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Table of Contents

CONTENTS

Preface to the Second Edition

CHAPTER 1
Social Dynamics of Family Violence: Setting the Stage

CHAPTER 2
Historical Perspectives on Family Violence

CHAPTER 3
Theories for Studying Family Violence

CHAPTER 4
Methods for Studying Family Violence

CHAPTER 5
Abuse Across the Life Course: Elder Abuse

CHAPTER 6
Abuse Across the Life Course: Child Abuse

CHAPTER 7
Outcomes of Child Abuse: Increased Risk for Experiencing Violence in Adulthood

CHAPTER 8
The Economy and Intimate Partner Violence

CHAPTER 9
Cultural Factors and Intimate Partner Violence

CHAPTER 10
Religion and Family Violence

CHAPTER 11
Institutionalized Violence

CHAPTER 12
Violence in LGBTQ Families

CHAPTER 13
Prevention and Avoidance: The Early Warning Signs

CHAPTER 14
The Response to Family Violence: The Criminal Justice System and the Social Welfare System

CHAPTER 15
Where Do We Go from Here?

Appendix
Acknowledgments
Index

Expanded Table of Contents

Expanded Table of Contents

Preface to the Second Edition

CHAPTER 1
Social Dynamics of Family Violence: Setting the Stage

Objectives
Key Terms
Introduction
Definitions

Family
Violence


Theoretical Approaches

Family Violence Framework
Feminist Theory
Race, Class, and Gender Theory


Social Structures

The Economy
Cultural Norms
Religion
Institutionalized Violence


Social Status Variation
A Note About Data Sources
Organization of the Book
Summary of Our Approach in This Book
Note
Bibliography

CHAPTER 2
Historical Perspectives on Family Violence

Objectives
Key Terms
Introduction
Child Abuse

Child Physical Abuse
Child Sexual Abuse

Box 2.1 “My Baby Is Missing”

Elder Abuse

Legal Response to Elder Abuse


Domestic Violence

A Brief History of the Domestic Violence Movement
Legal Response to Domestic Violence


Conclusions
Notes
Bibliography

CHAPTER 3
Theories for Studying Family Violence

Objectives
Key Terms
Introduction
Theoretical Approaches to Family Violence
Grand Theories

Conflict Theory
Structural-Functionalist Theory
Symbolic Interaction Theory


Theories of the Middle Range

Feminist Theory
Feminist Theory and Family Violence
Race, Class, and Gender Theory
Race, Class, and Gender Theory and Family Violence


Criminology Theories

Strain Theory
Social Control Theory
Differential Association Theory


Theories Specific to the Stuff of Family Violence

Family Violence Theory
Intimate Terrorism Versus Situational Couple Violence
Psychological Theories


Theories of Elder Abuse and Child Abuse
Conclusions
Resources
Note
Bibliography

CHAPTER 4
Methods for Studying Family Violence

Objectives
Key Terms
Introduction
A Brief History of Sociological Methods

Objectivity, Generalizability, and Repeatability
Mendel: An Illustration of Scientific Ethics
Experimental Conditions


Interviews and Qualitative Research

Qualitative Research
Evie
The Importance of Diversity in Research Teams


Survey Research and Quantitative Methods

Quantitative Methods
Surveys and Family Violence
Strengths of Survey Research
Weaknesses of Survey Research

Conflict Tactics Scale
Conclusions
Resources
Bibliography

CHAPTER 5
Abuse Across the Life Course: Elder Abuse

Objectives
Key Terms
Introduction
Changing Demographics
Changing Life Expectancy

Race and Gender Variation in Life Expectancy


Race and Gender as Predictors of Elder Abuse
Indirect and Direct Causes of Elder Abuse
Sandwich Generation

Carol Abaya

Prevalence of Elder Abuse
Types of Elder Abuse

Financial Abuse
Box 5.1 Scam Warning
Neglect and Self-Neglect
Indications of Neglect
Physical Abuse
Indications of Physical Abuse
Psychological Abuse
Indications of Psychological Abuse
Sexual Abuse
Indications of Sexual Abuse

Theoretical Explanations
Conclusions
Resources
Bibliography

CHAPTER 6
Abuse Across the Life Course: Child Abuse

Objectives
Key Terms
Introduction
A Brief Overview
Prevalence of Child Abuse
Types of Child Abuse

Emotional Abuse
Witnessing Violence
Physical Abuse
Neglect
Sexual Abuse

Rates of Child Sexual Abuse
Box 6.1 Jerry Sandusky
Box 6.2 Megan’s Law
Box 6.3 Mary Kay Letourneau
Box 6.4 Jared Fogel

Mandatory Reporters

Child Protective Services
Guardian Ad Litems (GALs)
Box 6.5 Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) Programs
Foster care
Foster Care in the United States: The Facts

Risk Factors

Parent or Caregiver Risk Factors
Parent or Caregiver Risk Factors
Cycle of Abuse

Family Structure
Family Structure Risk
Noncoresidential parents

Child Factors
Child Risk Factors
Shaken Baby Syndrome
Box 6.6 Key Facts About Shaken Baby Syndrome
Ephebophilia

Environmental Factors
Protective Factors: Reducing the Risk for Child Abuse and Neglect

Protective Factors
Box 6.7 Welcome Baby

Outcomes of Child Abuse

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Issues
High-Risk Sexual Behavior
Crime

Conclusions

Intervention
Prevention

Resources
Bibliography

CHAPTER 7
Outcomes of Child Abuse: Increased Risk for

Experiencing Violence in Adulthood
Objectives
Key Terms
Introduction
Outcomes of Child Abuse on Women

Abuse in Childhood and Abuse in Adulthood
Physical Child Abuse
Intimate Partner Violence
Child Sexual Abuse

Interviewing Victims of Violence
Childhood Sexual Abuse: Premature Sex Engagement
Sexual Scripts
Childhood Adultification

Incest and Child Molestation at Home
Preadolescent Prostitution: The Liquor or Drink House

Liquor Houses
Sexual Abuse and a Drive to Escape
CSA and Economic Dependency in Adulthood
Trading Sexual Access for Protection
A Life of Illegal and Illegitimate Behavior
Race and Class Variation

The Impact of Violence in Childhood on Men

The Impact of Prostitution on Sons
Race and Class Variation

Conclusions
Notes
Bibliography

CHAPTER 8
The Economy and Intimate Partner Violence

Objectives
Key Terms
Introduction
Definitions and Statistics

Box 8.1 Intimate Partner Violence Homicide

Risk Factors for Experiencing IPV

Individual Risk Factors for IPV
Couple Risk Factors for IPV
Structural Risk Factors for IPV

