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INTRODUCTION TO THEORETIAL CAUSAL MODEL FOR SPOUSE ABUSE Dr. Mary C. Sengstock, Ph.D., C.C.S. Professor of Sociology Wayne State University 1.

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Presentation on theme: "INTRODUCTION TO THEORETIAL CAUSAL MODEL FOR SPOUSE ABUSE Dr. Mary C. Sengstock, Ph.D., C.C.S. Professor of Sociology Wayne State University 1."— Presentation transcript:

1 INTRODUCTION TO THEORETIAL CAUSAL MODEL FOR SPOUSE ABUSE Dr. Mary C. Sengstock, Ph.D., C.C.S. Professor of Sociology Wayne State University 1


3 Spouse Abuse Theories (ctd) Recall Our Model, the Factors in It, & the Relationships: I.Cultural Factors: Nature of Culture – Affects Offender, Victim, Actions, Societal Response II.Male’s Characteristics  Abusive Behavior III.Female’s Characteristics  Acceptance IV.Nature of the Interaction Between 2 People V.Response of Society: How Families, Community, Social Agencies React to Abuse All Factors Interact With & Affect Each Other 3

4 Summary: I. Cultural Theories Religious Basis of Our Society Enables Even Encourages Abuse of Women Continues into Modern Day Influencing Secular Laws & Society Represents What Emile Durkheim Called ANOMIE 4

5 Meaning of Anomie “Normlessness” Lack/Absence/Weakness of Norms No Clear Statement That Behavior Is Wrong Western Society (& Most Societies) Have No Clear Rules That Wife Beating Is Wrong Instead, They Condone – Even Sanction or Encourage It 5

6 Institutionalized Norms Talcott Parsons: With Anomie, Rules Are NOT “Institutionalized” Institutionalized Norms: Embodied in Societal Behavioral Reward Structure – EX: Good Act: Society Requires: Individual Reward Bad Act: Society Prohibits: Individual Punished Abusers Should Be Punished 6

7 Non-Institutionalized Norms Good Act: Society Requires: BUT Individual Punished (Husband Does Not Get Power) Bad Act: Society Prohibits: BUT Individual Rewarded (Husband Achieves Power) Abusers Are NOT Punished – Rewarded By Getting Everything They Want 7

8 Other Cultural Theories Subculture of Violence Theory American Society (Or Parts of It) Encourage & Support Violence (in General) This “Spills Over” into the Family Hypothesis: Spouse Abuse More Common in Societies/Subgroups With a Lot of General Violence 8

9 Other Cultural Theories (ctd) Conflict Theory (Karl Marx) Conflict Is Inherent in Social Relations Power Differentials Create Dissatisfaction Powerless Try to Obtain Power  Powerful Try to Protect Power  Conflict Alternative: “Consensus Theory” (Parsons): Everyone Agrees About Power Structure EX: Wife, Children Accept Husband’s Control 9

10 II. Spouse Abuse Theories: Offender-Focused Theories Derived from Theories of Criminology & Deviance 1.Classical Theory 2.Positivist Theory – Psychological Theories Frustration-Aggression Theory Compulsive Masculinity Theory 3.Sociological Theories Differential Association – Self Concept Theory – Drift Theory – Function Theory – Conflict Theory 10

11 Classical Theory Originated in late 1700s Still Believed/Quoted By Many People – Esp. in Criminal Justice Fields Major Components: People Are Basically Rational Violence/Deviance Is a Rational Choice Designed to Accomplish Goals – EX: Gain Money, Maintain Power, etc. 11

12 Classical Theory’s Recommended Response to Deviance Offenders Are Acting Rationally Violence/Deviance Is a Means to Their Ends These Must be Countered By Punishments Sufficient to Deter Their Deviant Acts Recommendations for Handling Deviants: “Let the Punishment Fit the Crime!” 12

13 Classical Theory Applied to Spouse Abuse Wife Batterers Are Power-Oriented Violence Is a Useful Means to Achieve Goals Men Who Abuse Their Wives Should Receive Severe Punishment to Force Them to Stop Do We Really Do That to Abusive Men? Do Courts? Police? Religious Leaders? Anyone? 13

14 Problems With Classical Theory Not All Behavior Is Rational Much Behavior Occurs With Little Forethought People Just “Do It” – It’s Not Planned Some People Are Rarely Rational! – Mentally Ill – Mentally Retarded Some People Could Be Rational But Are Not You Cannot Expect Them to Respond to Punishments Imposed 14

15 Conclusion Re Classical Theory Really Doesn’t Work With Many Offenders Isn’t Likely to Work Even With Rational Wife Abusers – Why? Our Culture Is Not Likely to Believe in Punishing Wife Abusers Anyway Exhibited in the Manner in Which These Cases Are Generally Handled By Police, Courts, Families, Agencies 15

16 Reaction to Classical Theory: Positivist Theory Based on Actual Research on Offenders Explains the “Positivist” Label: “Positivism” Conducts Research Seeks Explanations Need to Look for the Reasons for Deviant Acts Biological & Psychological Factors Play A Role 16

