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History of Domestic Violence

History of Domestic Violence

Domestic violence has a long history of abuse throughout all societies, cultures and time-periods. Domestic violence can happen against any famiy member but is most commonly a husband against his wife. Unfortunately, violence inflicted upon a wife by her husband has often been viewed as normal and expected, unfortunately. The following are historical examples of domestic violence:

  • In ancient Rome, husbands had the legal right to "punish" their wives if they did not obey their rules.
  • For a short period during the 300's, such violence displayed by the husband allowed the wife to seek a divorce legally.
  • In the Middle Ages, a wife who violated her duties as dictated by society could be beaten legally by her husband. In fact, neighbors would expect such beatings to occur. Such violence was severe since marriages were often arranged rather then occurred out of feelings of love between husband and wife.
  • A permissive attitude toward wife beating persisted until the end of the 1800's when public sentiment was that such behavior was wrong, although there was no criminal charge for such behavior.
  • During the late 1940's in England, wives could be physically assaulted or punished by their husbands for not obeying them.

Legal protection for wives who are assaulted by their husbands continues to be limited in many parts of the world, including the United States. However, currently shelters for women who suffer abuse from their husbands are increasingly available around the country.

Domestic violence is not limited to wives being assaulted by their husbands. It also includes husbands being abused by their wives. Since the 1960's, the violence of a parent inflicted upon his or her offspring has been the increasing focus of public awareness. Child abuse or murder by a parent is a disturbing part of American Society. More recently, elder abuse has been identified as a problem. In this particular situation, elderly parents are abused or beaten by their adult children.

Domestic violence is an issue that affects millions of people around the world. As many as 30% of American families may suffer from domestic violence. Domestic violence is defined as physical, sexual, or emotional abuse that is directed towards a family member. There are a number of theories as to what causes family members to engage in acts of domestic violence. These theories, commonly referred to as theories of violence, seek to explain the conditions and causes of domestic violence. One of the earliest theories speculated that men who battered their wives, and the wives who remained with the batterer, were mentally ill. However, this theory was disproved when research showed that abusers and their victims frequently tested within the normal range on psychological tests.

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