Structural and Individual Factors

Social Structure
Ecological Fallacy

The Economy and IPV

Macro and Micro
The Micro Level: Social Class and Money
Social Class
“You Can’t Work”: A Tool of Control
“He Showed Up at Work Brandishing a Gun”: Fired Because of IPV
The Macro Level: Economic Systems and the Economy
Wage Discrimination and Economic Dependency

Compulsory Partnering
Occupational Sex Segregation

Wage Discrimination and Compulsory Partnering

Race and Class Analysis
The Recession of 2007–2009
Conclusions
Resources
Bibliography

CHAPTER 9
Cultural Factors and Intimate Partner Violence

Objectives
Key Terms
Introduction

Box 9.1 Geerte Hofstede on Masculinity and Femininity

Boys Will Be Boys: Constructions of Masculinity and
Interpersonal Violence

Masculinity
African American Masculinity: The Cool Pose
Discourses of Masculinity

Patriarchy
The Roots of Masculinity

Masculinity and IPV

Breadwinning in the Current Economic Climate
Threats to the Breadwinner Role
Women as “Nags”
Failure as a Provider
The Bedroom

Marital Rape Exemption
Sexual Conquest, Jealousy, and IPV

Race, Class, and Gender: Interpreting Differences Across Groups
How to Be a “Good” Wife: Constructions of Femininity and Interpersonal Violence

A Brief History of Women’s Roles
The Cult of Domesticity
The Surrendered Wife and IPV
The Surrendered Wife and the Master of the Bs
Race, Class, and Gender Analysis

The Impact of Globalization on Interpersonal Violence: Human Trafficking

International Adoption
International Surrogacy
Marriage Migration

Box 9.2 V’s Testimony
Box 9.3 Hmong Advocates Organizing in Wisconsin

Conclusions
Resources
Notes
Bibliography

CHAPTER 10
Religion and Family Violence

Objectives
Key Terms
Introduction
Tensions Between Religion and the Secular World
Religious Texts and Beliefs That Are Used to Support Family Violence

Judaism
Islam
Christianity
Divorce

Individual Responses to Family Violence by Spiritual Advisers

Box 10.1 Marleen

Institutional Responses in General to Family Violence
What Happens When the Pastor Is the Batterer?
Child Abuse: The Sex Scandal in the Catholic Church

A Tale of No Accountability
Some Changes Afoot in the Catholic Church

Recommendations for Transformation
Conclusions
Resources

Christian
Mormon
Jewish
Muslim
Multifaith

Notes
Bibliography

CHAPTER 11
Institutionalized Violence

Objectives
Key Terms
Introduction
Institutions

Sex Segregated Institutions
Bobby Knight

Fraternalism
Hazing, Bullying, Abuse

Box 11.1 Sexual Abuse in the Locker Room

Total Institutions
Power
Statistics on Gender-Based Violence
The Military

Box 11.2 Richard and Michele Corcoran
Female Soldiers Die of Dehydration

Challenges to Reporting

Rape on College Campuses

Fraternities
Box 11.3 Facilitating Rape in a Fraternity House
Challenges to Reporting
College Conduct Systems

Box 11.4 Rape on Football Sunday

Sexual Assault in SportsWorld

Box 11.4 Jameis Winston

Intimate Partner Violence in SportsWorld

Box 11.5 Ray Rice
Box 11.6 Jovan Belcher

The Intersections of Race

Box 11.7 Patrick Kane

Conclusions
Resources

White House Public Service Announcements

Bibliography

CHAPTER 12
Violence in LGBTQ Families

Objectives
Key Terms
Introduction
Definitions
Stereotypes of Gay Men and Lesbians
How Do Stereotypes Impact Reactions by Law Enforcement?
Prevalence
Uniqueness of IPV in Same-Gender Couples

Box 12.1 Rainbow Response Coalition

Apparent Contradictions: Same-Gender Violence Is Still
Rooted in Conceptualizations of Gender
Violence in the Transgender Community
Special Challenges That Face Trans and Intersex Victims
Conclusions
Resources
Note
Bibliography

CHAPTER 13
Prevention and Avoidance: The Early Warning Signs

Objectives
Key Terms
Introduction
“I Didn’t See It Coming!”: The Early Warning Signs

Box 13.1 Oprah Winfrey and Rihanna
Intrusion: “Checking In” and “Popping Up”
Isolation: Married in Thirty Days at His House
Possession: “You Belong to Me”
Other Forms of Possession: Molding Her

Jealousy and Sexual Infidelity
Male Perspective on Cheating
Women’s Experiences with Jealousy
Prone to Anger: Other Assaults and Prior Records
Unknown Pasts: “I Moved in with Him the Next Day/
Married in Thirty Days”
“We Were Made for Each Other”
Conclusions
Resources
Notes
Bibliography

CHAPTER 14
The Response to Family Violence: The Criminal Justice System and the Social Welfare System

Objectives
Key Terms
Introduction
Institutional Responses to Family Violence

The Institution of Health Care
Box 14.1 New Directions Institute Partners with Arizona Children’s Association
Box 14.2 Violence Prevention

Shelters
Box 14.3 Meathead Movers
Comprehensive Approaches
Box 14.4 A Comprehensive Approach
Intervention Programs
The Duluth Curriculum: Issues of Power and Control as Primary Targets
Shortcomings of Batterer Intervention Programs

The Criminal Justice Response

Protective Orders
Box 14.5 Safe on Seven
Box 14.6 Innovative Partnerships Among Local Law Enforcement, Child Advocacy Groups, and Intimate Partner Violence Agencies

Lethality Assessment Programs (LAP)
Child Protective Services as a Response to Child Abuse

Box 14.7 Domestic Violence Lethality Screen for First Responders
Prosecution
Domestic Violence Courts

Conclusions
Resources
Bibliography

CHAPTER 15
Where Do We Go from Here?

