Domestic Violence covers a wide range of races and many areas of the globe. While violence is a horrendous act in any relationship, it often occurs in many of them. There is no one race that is exempt, even though studies show the difference types and amounts of violence that occurs relative to a particular group or race of people. Many African American females are viewed as assertive and self confident. At times, African American females may even be described as confident or even pushy in their relationships.
This description of an African American female may cause one to think that these women do not have encounters with violent domestic issues at the hands of their partners. This may also cause society to think that African American women are even the instigators of relationship disagreements. For this reason, society sometimes view the female of an African American relationships as being less submissive or not as passive as women of other races.
As clinicians and physicians examine abuse of African American women relative to intimate partner violence, it has been discovered that these women also experience all types of domestic violence, including the side effects that accompany violence, just as other women of other races. One may question that with this description of African American women being antagonistic in intimate partner relationships, how do they experience violence at the hands of their partners? Rates and dynamics show that women of all races experience intimate partner violence.
Contrary to popular belief, “other researchers have considered intimate violence to be a problem that plagues people of color, particularly African Americans” (West, 1998b). Caucasian women may be viewed as more submissive and passive in their intimate partner relationships, which does not allow for much physical or emotional abuse, as to where an African American woman may question her partner’s decisions or actually voice an opinion of their own. Some African Intimate partner violence of African American women 3.
American men have decided to have relationships with women outside of their race, such as Asian women, as a result of their submissive attitudes. Today, even in some of the African American wedding ceremonies, the segment where the wife repeats love, honor, and obey, the word obey is omitted. Many different studies have been conducted of rates of intimate partner violence of African American women and Caucasian, where the numbers were similar, yet different. The National Crime Victimization Survey does not portray a substantial difference within the ethnic groups Latino’s, Anglo Americans and African Americans.
When studying various regions of the world, it was discovered that “rates for African American women and white women in shelters, urban prenatal clinics, high school, and undergraduate samples” were similar (Edleson, Bergen, and Renzetti, 164). Rarely, however in some occurrences, African American women experience violence at that hands of partners who are of a different race. Although no relationship is exempt from intimate partner violence, an African American woman that is in a relationship with an Asian or Caucasian man is less likely to experience domestic violence physically than with an African American man.
Economic disadvantages of African American women have been associated heavily with intimate partner violence in their relationships. Many African American women cannot escape a domestic violence situation due to poverty and sometimes lack of family support. African American women that do not maintain financial means may deal with a partner that may provide for them financially, however, abuse them as a result of the male knowing that the female is dependent on him for her well-being. This type of violence is often portrayed in prostitution. In areas where prostitution is legal, an
African American woman may experience physical, mental, Intimate partner violence of African American women 4 emotional and psychological trauma if their services are considered substandard. While a typical customers of prostitute may be middle class men ranging from approximately 35 to 60 years of age, “those most penalized by law are poor black women who are forced onto the streets and into blatant solicitation where the risk of arrest is highest” (Flowers, 129) among any other group. If an African American woman is arrested for prostitution, this places her in an even more difficult financial dilemma than before.
Many African American prostitutes are beaten and degraded sexually by their clients, which leaves behind emotional scars. A black female prostitute sometimes experience rape, mugging, and even murder at the hands of customers. Horrible acts of intimate partner violence between African American prostitutes and their managers have been documented to include hatred, condemnation, alienation, and degradation. While the managers initially create a sense of a caring, loving, partnership, it is ironic that the outcome is most often a category of violence.
One may question where did this type of behavior begin for African American women begin? With society viewing most African American women in relationships being aggressive and hostile, there are some instances where there are actual occurrences of intimate partner violence in African American relationships. There are many myths and theories of why African American females relate to their partners intimately. Some African American women view their partners as being the sole provider in the relationship.
Even in dating, some African American women prefer older men that they envision as their protector in providing for them. Relative to age, “Young girls may be coerced into sexual relationships with older men who provide food, school fees or gifts in exchange for sex” (United Nations, 45). In some African American relationships, the male views himself as head of the Intimate partner violence of African American women 5 household, and expects the female to meet and/or exceed all of his expectations. When those expectations are not met or adhered to, at times, physical violence is present.
