Editor’s Note: The following is the winning essay of the Domestic Violence Essay Contest sponsored by Not on My Campus. It appears exactly as it was sent to The Houstonian. It was written by Odalis Alvarado and is titled “Socioeconomic Status & Domestic Violence.”
Domestic violence is a crime that occurs behind closed doors. The silent pain felt from this violent exposure often leads victims to remain unseen and unheard. In addition, the partners are not the only ones being traumatized by these series of events. Children in the relationship can often develop psychological problems from the exposure to this crime. It should be noted that domestic violence does not only affect women, but also men. Both sexes can be victims of this crime but there are factors that increase the risk of victimization. One of the major influences of this is socioeconomic status. The socioeconomic status plays an important role in domestic violence households. Socioeconomic status does not solely mean income,it can include education level, money security, status, and social class. Due to the numerous factors involving socioeconomic status, victims often take action when they realize the crime has occurred or when it’s too late.
Domestic violence can include “physical or sexual contact, aggression or violence that is unwanted and may take the form of threats, harassment, verbal abuse, hitting, kicking, etc”(Lubker, 2004). Since there are many forms of domestic violence, many victims find it hard to believe that any abuse is taking place. If they are unaware of what type of abuse is affecting them, no action will be taken. Once the victim is able to realize that they are in a violent relationship, they will struggle with how to leave that toxic lifestyle. Past research has shown that regardless of economic status, this is a crime that can occur to anyone. However, there has been a link that shows that lower economic status is a constant similarity among these cases (Cunradi, et al, 2002). The reason for this comparison is because people who have problems with money tend to be more irritated and frustrated because of their economic troubles. This occurs in both men and women who often let their frustration out on their partner. These two individuals are not the only ones being affected by this violence, but the children in the family are, too. A study showed that adolescents being exposed to domestic violence tend to associate with “reduced income and net worth”households (Covey, et al, 2013). This is a worrisome finding due to the fact that this child will endure long-term consequences from this exposure. Since these young individuals are witnessing this form of violence, they are going to develop psychological problems as they mature.
The gap concerning income continues to increase between the rich and the poor. This risk factor will determine who is more likely to be victimized based on their current status. If a victim lives in a household where they solely rely on the abuser for financial support,that can be another indicator of why they cannot simply just leave. When a victim is being abused, they are stuck in a mindset that they have to tolerate the how they are being treated by their partner. When a victim has no source of income to survive and relies on the partner for that support, they are going to tolerate the abuse they receive. Women will still be in their relationship“because they’re limited economic and social resources” (Anderson, 1997).Another major factor involves children when a family might be separated because of the abuse. Both partners are going to be hesitant to perform any action that their families are going to be affected by. Partners who commit the crime of violence will do it for a variety of reasons, some of them for the ability to control their loved one. Their partners “may engage in domestic violence as a means to gain power within the relationship” (Anderson, 1997). This is a dangerous method of trying to control a partner because it can easily turn deadly. When a person wants to gain control over someone, they will go to the extremes to keep their loved one in check.
Domestic Violence is a disease that can turn deadly when not resolved the moment it appears. Victims from this form of abuse need guidance to recognize the factors that mean they are being victimized by their partners. Socioeconomic status does play a role in domestic violence because the lack of money can increase the risk of being victimized.If a victim is living with her husband and she relies on him for money, she is not going to leave when he abuses her. That victim feels that they need to tolerate that violence since they have nowhere else to go. When there are children in the relationship, it makes it more difficult for the victim to leave. They will want to stay there for their families. New policies need to be implemented that will make it easier for victims to leave their abusers. Better protective regulations should be put in place for when the victim leaves, that way they can be safe. Leaving an abusive relationship can turn deadly if not done on time. As a matter of fact, each day that passes by while living in that environment can cause more damage than death alone.
Anderson, K. L. (1997). Gender, status, and domestic violence: An integration of feminist and family violence approaches. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 655-669.
Covey, H. C., Menard, S., & Franzese, R. J. (2013). Effects of Adolescent Physical Abuse, Exposure to Neighborhood Violence, and Witnessing Parental Violence on Adult Socioeconomic Status. Child Maltreatment, 18(2), 85–97. https://doi-org.ezproxy.shsu.edu/10.1177/1077559513477914
Cunradi, C. B., Caetano, R., & Schafer, J. (2002). Socioeconomic Predictors of Intimate Partner Violence Among White, Black, and Hispanic Couples in the United States. Journal of Family Violence, 17(4), 377–389. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.shsu.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=cja&AN=18331460&site=ehost-live&scope=site
Lubker, D. K. (2004). Socioeconomic Status and Domestic Violence. International Journal of Global Health and Health Disparities, 3(1), 85-91.