Objectives
Key Terms
Introduction
Social Changes
Theories and Methods
Data on Family Violence
Negative Consequences Associated with IPV

The Intergenerational Transmission of Violence
Intergenerational Transmission of Violence Theory

Proposals for Change

Box 15.1 The Social-Ecological Model for Violence Prevention
Criminal Justice System
Box 15.2 Adding Sexual Misconduct Notes to College and University Transcripts

Prevention and Intervention

Box 15.3 Comprehensive Sex Education Programs
Box 15.4 Texas Sexual Abuse of a Child Standard

The Big Picture: Reductions in Inequality
Prescriptions for Preventing and Interrupting
Family Violence: Disrupting Inequalities

Economic Reform
Gender Equality and Dismantling Patriarchy
The Final Word: Relationships as Partnerships

Notes
Bibliography

Appendix
Acknowledgments
Index

Preface

PREFACE TO SECOND EDITION

It is with great pleasure that we were offered the opportunity to revise The Social Dynamics of Family Violence and produce a second edition. Many things have changed in the landscape of families and violence since our original book was published in 2012, and thus the opportunity to revisit our arguments and refine our analysis could not be timelier. Specifically:

  • The United States Supreme Court ruled that bans on gay marriage are unconstitutional, and in the summer 2015, marriage equality became the law of the land.
  • In the summer of 2014 there were several very high-profile cases of family violence involving professional athletes, including Adrian Peterson, running back for the Minnesota Vikings, who pled guilty to child abuse—he struck his then four-year-old son with a switch—and Ray Rice, running back for the Baltimore Ravens, who pled guilty to felony intimate partner violence for punching his then fiancée Janay Palmer in the face and knocking her unconscious. We will deal with the Ray Rice case extensively in our discussion of institutional violence.
  • The White House launched two campaigns to address gender-based violence: the “1 Is 2 Many” campaign targeting intimate partner violence and dating violence, and the “It’s on Us” campaign targeting sexual assault on college campuses.
  • The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which was originally passed in 1996, was reauthorized in 2013 under a great deal of contention. Revisions to the act included provisions for intimate partner violence in the LGBTQ community, for cases involving immigrant women, and for cases on Native American reservations.
  • Two senators, Barbara McCaskill and Kirsten Gillibrand, launched campaigns to address sexual assault in the military. Though their primary goal—removing reporting from the chain of command—was not achieved, their investigations, as well as the release of the documentary The Invisible War, brought sexual violence in the military into public debate in way it had not been since Tailhook.

We address each of these events as they impact the issues we include in the book.

While considering these developments as well as teaching and writing about gender-based violence and child sexual abuse, we identified four institutions that we had previously treated only minimally or not at all in the first edition: the military, the Catholic Church, fraternities, and sports. First, we expanded our discussion of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church to include the recent developments in civil lawsuits.

Second, after analyzing similarities among the military, fraternities, and sports organizations and culture, we identified several structures that create environments conducive to gender-based violence and child sexual abuse, specifically their sex-segregated nature, their construction as “total institutions,” and the fact that they all have internal systems of justice. In order to adequately address these important institutions, we developed a new chapter focused on institutionalized violence that explores gender-based violence and child sexual abuse perpetrated inside of these institutions. We include a discussion of several cases, including those of Ray Rice and Jerry Sandusky, who was convicted on forty-five counts of child sexual abuse, many committed while he was serving as a coach at Penn State University. He will spend the rest of his life in prison.

We are grateful to anonymous reviewers, many of whom have used the book in their classes, for their honest and helpful critiques and recommendations. Based on their recommendations, we have enhanced our discussion of violence in the LGBTQ community as well as expanded our discussion of responses to violence by the criminal justice system, law enforcement, and social services. One particular highlight was adding the Lethality Assessment Protocol (LAP), which is now used by law enforcement in many states, including in our home community, when they respond to a domestic violence call. LAP allows officers to quickly assess the lethality of the situation and engage appropriate systems based on the risk.

Additionally, though this book remains centered in the United States, we added a discussion of human trafficking as it relates to family violence. Specifically, we address international adoption trafficking, international surrogacy, and international marriage migration. Unique to this book, we illustrate international marriage migration with the case that is sadly too common in the Hmong community. We share the story of V, who was kidnapped, raped, and forced into marriage at age twelve. She is now a community advocate, and we highlight the excellent work that she and her community are doing to disrupt abusive international marriage practices. We know of no other book that features the Hmong community.

Finally, we have identified and highlighted more best practices, including the Emerge! Center Against Domestic Abuse in Tucson, Arizona, so that the reader will have more illustrations of initiatives that are successful as examples that they can bring to their own communities and workplaces.

As in any second edition, we have of course updated illustrations and data to the most current that is available.

It has been a joy to return to this manuscript and rework it so that, we hope, it is even more impactful than the original text, of which we remain so very proud. We invite the reader into a revised, updated, and expanded journey exploring the dark side of family violence.

Angela Hattery and Earl Smith
Fairfax, Virginia
August 2015

Chapter 1

1
SOCIAL DYNAMICS OF FAMILY VIOLENCE
Setting the Stage

She died in September by the ugliest means, weighing an unthinkable 18 pounds, half what a 4-year-old ought to. She withered in poverty in a home in Brooklyn where the authorities said she had been drugged and often bound to a toddler bed by her mother, having realized a bare thimble’s worth of living. . . . Marchella weighed 1 pound 4 ounces when she was born, prematurely, on April 3, 2006. A relative recalls thinking she was about the size of a one-liter Pepsi bottle. A twin sister, born first, died. Her name was Miracle.
N. R. KLEINFIELD AND MOSI SECRET, “A Bleak Life, Cut Short at 4, Harrowing from the Start,” New York Times, May 8, 2011

This chapter will set the stage for an in-depth, theoretically framed discussion of various types of family violence, including elder abuse, in-timate partner violence, and child abuse. In addition to defining key terms, we will also discuss the concept of family violence itself, which is, perhaps surprisingly, contested, compare and contrast scholarly ap-proaches to thinking about family violence, and offer a reconceptualized model for considering family violence.

OBJECTIVES

  • Provide the latest empirical data on a variety of types of family violence
  • Define critical concepts and recognize key issues relevant to the study of family violence
  • Identify and introduce the theoretical paradigms that have been employed to analyze and understand family violence: (1) the family violence approach, (2) the feminist approach, and (3) the race, class, and gender (RCG) approach
  • Illuminate the ways in which social structures and institutions, such as the economy, cultural norms, religious ideologies, and the military shape violence in families
  • Illuminate the ways in which social statuses—race, social class, gender, age, and sexuality—shape patterns of violence in families
  • Provide an honest discussion of the issues that families living with violence face

    KEY TERMS

    family
    violence
    family violence
    family violence theory
    feminist theory
    race, class, and gender theory
    economy
    cultural norms
    religion
    the military
    social status variation

    INTRODUCTION

    From their earliest formation, families have been complex and dynamic units that have evolved in order to meet the changing needs of both individuals and societies. Although families are inherently private, they are also public. In the United States alone, the government has on many occasions involved itself in family life, most frequently by passing laws or deciding court cases that de-termine the structure of the family and establish the rules about families and marriage. For example, one of the major issues of the early twenty-first century entails various branches of state and federal governments—legislatures, voting referenda, and courts—engaged in shaping the legal structure of families through the debate on gay marriage; in the summer of 2015 the US Supreme Court ruled in a 5–4 decision that the prohibition against gay and lesbian marriage was unconstitutional, and marriage equality became the law of the land.

