Domestic Violence

The book “Domestic Violence: a Cross-Cultural View” by Elaine Leeder explores the forms of domestic violence that occur in many different cultures. For example, wife beating is a form of domestic violence that is very common in India. She reveals this horrible truth as more of a cultural norm in Indian society, stating that only 22% of women surveyed  admitted to having had been beaten. This seems like a generally low number, however as Leeder mentions, we must take into account the fact that in India it is unacceptable to admit to being abused and only those women who are seriously suffering from the effects of such abuse would admit to it. Shockingly, the majority of women getting abused wouldn’t even think to mention it as a problem because the practice is so commonplace. Many believe that such violence is prevalent in Indian households because of family norms practiced by this culture. Such violence is socially acceptable under certain circumstances such as a woman’s infidelity, dowry problems, neglect of the household duties, or disobedience to her husband. Wife beating has become so tightly knit into Indian society that it is not seen as a problem unless it is very extreme, in which case an intervention occurs by the village monk.  The same goes for child abuse, as the Indian family values strict discipline and obedience of children.

Industrialization and modernization have influenced such domestic violences, and has lead to a rise in child abuse in India. This is because these processes lead to rising economic expectations which the family must endure. These pressures are released in the household and put on the children who will be beaten and abused in hopes that this corporal punishment will lead them to be socially skilled and responsible adults.

This leads to the discussion of visible and invisible forms of violence. Visible forms of violence are directly seen in behaviors and actions taken by the violator. While invisible forms of violence are those that are not necessarily violent actions or behaviors, but things such as a violent culture or a structure that is violent by being too repressive or exploitative. These forms of violence feed off of themselves in a cyclical nature in the sense that cultural and structural invisible violence can be the cause of direct visible violence.  For example, as we see in India, the invisible violence of the culture is directly causing visible violence in forms of domestic abuse.

By Serene

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