate violence been overlooked? How does blaming the victim contribute to keeping certain forms of intimate violence hidden? How do cultural norms and values concerning children, parents, or the elderly contribute to keeping certain forms of intimate violence hidden?

Intimate violence, especially in sibling rivalries, is overlooked because rivalry among siblings is considered a normal aspect of life. Most parents ignore violence among siblings as a way to tackle violence later on in life. Moreover, there is very little research on intimate violence, and the lack of awareness creates room for hidden forms of violence. In light of this, cultural norms play a role in promoting hidden intimate violence. Most parents believe that sibling violence is part of the growth process and only intervene in extreme situations. The society views it as an inevitable process (Gelles, 1997, p.97). In the case of elderly violence, the elderly people fear the loss of care and the possibility of living in elderly homes. They also feel like they are to blame for the aggressive behavior of their children. Lastly, the cultural norms that violence puts an end to the conflict in the family primarily when perpetrated by the dominant member of the family also promote the practice of intimate violence that is overlooked (Gelles, 1997).

Why has elder abuse received more attention than other forms of hidden violence?

Elderly abuse has received more recognition in the US due to the changing demographics. During the 1970s and 1980s, the fertility level in the US dropped, and there was a rise in the number of seniors because people lived longer (Gelles, 1997, p.114). The shift in demographics led to increased research on the older adults. In addition, caring for an elderly person has become a normal phenomenon in the family set up which has increased research and awareness on how best to cater for the rising elderly population. The rise in the elderly population has also promoted research on the problems they face leading to the recognition and attention of elderly abuse (Gelles, 1997).

What are some of the factors related to hidden forms of violence? How do the factors related to hidden violence compare to factors related to the abuse of young children or violence between spouses?

Many reasons relate to hidden forms of violence. Firstly, sex shows that both boys and girls engage in sibling violence. However, the society believes that boys are more aggressive than girls. According to Gelles (1997) 83% and 74%, of boys and girls engaged in sibling violence respectively (p.102). Age is another factor related to hidden violence is age. As children and grow older, sibling violence decreases because they can use dialogue to solve disputes. Other factors include jealousy (Gelles, 1997). The violence between spouses is different from sibling and adolescent violence. The lack of communication, understanding, and substance abuse may lead to spouse violence. However, these factors are different from those of age, sex, and jealousy that relate to young children abuse.

How does the private nature of the family contribute to both love and violence in the family?

The family is considered a private institution where both love and violence are cultivated. Parents use violence against their children to correct their behavior, but the violence does not really imply that parents hate their children. Stress, substance abuse, psychiatric problems, and alcohol are some of the factors that also lead to violence within the family institution because affected family members make uninformed decisions. The society and law enforcement have very little they can do to curb domestic violence. Neighbors and the police are often reluctant to report and investigate family violence respective because it is seen as a family affair (Gelles, 1997).

What are some of the rewards of being violence in a family?

Some rewards are associated with intimate violence within a family. Parents derive satisfaction when their abused children cannot fight back. For instance, when a mother spanks a child for bad behavior, the mother is rewarded with good behavior from the child. Similarly, the husband can use violence against the spouse to attain sexual, care, and social support from the wife. Thus, males use their aggression to control female sexuality for their male reproductive system advantage (Gelles, 1997, p.127).



Gelles, R. (1997). Intimate violence and abuse in families. Sage Publications.


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