    Although discussions of gay marriage range from the uninterested to the frantic, just like the discussions of interracial marriage in the 1960s (Smith and Hattery 2009), most Americans focus on their personal beliefs about homo-sexuality rather than the legal aspects of defining family. For example, when we ask students in our classes to conjure up an image of a wedding and share it with the class, most describe a religious ceremony in a church, temple, or mosque. They describe clothes: tuxedos for men and white wedding dresses for women. And, unlike the tuxedo, the white dress has values and norms at-tached: it denotes that the woman is a virgin. They describe music, dancing, and food rituals. Despite some variation by race, religion, social class, or region of the country, there is a high level of agreement among the students about the necessary elements of a wedding. What students rarely if ever describe is the signing of the marriage license. Yet it is the marriage license that is the most critical part of the wedding, far more important than the selection of the wedding dress, despite what Randy, the fashion consultant on TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress, might say, because it is the legal contract that binds two people and their future children together and defines them as a legitimate family.

    This legal contract impacts everything from taxes to health insurance to inheritance (Jackman 2011). Furthermore, the legal definition of family is an important aspect of the ways in which violence that occurs in families is treated by the criminal justice and legal systems.* For example, there are likely to be differences in the way judges issue protective orders to cohabiting couples as opposed to married couples, or gay or lesbian couples as opposed to heterosexual couples. However, the sting of a slap, the gasp for air when one is punched, and the frantic desire to be safe from violence do not differ across the individuals in these different types of couples. Whether the law recognizes the relationship may shape the way individuals are treated, but it does not shape the feelings of hurt and disillusionment that individuals in these families experience. As important as legal definitions are to shaping the response to violence by the criminal justice and legal systems, for individuals living in families, the definitions of family otherwise have little impact on the actual experience of violence. Therefore, other than when necessary, our discussions of family violence will not be limited by legal definitions. Rather, we will operate under the assumption that families can be and often are defined by their members in much broader ways.

    Our primary objective in writing this book is to examine the state of violence in families in the United States at the beginning of the twenty-first century. In this book, we examine through a sociological lens the most important issues that researchers, policymakers, social service providers, and families themselves face. These issues, which are central to the academic discussions of family, include child abuse, both physical and sexual; elder abuse; intimate partner violence (IPV); and violence in subgroups, such as among gay and lesbian families and families in the military. We also include a chapter on the role that social institutions and structures—such as the economy, religion, the military, and college campuses (fraternities and sports groups in particular)—play in structuring family violence. Last, we explore variations across family groups, including differences across race and ethnicity, social class, and sexuality. We do all of this using a straightforward approach to these issues, many of which have reached the level of crises of epic proportions in families yet remain largely ignored. We begin, as any discussion of a complex phenomenon should, with some basic definitions. This allows us all to “be on the same page” as we begin our discussions.

    DEFINITIONS


    Family

    Family scholars have developed several different definitions of the term family. We discuss five:

    1. Family is a set of people with whom you live and with whom you share biological and/or legal ties (Burton and Jayakody 2001).
    This definition focuses on what many of us refer to as the nuclear family. This definition restricts family primarily to parents (who are married) and their biological and/or adopted children. This is the definition of family that is used by the census, and it is the most common definition of family in use by both scholars as well as the average American.

    2. Family is a set of people you may or may not live with but with whom you share biological and/or legal ties (Cherlin 1999).
    This definition of family is often referred to as the “extended family.” As such, it is used to acknowledge that both in the past and continuing today, many households include extended family members such as grandparents. It also recognizes the continued importance of family once children have permanently moved out of the house.

    3. Family is a set of people you live with but with whom you may or may not share biological or legal ties (Landale and Fennelly 1992).
    This is a much more contemporary definition of family that is designed to acknowledge several changes in family life, specifically the rise of co-habiting couples, who in the twenty-first century are increasingly likely to be raising children together. Specifically with regards to the African American family, this definition recognizes both higher rates of cohabitation as well as the practice of sharing child-rearing with nonrelatives in response to a variety of forces, such as incarceration. This definition was developed in part to recognize same-gender couples as “families” long before the law did. And, though we will devote an entire chapter to LGBTQ families, it is important to note here that the law has been applied in various and often confusing ways to LGBTQ families. And, though some stability has been brought to the discussion of same-gender families by the US Supreme Court decision in 2015 that ruled that prohibitions against gay and lesbian marriages are unconstitutional and marriage equality—the legal marriage between two members of the same ­gender—is the law of the land, there continue to be many areas of the law, especially as it relates to trans-identified people, that do not guarantee civil rights, including the right to marry, to all, and thus this definition of the family remains necessary.

    4. Family is a set of people with whom you share social, physical, or fi-nancial support or a combination thereof (Sarkisian and Gerstel 2008).
    This definition is very inclusive and was developed, as noted above, primarily to acknowledge the existence of gay and lesbian households, which at the time, were not legally recognized (which was, of course, re-versed by the 2015 US Supreme Court decision). Furthermore, this defini-tion is designed to emphasize a key feature of families: the fact that members are interdependent. Families generally provide support of various sorts for their members. The flow and direction of this support may change over time—for example, from parent to child during the period of child-rearing and from child to parent during later years. For the purposes of our discussion in this book, family can also characterize one’s involvement in a variety of social institutions, including the military, fraternities—where members refer to themselves as brothers—elite sports teams, and the Catholic priesthood, whose members work, play, and live together.

    5. Family is a set of people whom you love (Neff and Karney 2005).
    The most inclusive of all definitions, this one recognizes that increasingly, people create their own “families” that may or may not be based on formal ties (biological or legal) and that these important people may or may not live together. The classic example used to illustrate this concept is the popular television program Friends. Friends shows a group of young men and women who provide support for each other and love each other but do not necessarily share any biological or legal ties (of course, there are two exceptions to this rule: Ross and Monica are siblings and Chandler and Monica eventually marry). Some of the “friends” lived together, but others did not. Yet they provided for each other most of the very things that have historically been provided by people with formal family ties. Family scholars often refer to this form of family as fictive kin, and this is especially common when referring to African American family relationships. Some may find the term fictive kin offensive because it assumes that some relationships (those based on biology or law) are real and that others (those not based on biology or law) are “fictive”—that is, not real. Thus, we refrain from this kind of distinction and suggest that the initial development of the term carried no such qualifier.