17 Positivist Approaches: Frustration-Aggression Psychological Approach When People’s Goals Are Inhibited … They Automatically Feel Frustrated … An Automatic Response – Cannot Be Helped Frustrated Men Will be Aggressive Caused by the Woman – Caused By Other Factors They Can’t Help It! – Shouldn’t be Punished Believed by the Men, Courts, Police, Families, & Women! 17

18 Critique of Frustration-Aggression Are ALL People Aggressive When They Are Frustrated? Can We Really Afford to Have a Society in Which Everyone Can Be Aggressive? Experiment: 2 Groups of Children: – Both Saw a Frustrating Film – Group A: Encouraged to Express Their Anger – Group B: Discouraged – Urged to Do Other Things – Which Should be LESS Aggressive at End? 18

19 Compulsive Masculinity Also a Psychological Theory Men’s Socialization Experiences in Modern Society Are Not Natural “Nuclear Family” Separates Boys from Men … At a Critical Stage in Their Development E.g., Men At Work; Brought Up By Women Boys Do Not Learn How to Be Men In Order to Be Men They Must Reject Women They React By Being Aggressive to Women 19

20 Compulsive Masculinity: Response to Spouse Abuse Bring Boys into Greater Contact with Men The More They Are with Men, the LESS They Will be Aggressive Toward Women Solution: Have Boys Do More With Their Fathers They Will Learn the Way “Real Men” Are Men Then They Will Not Have to Reject Women & Be Aggressive 20

21 Differential Association (Sutherland) Sociologically Based Theory People Learn Deviance from Their Associates If They Are Around Men Who Batter … They Will Batter Their Own Wives Murray Straus: Batterers’ Fathers Battered How Does This Fit With Compulsive Masculinity Theory? 21

22 Self Concept Theory (Dinitz, Reckless) An Extension of Differential Association Deviance Does Not Result SIMPLY From Association with Deviants RATHER: People CHOOSE Deviance If They Are Around Deviants … They Choose to Be Deviant Because They Admire Those Who Are Deviant … Deviance Fits With Their Self-Concept Men Will Batter If They Admire Batterers 22

23 Drift Theory (David Matza) Based on Studies of Delinquent Youth People Are Not “Deviant” or “Non-Deviant” EVERYONE Engages in BOTH Deviant & Non- Deviant Behavior Studies Showed ALL Youths Engaged in Both at Different Times Hence All People DRIFT from Conforming Behavior into Deviance & Back Again True of Most Abusive Men – They Are Not Always Abusive – Often They Are Very Loving 23

24 Functional Theory A Sociological Theory Assumes That All Social Groups/Societies Are Held Together By Cohesion Certain Behaviors Are Accepted by All Everyone Accepts This The Authority of the Husband in the Family Is Accepted – By Wife & Children They Know This Is the “Right Way” for Families Problem: Do Wives & Children Always Accept This? 24

25 Conflict Theory Also Sociological Theory Every Society/Social Group Involves Differential Power All Members Do NOT Accept the Power Structure As Legitimate Wives vs. Husbands; Parents vs. Children The Family Is Rife With Issues on Which the Members Do Not Agree There is Tension & Pressure for Violence If These Disagreements Are Not Resolved 25

26 Note Theoretical Conflicts Many of These Theories Contradict Each Other Classical Theory: Deviance Is Rational Positivist Theory: Deviance Is Irrational Compulsive Masculinity: Men Who Are Around Women More Likely to Batter Women Differential Association: Men Who Are Around Men Learn to Batter Women Cultural Theory: Culture Produces Deviance Positivism: Deviance Is a Mental Aberration Functionalism (Agreement) vs. Conflict 26

27 III. Victimization Theory Victimology Theory – Developed to Explain the Role of Victim in Criminal Behavior Von Hentig: “The Criminal & His Victim” Typology of Victims (13 Types) Innocent (Physically, Mentally, Socially Vulnerable 9) Culpable (Mild, Cooperative, Tempting 3) Resisting (Fight Back 1) MOST Victims Were NOT Culpable 27

28 Mendelsohn – Another Typology 1.Completely Innocent (Children, Unconscious) 2.Minor Guilt (Ignorant) 3.Equal in Guilt (Voluntary Victim) 4.Greater Guilt (Provokes) 5.Alone in Guilt 6.Imaginary Victim (Where Is the Innocent Victim?) 28

29 Critique of Mendelsohn Mendelsohn’s Background: Defense Attorney in Rape Cases Amir: Study of Rape Victims: “Interaction Theory of Crime DOES NOT FIT Forcible Rape.” But Mendelsohn Applies His Theory of Victim Causation to All Victims – Particularly Rape Victims Victimology Has Been Applied to ALL Victims – Esp. Women in Rape & Spouse Abuse Cases 29

30 Steven Shafer “The Victim & His Criminal” Compare to Von Hentig’s Title Interviewed Criminal Offenders of Direct Physical Assaults 9/10 Said Victims Played NO ROLE in Decision Shafer Developed Theory: “Functional Responsibility for Crime” 30

