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Domestic Violence

About Domestic Violence

Haitian women meet to discuss security measures and how to protect themselves in the face of growing violence against women in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.Domestic violence, also called domestic abuse or intimate partner violence, refers to abusive actions between people who are in a past or present close relationship. The Office of Violence Against Women, part of the U.S. Department of Justice, defines domestic abuse as “a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that can be used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner.” The abuse can take physical, emotional, sexual, or psychological forms. Domestic violence can be found in married, unmarried, and dating heterosexual and homosexual couples. Some people define domestic abuse to include abuse against one’s children (child abuse) or against one’s parents (elder abuse), but these are generally seen as different, if closely related, social problems. (Opposing Viewpoints)

Narrow the Topic

  • Is domestic violence a sign that America’s family values are in decline?
  • Do female batterers differ from male batterers?
  • How do drug abuse and alcoholism affect family violence?
  • Are there signs that violence will escalate to murder?
  • How have the O.J. Simpson, Chris Brown, or Ray Rice cases affected domestic violence awareness?
  • Is the "conditioned helplessness" of abused women a factor?
  • Is violence genetic or environmental?
  • Does poverty affect spousal abuse?
  • Why do some men still regard their wives as property?
  • What affect does domestic violence have on the divorce rate?
  • Is counseling effective for couples in violent relationships?
  • Can abusers be rehabilitated?
  • Has the economic downturn increased the number of battered spouses?
  • Why do some women stay in an abusive relationship?
  • Discuss particular issues in same-sex intimate partner violence.
  • What are the signs of a battered person/partner?
  • Why do women under-report being abused?
  • Why are men less likely than women to report being abused?
  • Is there adequate support for victims of same-sex partner violence?
  • How do gender roles, stereotypes, and hetero-sexism shape domestic violence?
  • What are the behavioral patterns of spousal abuse?
  • What is the psychological make-up of an abuser?
  • How does spousal abuse affect the family unit?
  • Does spousal abuse impact the larger community, if so how?
  • Is spousal abuse a crime?
  • What are the statistics for spousal abuse in the U.S.?
  • What types of treatment are available for abusive husbands and wives?
  • How effective are these treatments in preventing future abuse?
  • Do children who witness spousal abuse become abusers or abused as adults?
  • What resources are available for abused spouses to get help?