    The final two definitions are critical to the focus and discussion of this book because they both highlight what is perhaps the most devastating aspect of family violence: that whatever form it takes, family violence shatters notions of love, respect, interdependence, and mutual support. Whether the violence involves a man beating to death the woman he claims to love, an adult son emotionally and financially blackmailing his elderly parents, or an uncle en-gaging in incest with a young niece or nephew, family violence always hijacks safety and security, the very notions on which family is built. Thus, regardless of who is the victim and who is the perpetrator in any specific example, this shattering of the safety and interdependency is universal.

    Violence

    Often when we think of violence, we think only of physical abuse: hitting, kicking, slapping, beating, and so forth. Yet central to any discussion of family violence are acceptance and recognition of the fact that much of the abuse that occurs in families is emotional and psychological as well as physical. Emotional and psychological abuse often takes the form of name-calling and verbal degradation. For example, battered women we interviewed as part of a larger project (Hattery 2008; Hattery and Smith 2012) reported that their husbands and boyfriends constantly referred to them as “bitch” or “slut” and that they constantly, even incessantly, accused them of sleeping around or nagged them about not keeping up with the housework. Similar types of verbal abuse take place when children are involved as well. The toll that this type of abuse takes can be and often is significant.

    For as little attention as physical, psychological, and emotional abuse re-ceives among scholars and in popular discourse, perhaps the darkest secret of family violence is sexual abuse. More than a quarter of young girls report that they have been sexually abused by someone they are related to—most often their mother’s boyfriend or another male relative—and one in seven boys reports the same (Steese et al. 2006; Tjaden and Thoennes 2000). In fact, as part of another project (Hattery and Smith 2010), we interviewed two sex offenders who were returning home after periods of incarceration, and in the course of the interviews, both revealed that they were themselves victims of child sexual abuse. The impact of sexual abuse, especially when the victims are children, is severe, long-lasting, and often nothing short of devastating (Hattery 2009; Kaiser Family Foundation 2003; Tresniowski 2011).

    Violence in families can also take the form of financial abuse. This is most common in battering relationships and in cases of elder abuse. In these situa-tions the abuser typically denies the victim access to financial re-sources—which, among other things, prevents them from leaving the abusive situation. In the case of elder abuse, adult children often trick vulnerable par-ents—who are often suffering from some form of dementia—into changing their will or giving them power of attorney that allows them to drain their parents’ financial assets from bank accounts, investments, and so on. This is nothing short of embezzlement, only the victim is one’s parent, not one’s boss (Fox et al. 2002).

    It is also important to recognize, based on the definitions of family we of-fered above, that family violence is not limited to individuals whose relation-ships meet the legal definitions of family—for example, the most common perpetrator of child sexual abuse is the new boyfriend of the victim’s mother. Nor is family violence limited to people who live together. In fact, the most common time for intimate partner violence homicide to occur is after a battered woman has already physically separated from her abusive partner. And intimate partner violence is equally present in cohabiting relationships and le-gal marriages. Thus, unless there is some reason to do so, we will not utilize a single definition of family but rather will report on the violence that takes place between people who love each other—or claim to—and who consider them-selves to be part of an intimate relationship or family.

    THEORETICAL APPROACHES

    Our second objective in this book is to provide a theoretical framework for understanding family violence. Chapters 3 and 4 will be devoted to a lengthy and in-depth discussion of the theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of violence in families. That said, we would like to take the oppor-tunity here to briefly introduce some of the theoretical frameworks that are employed to study violence in families. There are essentially three main approaches: (1) family violence theory, (2) feminist theory, and (3) race, class, and gender theory.

    Family Violence Theory

    Family violence theory was developed largely by Murray Straus and Richard Gelles (1995). Straus and Gelles were among the theory’s early pioneers, and their work has shaped the field of family violence for the past thirty-plus years. As family sociologists, they conceptualized families as a set of interconnected relationships, and they looked for commonalities among the various types of family violence, from incest to elder abuse. In short, they recognized that families are constructed around relationships that involve, among other things, obligations and responsibilities but also status and power. For example, their perspective identifies a key pattern in family violence: the tendency for it to be perpetrated by people with power against those without power; that is, stronger, older people abuse younger, weaker people. Of course, this trend reverses when parents are elderly and vulnerable to their adult children. People with more resources (parents, adult children, husbands) are more likely to be abusive toward those without resources (children, elderly adults, wives) than the reverse. Last, they suggest that people engage in abusive behavior because they can and because it works. When a parent spanks a child, there are generally no consequences (“they can”), and it generally changes a child’s behavior in the desired direction (“it works”). Building on these basic tenets, family violence theory is the most widely accepted theoretical framework among scholars of the family who study violence.

    Feminist Theory

    Feminist theory approaches the analysis of any social phenomenon by as-suming first and foremost that gender stratification, which is rooted in patriar-chy, is universal and that it produces a system of inequality that creates op-portunities and offers rewards that privilege men and disadvantage women. Thus, the approach of feminist theory to the study of family violence is focused on the ways in which family violence is a gendered phenomenon. In other words, more often than not, the victims of family violence are female and the perpetrators are male. Feminist theorists expand the work of family violence theorists by suggesting that who “can hit” is not random; that is, the ability to access the power necessary to engage in physical, emotional, psychological, and sexual abuse is structured by the system of gender stratification. Thus, although there are exceptions to the rule, as we will explore in Chapter 3, even when women make more money than men or have access to other types of power, they are rarely the perpetrators of violence in families, even when boys or men are the victims. Family violence, feminist theorists argue, should be understood as an extension of other types of gender-based violence, such as rape and sexual harassment, rather than being understood inside of the various configurations of the institution of the family. We use the term gender-based violence to call attention to the gendered nature of intimate partner violence. This term extends beyond the term previously employed, violence against women, because it focuses our attention on both the gender of the victim and the gender of the perpetrator.

    Race, Class, and Gender Theory

    Race, class, and gender theory is an extension of feminist theory in two key ways: it was developed by a subset of feminist scholars—African American feminists such as Bonnie Thornton Dill and Patricia Hill Collins—and it builds on the idea of structured inequality and power. Distinct from feminist theory, race, class, and gender theory is built on the assumption that there are multiple systems of oppression that independently and collaboratively create complex systems of stratification that produce interlocking systems of inequality.