31 Shafer’s “Functional Responsibility for Crime Theory” Victim Always Motivates Offender: Makes Him Conscious of Criminal Opportunity Is Passive Irritates or Incites Instigates or Provokes Conclusion: The Victim or His Property ALWAYS Generates Crime Without the Victim – There Is No Crime! Excuses Offenders from Responsibility for Actions 31

32 Characteristics of Spouse Abuse Victims Typical Traits Proposed: Unsure of Self Weak Ego (No Strength of Character) “Learned Helplessness” (EX: Dog in Maze) “Battered Women Syndrome” (Lenore Walker) “PTSD” (Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome) Conclusion: Abused Wives Are Weak, Accept Their Abuse 32

33 Lee Bowker’s Alternative View NO! Women Do Not Accept Abuse! They Fight Back! – 7 Strategies: 1.Avoided the Men or Certain Topics 2.Passive Defenses (Covered Faces, Vital Organs) 3.Threat to Call Police, File for Divorce 4.Attempt to Extract Promises Not to Batter 5.Attempt to Talk Men Out of Battering 6.Fought Back Physically 7.Hid or Ran Away When Attacked 33

34 Cultural Patterns of Abused Women Same Culture As the Men –Condones Male Abuse Believes in: – Male Domination – Male Aggression Natural – Accepts Female Subordination – Saw Mother Abused – Often Was Abused As a Child – Sees Abuse As Normal Most Women Do Not Want to End a Marriage Instead They Want the Abuse to Stop 34

35 Victimology As a Stimulus-Response Theory Stimulus (Stress) Always  Response (Violence) Offender Has No Control Over the Behavior Contrast: Symbolic Interaction Theory (Athens) 3 Types of Offenders: Frustrative (Believes Victim Blocked Goals) Malefic (Believes Victim is Evil) Frustrative-Malefic (Victim Blocking & Evil) Really LESS Violent Because BOTH Factors Required Hence These Are NOT Automatic Responses 35

36 IV: Interaction Factors Cycle of Violence: Wife Battering Cycle: – Minor Tension  Increased Tension  Height of Tension  Violent Episode  Honeymoon  Reconciliation  Repeat Many Women Can Actually Describe the Process & Identify the Phase Their Pattern Is In At A Particular Time They May Use It To Decide When to Leave Or When To Defend Themselves 36

37 Studying the Violence Cycle Dangerous to Study! (Gelles) Buzawa & Sengstock: 4 Types of Domestic Violence: Continual Mutual Violence (Somewhat Open) Continual Asymmetric Violence (Somewhat Open) Continual One-Way Violence (Most “Closed”) Isolated Violent Act (“Open” System) 37

38 3 Models of Victimization (Sengstock & Liang) Innocent Victim V  (Innocent Act)  O  Criminal Attack Victim Precipitation V  (Deliberate Taunt)  O  Criminal Attack Social Conflict Model V  (Acts – Both Types)  O  (Acts – Both Types)  V (Response)  O (Response) Goes On Indefinitely! (EX: Most Children’s Fights) 38

39 V. Society’s Responses Society Can Prevent Spouse Abuse – Courts – Police – Social Agencies – Families They Have To Show They Want to Control It They Have To Take It Seriously They Have To Intervene – At An Early Point They Have To Stop Excusing It 39

40 9 Aspects of Western Society Which Promote Husband-to-Wife Abuse (M. Straus) Focusing on Men: 1. Pressure on Men to Defend Traditional Male Authority 2. Threats to Male Identity  Compulsive Masculinity Focusing on Women: 3. Economic Constraints Force Women To Stay 4. Burdens of Child Care (Do the Same) 5. Myth of Inadequate Single Parent HH 6. Assumed Pre-Eminence of Wife Role for Women 7. Prevalence of Negative Self-Image for Women 8. Notion of Women As Childlike Focusing on Society Structure: 9. Male Orientation of Criminal Justice System 40

41 Mechanisms By Which Society Can Alter Spouse Abuse – Service Agencies Professionals Can Identify Victims Shelters Can Be Available to Protect Them Support & Child Care Can Be Available to Help Long-Term Counseling Medical Care Not Use Husband’s Income to Determine Eligibility 41

42 Mechanisms By Which Society Can Alter Spouse Abuse: Police Can Take Victims Seriously Can Avoid Taking the Offender’s Side Can Avoid Making the Offender Feel Like Hero – EX: O.J. Simpson Can Adopt Different Arrest Procedures – Arrest At Time of Offense Rather Than Later – Not Require the Victim to Press Charges 42

43 Mechanisms By Which Society Can Alter Spouse Abuse: Courts Judges Must Take Victims Seriously Not Raise Issues of Her Contribution Judges Need to Be Aware of Different Laws – Differential Arrest Procedures for Family Issues – Mandatory Counseling – Injunctions In Divorce Proceedings – Proper Filing & Referencing for Enforceability 43

44 Control Leaders 50+ Aspiring Leaders Maintain Control 25-49 Children, Youth Most Likely Changers <25 How Long Will It Take? Social Change Pyramid Who Is Most Likely to Change? Who Is Likely to Resist Change? What Is the Chance Of Change Occurring? Why? 44

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