Violence and Abuse

Violence and Abuse

Chapter 4

Violence and Abuse

Violence and Abuse

• Every society tolerates certain controlled uses of force. For example,

– Spanking misbehaving children

– Playing contact sports

• Violence refers to the interpersonal uses of force that are not socially sanctioned.

• No gender or life stage is exempt.

• Hate crimes target certain groups of people.

Violence and Abuse

• Assault—intentional use of force to injure another person physically – For example: shoving, slapping, punching,


• Abuse—taking advantage of a relationship to mistreat someone, often using frequent threats of force – For example: spouse abuse, child abuse,

elder abuse

How Violence Affects Health

• Physical injuries range from minor cuts or bruises and lost teeth to broken bones and firearm or knife injuries.

• Rape victims may need immediate treatment to reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections or unintended pregnancies.

• Psychological damage (i.e., anxiety and depression) and strained family relationships are also consequences.

What Causes Violent Behavior?

There is no single cause of violence.

• Contributing factors:

– Poverty

– Substance abuse

– Access to firearms

– Psychological problems

– Poor self-esteem

• Learned behavior—home and media

– Children witnessing acts of abuse or violence between parents

– Visual media often glamorize violent people (TV, movies, computer games)

Major Types of Violence and

Abuse 1. Sexual Violence-

• Sexual activity gained through force, threat of force, or coercion

example: Rape—sexual intercourse by force or with a person incapable of legal consent

– In the United States, 1 in 6 women and 1 in 33 men have been victims of an attempted or completed rape.

– Most female victims are raped by someone they know.

– Most male victims are raped by strangers and acquaintances.

Major Types of Violence and


Sexual Violence

Types of Rape

• Marital Rape – refers to the use or threat of violence against one’s spouse to force sexual activity

• Acquaintance Rape – forced sexual activity that occurs between unmarried adults who know each other

• Date Rape – forced sexual activity that occurs between those who are dating

Major Types of Violence and


Sexual Violence

• Reporting Sexual Assault

– Sexual crimes are underreported.

– Shame, embarrassment, and feeling partially

to blame prevent victims from reporting sexual


– Victims may fear further victimization and

negative reactions from others.

Major Types of Violence and


1. Sexual Violence

• Reporting Sexual Assault

– Preservation of all evidence, obtaining medical

attention, and notifying the police is crucial.

– Rape crisis centers assist victims in this


Major Types of Violence and


2. Family Violence –

• A pattern of behavior characterized by physical

assaults, psychological abuse, or threats

between family members, intimate partners, or

unrelated people who live together

– Includes spouse, child, and elder abuse

Major Types of Violence and


2. Family Violence

• Intimate Partner Violence (IPV)

– 11% of all violence between 1998 and 2002.

– This includes actual or threatened physical or

sexual violence as well as emotional abuse by

a current or former intimate partner.

– Acts range from slapping, shoving, and

punching to beating and murder.

– Verbal and emotional abuse usually

accompany physical violence.

Major Types of Violence and

Abuse 2. Family Violence

• Intimate Partner Violence, Table 4.1 – Contributing factors

• Having a low income

• Being unemployed or in a low-status occupation

• Witnessing violence between parents as a child

• Using alcohol and other drugs

• Having low self-esteem and being highly dependent on intimate partner

Major Types of Violence and


2. Sexual Harassment –

• Intentional use of annoying and offensive

sexually related comments or behaviors to

intimidate or coerce others into sexual activity

– Unwelcome requests for dates

– Sexually offensive jokes, lewd comments

– Touching and fondling

• The person should be confronted and told to

discontinue the behavior.

• Legal action can be taken.

Major Types of Violence and


3. Stalking

• Willful and repeated following and harassing

another person.

• Most stalkers are lonely, emotionally disturbed

men who have been rejected by their partners.

• Victims experience severe emotional distress and

are at risk of being physically attacked by stalker.

• Table 4.2

Major Types of Violence and


4. Community Violence –

• Occurs in public settings (i.e., street corners,


• Gangs attract adolescents whose safety,

belonging, and self-identity needs are met by

associating with the gang.

• Gang association increases a member’s risk of

being murdered.

Major Types of Violence and


5. Institutional Violence

• a) School Violence

– Most acts of institutional violence occur in schools.

– Involve attacks on peers, teachers, and school administrators.

– Efforts are underway to identify potential troublemakers in schools.

– Youth prone to become violent tend to have difficulty controlling anger, are impulsive, bully others, and defy authority figures.

Major Types of Violence and


5. Institutional Violence

b)Violence on College Campuses

– Majority of rapes, robberies, and assaults

occur to students living off campus.

– Associated with use of drugs, especially

alcohol, and the availability of guns.

– Security measures may include call boxes,

escort services, improved lighting on campus,

and limited visiting hours in residence halls.

Major Types of Violence and


5. Institutional Violence

b) Violence on College Campuses

– The Student Right to Know and Campus

Security Act requires administrators of colleges

and universities that receive federal funds to

report information concerning the number of

murders, assaults, rapes, and other specific

crimes that take place on their campuses.