    Sometimes it is useful to consider an illustration that is disconnected from the topic we are considering. This strategy prevents us from conflating the theory with what we know about the issue. Let’s consider an example from the area of health care. A core tenet of race, class, and gender theory is the assumption that every system of domination has a countersystem of privilege. In other words, oppression is a system of both costs and benefits; when one person receives a “benefit” (such as a lower probability of experiencing intimate partner violence or a higher probability of getting an education), someone else experiences a “cost” (such as a higher probability of experiencing food insecurity or a lower probability of delivering a healthy baby). In other words, the benefit does not accrue from an infinite pool of resources; it is extracted at a cost to someone else. For example, we know that African American men die prematurely, seven or eight years earlier than their white counterparts (Hattery and Smith 2007). Generally, discussions of this gap in life expectancy focus on the reasons African American men die early: for example, because they are more likely to hold jobs that involve physical labor, they are more likely to live in poverty, they are more likely to lack access to health care, and they are more likely to experience racial discrimination and the stresses associated with being an African American man. Yet a race, class, and gender framework forces us to also ask the opposing question: why is it that white men live so much longer? When we pose the question this way, we realize that the gap is also created by the fact that white men tend to have more access to white-collar employment and the best-quality health care, and their affluence affords them the ability to pay for the “dirty” work in their lives to be taken care of by others, mostly African American men and women. Thus, the intersection of race and social class creates simultaneously a disadvantage for African American men and an advantage for white men. Furthermore, when we dig deeper into this question of life expectancy, we see that there are significant gender differences as well. Specifically, not only do women live longer than men, but the racial gap is also significantly smaller for women than for men. In short, our understanding of racial disparities in life expectancy is improved when we layer these explanations together, focusing not only on gender or race but also on the ways in which they interact to produce outcomes that vary by both statuses.[1] In terms of family violence, the race, class, and gender paradigm allows us to better understand the fact that African American children are at a higher risk for experiencing child abuse, both because they are more likely to live in families that are at higher risk for child abuse, including single-parent families and poor families, and because they are seven times more likely to be placed in foster care, where they face a substan-tially higher risk for child abuse.

    SOCIAL STRUCTURES

    One of the most important aspects of this book is the time we dedicate to understanding the social and institutional forces that shape family violence. As sociologists, our focus is less on the individual him- or herself—we leave those discussions to our colleagues in psychology—and more on the role that social structures such as the economy and religion play in shaping both the risk for family violence as well as the ways in which it is perpetrated and experienced.

    The Economy

    It will come as no surprise that money is a major point of contention in any household. Couples fight about money—how to spend it, whose responsibility it is to bring it into the household, and so forth. Parents and their children fight about money—how much allowance should be paid for how many chores, whether one will have access to a car when turning sixteen and what kind of car that should be, how much money the family is willing to invest in paying college tuition, and so forth. Adult sons and daughters fight with each other and with their aging parents over “the inheritance.” Money is a site of contest no matter which relationships we are discussing and how they are configured. And it will probably come as no surprise that, as one might predict, some types of family violence—specifically, violence between intimate partners—increased substantially during the recession of 2007–2009. There is some evidence that intimate partner violence rates have stabilized since the end of the recession. But in the environment of the postindustrial service economy that characterizes the post-2000 United States, an economy with slow growth, stagnant wages, and wealth transfers from the middle classes to the very wealthy, many families remain under significant financial pressure and intimate partner violence continues. This point brings us to the role of the larger economy.

    In addition to examining the ways in which money becomes a source of stress and conflict in families, in Chapter 8 we explore the ways in which the role and structure of the economy itself shape patterns of family violence. In addition to examining the ways in which individual couples fight about money, we will look carefully at the ways in which wages, discrimination, the definition of the term worker, and other economic factors shape the patterns of family violence that we see. For example, we will argue that one of the reasons women are the vast majority (85 percent) of the victims of intimate partner violence is because they are economically vulnerable and dependent upon their male partners. As a result of the static and persistent wage gap, women continue to earn only 75 percent of what men earn, and women of color earn far less. Thus, because money is often linked to power, intimate partner vio-lence takes the shape of men placing expectations on women in exchange for providing for their financial needs. When women fail to meet these expec-tations—which might be as insignificant as not having dinner on the table at the “proper” time—violence may erupt. When women attempt to leave these types of abusive relationships, the critical factor that prevents them from doing so is often their lack of access to money and their inability to earn a living wage with which to support themselves and their children. In Chapter 8 we explore these issues as well as the recent data on the role the recession of 2007–2009 played in shaping intimate partner violence.

    Cultural Norms

    Just as women’s economic vulnerability sets them up as potential victims of intimate partner violence, beliefs about appropriate gender roles set men up as potential batterers and women as potential victims. Specifically, as we will explore in Chapter 9, cultural norms—for instance, the rigid expectation that men be the primary breadwinners in their families—create ground that is fertile for intimate partner violence. As we will demonstrate using both the work of other scholars and our own interviews, when men feel their masculinity is threatened, they often ­respond with violence. One of the primary “triggers” to this violence is a threat to their identity as the family breadwinner. This re-sponse can be triggered ­interpersonally—for example, when a wife complains to her husband that he does not make enough money for them to pay their bills or when she “nags” him about being laid off. This response can also be triggered by the structure of the economy itself, whereby men of color, in par-ticular, face hiring and wage discrimination and men in certain ­sectors—such as manufacturing—face high levels of layoffs in times, such as the years of the Great Recession (2007–2009), when the overall economy is in recession, making it difficult for these men and their families to achieve and maintain fi-nancial success. This inability to achieve success as a breadwinner may result in intimate partner violence that unfolds over many years, even decades in some families.

    Additionally, an economic trend that began in the 1980s is the rise of women in the paid labor market. Kimmel (2005) and others have argued that this shift in the workplace and at home has resulted in an a form of alienation from the masculine identity. The Pew Research Center reported that in 2013, 37 percent of married mothers were breadwinners—they earned more than their husbands (Wang, Parker, and Taylor 2013). We will examine the ways in which these kinds of changes—and their impact on masculine identities—as well as the recession in general has had in shaping the levels of intimate partner violence we see in the middle of the second decade of the twenty-first century.

