Family violence or domestic violence or abuse is defined as “situations where a member of a family uses abusive behavior to control or harm another member of the family, especially in intimate relationships” (About Family Violence, 2007). Violence may be in various forms such as emotional, verbal, sexual, neglect, psychological, harassment, financial, and physical abuse. The most common types of family violence are verbal, emotional, and physical abuse. In most cases, family violence occurs as a result of power and control issues. Thus, family violence occurs when one member of a family becomes threatening, overly controlling, and abusive towards other members of the family. Family violence can happen between adults in a family or adults who used to be in a family. The violent person is referred to as the perpetrator while the person experiencing the acts violence is the victim. Also, other types of family violence include; intimate partner violence, forced marriages, child abuse and neglect, elder abuse, and violence on honor among others (About Family Violence, 2007).
The main focus of this paper will be on intimate partner violence, which is defined as a form of abuse that happens within a marriage between spouses (World Health Organization, 2012). Intimate partner abuse (IPA) often occurs during a relationship (marriage or cohabitation), but it can happen after a relationship. It is a pressing issue because both men and women can be victims or perpetrators of intimate partner violence (Swan, Gambone, Caldwell, Sullivan, & Snow, 2008). The prevalence of family violence occurs regardless of the family’s income, education levels, and age of partners, religion, or culture. Although IPA affects both genders, research shows that women have a higher likelihood of becoming victims than men (World Health Organization, 2012). As mentioned earlier, intimate partner violence arises due to issues of power and control in a family. Women are likely to become victims because of the control and power men hold in the family. The purpose of IPA is to scare the victims and coerce them to submit to what the perpetrator wants such as what to wear, people to interact with, or when the victim can be allowed to go out. Family violence has been overlooked over the years making women victims of IPA for the longest time. Due to the issue of power and control in the family, most women have remained passive and tolerated this form of abuse. While the dangers of family abuse have been raised severally, the patriarchal and the social construction of masculinity continues to create the social condition for male violence towards women in the family.