Major Types of Violence and Abuse

6. Workplace Violence

• Acts of violence directed towards individuals

who are performing their jobs.

• Psychiatric hospitals and prisons are the most

dangerous workplaces.

• Cab drivers, convenience store clerks, police,

and security guards have a high risk of being

murdered while working.

• Work-related homicides are most likely to occur

during armed robbery in grocery stores,

restaurants, bars, and gas stations.

Major Types of Violence and


Workplace Violence

• People who have a high risk of becoming violent in workplaces include those whohave been laid off, fired, or not promoted as well as men who:

– Are between 25 and 40 years of age

– Are loners

– Have marital and other family problems

– Appear angry and paranoid

– Abuse alcohol and/or other drugs

– Blame others for their problems

Major Types of Violence and



• Terrorism is intentional violent acts against

civilians to produce extreme fear, property

damage, and numerous deaths.

• Major purpose—to frighten people and make

them feel vulnerable and helpless.

• Arsenal includes bombs, poisonous chemicals,

life-threatening infectious agents, and hijacked

airplanes as missiles.

Major Types of Violence and



• Survivors of a terrorist attack often experience

physical as well as long term psychological

consequences such as post-traumatic stress

disorder (PTSD) and depression

Assessing Your Risk of Violence

• Family disruption (i.e., separation, divorce,


• Presence of criminal or drug-addicted parents

• Neighborhood conditions (i.e., high rates of


• Social isolation

• Large number of children in family or presence of

children with special needs

• Schools with poor discipline and low expectations

for student performance

• Availability of alcohol, illegal drugs, and guns

Assessing Your Risk of Violence

• Age (under 25yrs)

• Sex (women vs. men)

• Race & ethnicity

An objective of Healthy People 2020 is to reduce the homicide rate from 6.1 per 100,000 (the rate in 2007) to 5.5 per 100,000 Americans by 2020.

Preventing and Avoiding Violence

• Improved street lighting

• Neighborhood watch organizations

• Surveillance by closed-circuit cameras

• Avoidance of “risky” situations

• Avoiding unsafe places

• Avoid using destructive responses such as angry

verbal exchanges, including insults and name

calling, to manage interpersonal conflicts

Preventing and Avoiding Violence

• Don’t go out alone at night

• Lock car doors upon entering the car

• Avoid dangerous people

• Display friendly attitude, good manners, tact, and


• Consider taking self-defense lessons

Preventing and Avoiding Violence

• Home Security Measures

– Always lock windows and doors

– Use the peep hole

– Dog

– Leave lights and a radio on when you leave

your house

Preventing and Avoiding Violence

• Community Security Measures

– Consider moving to a safer neighborhood

– Avoid isolated places

– Do not walk, jog, or bike alone, especially at


– Wear a whistle to signal an alarm or carry of

can of pepper spray to use if threatened

– Look alert.

– Park in a well-lit, busy area.

Preventing and Avoiding Violence

• Reducing the Risk of Violence while in a Car

– As soon as you enter your car, lock the doors

– If you are involved in a minor accident, stay in

your car; call the police, and keep the doors

locked and the windows rolled up until they


– If someone demands that you surrender your

car. Get out of the car and quickly move away

from the area.

– If someone is following you drive to the police


Preventing and Avoiding Violence

• Workplace Safety Measures

– Learn your company’s security measures, for

example, the locations of fire alarms so you

can activate one in case of any trouble.

Preventing and Avoiding Violence

• Self-Protection

– Attract as much attention as possible if you are


– Run away if you feel overwhelmed and


– Some may choose to fight back.

Reporting Violence

• You should report any attempted or completed

crime of violence by strangers or acquaintances

to the police.

• Consider reporting the incident to an agency,

such as a rape crisis center or a women’s self-

help service that can assist you in dealing with

legal authorities and medical establishments if

you feel uncomfortable reporting to police.

Across the Life Span

8. Child Physical Abuse

– This includes beating, squeezing, burning,

cutting, suffocating, binding, or poisoning a


– Most acts of violence against children are

committed by parents and other adults the

victims know.

– Children under age 2 are most at risk of

dying as a result of physical violence.

Across the Life Span

• Child Physical Abuse

• Abusive parents often:

• Have unrealistic expectations and

distorted notions about the causes of their

child’s behavior.

• Are under stress and isolated from others

who could help.

Across the Life Span

• Child Physical Abuse – Pedophiles are sexually attracted to and

fantasize about having physical contact with children.

– The child molester acts on sexual urges by having sexual activity with children.

– Most molesters are heterosexual males who generally target 8- to 10-year-old girls they already know.

Across the Life Span

• Child Physical Abuse – The abuser is usually known and trusted.

– Incest is sexual abuse by a family member.

– Preventing child sexual abuse involves teaching children how to recognize and report sexual abuse.

– Very young children need to learn which parts of their bodies are private.

Across the Life Span

• 9. Elder Abuse

– Elder abuse is physical, sexual, and/or

psychological abuse that occurs in family

settings, hospitals, and nursing homes.

– Abusers are most likely to be spouses or

adult children who care for victims.

– Report situations of elder abuse or neglect

to a local adult protective services agency.

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