    Religion

    A primary source of cultural information regarding appropriate roles in families comes to us from religion. In Chapter 10 we examine specifically the role that religion has played in shaping expectations for family roles and in creating a terrain that is ripe for family violence. In addition to the rigid expectations that many religions have for women’s submission, they also have expectations for the behavior of children and parents, particularly fathers. In all of the major religions across the globe, and indeed in the United States, religious doctrines—holy books and official decrees—as well as the beliefs of religious leaders reinforce the notion that men are to be the heads of households and both women and children are supposed to be submissive to them. This ideology contributes to the cultural beliefs about masculinity and femininity, which, as we noted above, lay the groundwork for intimate partner violence as well as child abuse. For example, when discussing the role that parents, particularly fathers, play in disciplining their children, Proverbs 13:24 is often cited: “Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.” This teaching, especially when coupled with the adage “Spare the rod, spoil the child,” is part of the landscape in which corporal punishment occurs. In fact, some cases of child abuse can be best analyzed as parents, usually fathers, taking this belief to the extreme.

    Additionally, most, if not all, major religions are built around the belief that religious leaders are distinct from and superior to “regular” believers. This be-lief lays the groundwork for the abuse of women and children inside the insti-tution of religion—for example, the Catholic Church sex scandal that has plagued the United States beginning in 2001. Although the sex scandal will not be the sole focus of our subsequent discussion, we will explore the ways in which institutionalized sexism and violence can contribute to the perpetration and perpetuation of family violence. For example, in a survey of battered women, more than 70 percent said that when they consulted religious coun-selors about the abuse they were experiencing at home, they were told to go home and be better wives. Thus, we devote Chapter 10 to the role that religion plays in family violence.

    Institutionalized Violence

    New to this second edition of The Social Dynamics of Family Violence, we expand our discussion of institutionalized violence beyond the military to in-clude violence on college campuses, which is located primarily in two institu-tions: fraternities and sports teams. These institutions share certain features that facilitate gender-based violence: they are highly sex-segregated, they have a “fraternal” quality that privileges loyalty to the organization over the individual’s identity, and they have internal systems of justice that by and large protect perpetrators and fail to hold them accountable, so that they are free to continue abuse. Though at the outset these institutions may not appear to be explicitly familial, in fact, the relationships inside each institution often mimic families: people live together, work together, eat together, and study together, and thus when one member engages in violence against another, it can be experienced by the victim in similar ways to family violence. We provide a detailed discussion of the structural features of each institution in Chapter 11.

    SOCIAL STATUS VARIATION

    Our discussion of social status variation in family violence is different from the way in which it is typically approached. Unlike the majority of texts, which include separate chapters on family violence in different racial or ethnic groups, for example, we will weave into each chapter discussions of the ways in which two key statuses—race or ethnicity and social class—shape family violence. For example, in the chapter on child abuse, we examine the disproportionate risk of sexual abuse that low-income African American girls face as a result of the prevalence of liquor houses and prostitution—a form of local sex trafficking—in low-income African American neighborhoods. Similarly, in the chapter on cultural norms, though we will not explore it in depth, we note the disproportionate risk that immigrant women face for intimate partner violence related to a series of factors, including their citizenship status, which is often linked to their husbands’; their lack of English-­language proficiency; strong cultural norms that demand women’s submissiveness and even polygyny; and their relative isolation. We take this approach because we believe that there is nothing distinct about either racial and ethnic or class groups with regards to family violence. In other words, no group is inherently more or less violent than another. However, because various racial or ethnic and class groups have different lived realities, with different access to resources and different experiences with discrimination in the labor market, for example, it is critical to examine the ways in which social status—specifically, race or ethnicity and social class—shapes one’s risk for and experiences with family violence. Thus, we will explore variations in the discussions of the structures—the economy, culture, and religion—that shape family violence.

    There are two exceptions to this approach: age and sexuality. Although, when appropriate, we weave discussions of age and sexuality into each chapter, we intentionally dedicate separate chapters to age (Chapter 5 focuses on elder abuse and Chapter 6 focuses on child abuse) and sexuality (Chapter 12) because we believe there are some distinct differences in family violence with regards to age and sexuality that merit focused discussions. For example, although the vast majority of victims of intimate partner violence are women, and although the strongest case for understanding why is rooted in discussions of masculine power and privilege, the same patterns do not necessarily apply with regards to either age or sexuality. The majority of victims of elder abuse, for example, are women, which may have more to do with the fact that women outlive men and thus the proportion of the elderly who are women is significantly greater. Another indication of this type of difference is the fact that although men are the perpetrators of the majority by far of intimate partner violence, this is not necessarily the case with elder abuse. Women, too, abuse their aging parents, and in fact because women are far more likely to be the caregivers for aging parents with dementia or Alzheimer’s, more women than men are perpetrators of elder abuse.

    Similarly, although the majority of child physical and especially sexual abuse is perpetrated by men, women also engage in child abuse, especially physical abuse and neglect. With regards to physical abuse, young men are in some cases more likely to be the victims than their sisters, though the reverse is true for sexual abuse. Therefore, although the underlying principles of power and privilege that permeate intimate partner violence also permeate elder and child abuse, the gender dynamics are somewhat different. When we consider the cases of elder and child abuse in particular, the key power dynamic at work is far more likely to be age than gender.

    Though there are many things about intimate partner violence in same-gender relationships that are identical to the patterns in heterosexual relationships—and we will highlight these parallels as they arise—gender is a critical distinction. Obviously, in lesbian relationships there is no male partner and in gay male relationships there is no female partner. As with child and elder abuse, the dynamics of power and privilege remain, but they break down on lines other than gender. Sometimes the lines of demarcation are masculinity and femininity—the more “feminine” partner is more often the victim. But this is not always the case. Sometimes abuse in same-gender relationships is structured by each partner’s risk for being “outed,” his or her status as a parent, and a variety of other ways in which precarity can be created. Additionally, because there are many ways in which same-gender relationships are unique—for example, though gay marriage is legal, members of the LGBTQ community continue to face discrimination in institutions like em-ployment and housing, and they are often taken less seriously by the police or emergency room staff—we devote Chapter 12 to discussions of the expe-riences of violence in LGBTQ families.

    A NOTE ABOUT DATA SOURCES

    We rely on a variety of data sources in order to tell the story of family violence. Of particular note, however, and part of what makes this book unique, is that we personally conducted interviews with nearly one hundred men and wom-en—African American and white, middle-class and poor—who live with vio-lence, and this data forms the basis of our research. Throughout the book we use these interviews (qualitative data) to provide empirical support for our ar-guments. We include descriptions of particular people we interviewed, and we present their stories as direct, unedited quotes. Qualitative interviews are an important and rich data source: for sociologists, the quotes that are generated by qualitative interviews enhance statistics in much the same way as photo-graphs enhance written descriptions or text. We use the qualitative interviews to paint pictures of violence in family life. And because we believe that under-standing a phenomenon like family violence depends upon understanding the science used to generate the theories and analyses, we devote an entire chapter, Chapter 4, to a discussion of the methods that scholars of family violence use and the strengths and weaknesses of the various data collection techniques that build our scientific understanding of this complex social issue.

    Although the interviews that we and others have conducted help to paint a picture of family violence, in order to truly understand the broader implications of that picture, we also need to examine statistics. Statistics provide the kind of empirical data that are needed to make broad, sweeping generalizations about a particular phenomenon. So, for example, reading about what it feels like to be hit in the head with a ball-peen hammer provides an illustration of intimate partner violence, but it does not tell the researcher anything about how common this experience is. Thus, in each chapter, for each topic, we provide statistical data so that the reader can understand the prevalence of various types of violence within a population. Although we are careful to provide citations for the statistical evidence we include (both in the text and in tables), we note here that most of the statistical evidence comes from a few sources: the US censuses conducted in 2000 and 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), all of which collect data continuously and produce both monthly and annual reports. All of these data sources are the “official” sources and collect data from the entire US population (or appropriate subsamples based on the US population). Thus, this book combines the best of both qualitative and quantitative data to help improve our understanding of contemporary family violence.

    ORGANIZATION OF THE BOOK

    The table of contents makes clear the topics that will be covered in this book. However, we want to expound on them, as several are somewhat different from what is typically found in a text on family violence. We begin the book with an overview of the history of family violence in the United States. Our third chapter provides an in-depth discussion and review of the various theoretical frameworks that have been employed in studies of family violence along with a description of the theory framing our analysis: the race, class, and gender paradigm. This allows the reader to examine for him- or herself the analytical power and shortcomings of the various perspectives. In Chapter 4 we provide an in-depth discussion and review of the methods that are typically used to study family violence. In particular, we identify the problems inherent in studying family violence and how these barriers shape what we know about violence in families.

    As noted above, we devote Chapters 5 and 6 to discussions of age-based violence: elder abuse and child abuse, respectively. Chapter 7 is designed as a transition or bridge chapter, moving us from age-based violence to the most common form of violence: intimate partner violence. Specifically, Chapter 7 will examine perhaps the most tragic outcome of child abuse: an increased risk for experiencing violence—either as a perpetrator or as a victim—in adulthood. We devote the middle chapters (8–11) to a discussion of intimate partner violence. Each chapter will take as its main focus a distinct social structure or institution: the economy, culture, and religion, respectively. Rounding out our discussion of intimate partner violence, Chapter 11 is devoted to a discussion of institutionalized violence in the military and on college campuses. Chapter 12 is devoted, as noted above, to an exploration of violence in same-gender families.

    The final section of the book, Chapters 13–15, focuses on prevention and avoidance strategies (Chapter 13), the criminal justice, social service, and legal responses to family violence (Chapter 14), and our conclusions and recommendations for future research and policies (Chapter 15).

    SUMMARY OF OUR APPROACH IN THIS BOOK

    There are several key features to our book that are unique. First and foremost, not only does it explore the myriad of ways in which violence in families is shaped and perpetuated, it also has a unique focus on structural and insti-tutional factors. As noted earlier, the majority of textbooks on family violence focus on the experiences of individuals. As sociologists, we recognize the need, especially in courses on family violence taught in sociology departments, for a book that is organized around and explores the role that institutions, such as the economy, religion, and the military, and cultural norms play in structuring the prevalence and experiences of family violence. Additionally, this approach allows us to consider the reasons that not all families or individuals are at equal risk for victimization or perpetration, as well as the reasons certain forms of family violence are more common than others. (For example, men who grew up witnessing domestic violence are three times more likely to batter their wives and girlfriends than men who did not.) Last, this approach takes the focus away from “bad people” and examines the ways in which we are all at risk—though differentially—for family violence; any of us can experience the kinds of stresses associated with caregiving that are the cause of a significant portion of both child and elder abuse. In short, we all have a stake in reducing family violence by disrupting the messages of support created and provided by institutional entities such as religion, the military, fraternities, and sports groups and by increasing the support for caregivers and families at risk.

    Our book is also unique in its reliance on the race, class, and gender the-oretical framework as the lens for analyzing and interpreting the empirical data on family violence. This approach rests on the assumption that systems of oppression (specifically, race, class, and gender) intersect to create a web that shapes access to opportunities and experiences that vary depending on the actor’s position in the social hierarchy (his or her race, class, and gender). Because the theoretical framework that underlies our discussion is based on an intersectional approach, the organization of our book reflects this fact. In other words, in most textbooks each topic—child abuse, sexual abuse, intimate partner violence—is written from the perspective of and with a focus on the experiences of white people, the default category of citizens, and separate chapters are devoted to the “unique” experiences of individuals of various other races or ethnicities. In each of these “special” chapters, it is assumed that the experiences of nonwhites are unique and that all family violence experienced by nonwhites is the same. For instance, the assumption is that all family violence that African Americans experience—child abuse, sexual abuse, elder abuse—is the same across type and distinct from every type of abuse that white people experience. Rather than taking this approach, we assume that for the most part, with small variations that we will address, family violence is shaped not so much by race or ethnicity or social class as by the relationship between the perpetrator and the victim. Thus, we organize our book around types of violence—child abuse, elder abuse, intimate partner violence—and discuss racial or ethnic and class variation within each type. This novel approach turns the typical assumptions made by scholars of family violence on their heads.

    Last, our approach is unique because we are scholars of family violence who have studied it rigorously by employing both qualitative methods (inter-views) and quantitative methods (analysis of large-scale data sets). Our book is not simply a review of other people’s research; it utilizes our own research to explore the complexities and tragedies of family violence. Because social science research is rigorous, it takes a long time, from start to finish. Thus, the greatest sources of contemporary trends in virtually any social phenomenon are often news accounts, and we employ such sources to illustrate these trends when appropriate. We are also classroom teachers and bring to this textbook combined decades of teaching students about the darker side of family life.

    We move now to Chapter 2, in which we provide an overview of the history of family violence—and family more generally—in the United States. Although family violence has always existed, it has been ignored by researchers and the legal system until relatively recently. Our responses to family violence today are largely shaped by this history of sweeping it under the rug, and thus a discussion of this history is critical to understanding the phenomenon of family violence today.

    NOTE

    [1] Deborah King refers to this concept as “double jeopardy” (1988), and Max-ine Baca Zinn and Bonnie Thornton Dill refer to it as the “matrix of domination” (2005).

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by Angela Hattery and Earl Smith

 

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