While some studies show that economics and finances play a significant role in the violence of many African American intimate partner relationships, there are also cases where money is not an issue. Sometimes, intimate partner violence is revealed in African American celebrity relationships, where power and coerciveness is an issue, and not money. Many of these problems are the result of drug and alcohol abuse in celebrity relationships. In 2009, pop star Rihanna was brutally beaten by her former boyfriend, Chris Brown, whom was also a pop star/nominee for two Grammy awards.
The physical altercation was the result of an argument that had escalated. Chris Brown had fled the scene, leaving Rihanna battered, and revealing facial injuries. Rihanna attempted to call for help, when Brown stated that he was going to kill her. Brown was arrested for making criminal threats to her, along with domestic violence. In a later interview, Rihanna stated that money, drugs, or alcohol was never an issue, and that her boyfriend’s behavior was “all of a sudden”. As with many domestic violence cases, the victim blames themselves. At times, society even blames the victim.
One of the news interviews stated that “the argument was provoked by Rihanna’s discovery of a text message from another woman (Meloy, Miller 75). Even after the arrest, Rihanna stated that she was worried about people viewing him as a monster, and not recognizing that he needed help. Rihanna also stated that the visible facial scars and broken arm would heal, however the internal emotional scars would not. Chris Brown stated that he had never experienced being so angry in a domestic partner relationship, ever. Like many African American batterers, Chris Brown was very apologetic.
In Intimate partner violence of African American women 6 this situation, Brown displayed the behavior of an exploder offender, one who experienced violence as being out of control, sudden, and explosive. After extensive counseling on both parts, Rihanna actually considered rekindling a relationship with her former batterer. Another African American celebrity that experienced intimate partner violence at the hands of her spouse was Anna Mae Bullock, better known as Tina Turner. Turner was married to Ike Turner, and both were pop stars.
Ike Turner would achieve fear and intimidation through physical violence. Following this violence, he would then force Tina into having sex with him. This type of behavior described Ike Turner as a Tyrannical Offender, in that he used aggression verbal and physical abuse to dominate and control his partner. Marital rape, any unwanted intercourse or penetration, (vaginal, anal, or oral) obtained by force, threat of force, or when the wife is unable to consent (Gosselin 260), was prevalent in their marriage. This intimate partner violence of Tina Turner also left scars.
Many other celebrities to include Mary J. Blige and Whitney Houston also experienced intimate partner violence with their spouses or partners. Intimate partner violence of African American relationships has many long term effects. Many victims suffer physical and emotional problems. The result of an African American woman who has been battered or exposed to domestic violence is sometimes portrayed in how she interacts with family members and friends. An African American woman that has been involved in intimate partner violence feels isolated and that there is no one that she can go to for help.
Some African American women lack the resources financially to seek help, and feel that Intimate partner violence of African American women 7 there is not a safe haven for them and their children, causing them to remain in abusive relationships. When coming from a heritage of repression, they too may have been the outcome of past intimate partner relationships. For example, an African American woman that had an upbringing where intimate partner violence was exhibited may feel that they cannot seek assistance from their parents.
Some older African American parents instill the belief in their daughters that if the husband is providing financially, that there is no need for divorce. Regardless if there is emotional or physical abuse, many elder African American parents encourage their daughters to remain in these relationships where intimate partner violence is prevailing. These elder African American women feel as though having a husband to provide financially is better than having no husband at all. This theory causes emotional scarring, as well as mental and long term psychological issues.
Pop star Mary J. Blige, being a former victim of intimate partner violence, opened a women’s shelter in New York, where many African American women seek assistance as a result of them having the ability to relate to another African American woman who experienced intimate partner violence. They also relate to her experiences through her music. Along with many safe havens being available in many areas, education of physicians and clinicians is beneficial in the prevention of domestic violence.
If an African American female was to receive care at a low-income clinic, those staff members should have the knowledge and ability to educate the victim in the prevention of further occurrences of intimate partner violence, just as there is counseling for patients with insurance. Care should not be substandard as a result low or no income on the part of the African American client. After assessing a patient leaving the Intimate partner violence of African American women 8 hospital, doctors should also have knowledge of counseling and after care services to provide to the patient.
Trained professionals should also have plans in place for victims, and educate them of these plans. This training should deal with the entire realm of the effects of intimate partner violence, and not only include not only include guidance for physical violence, but also emotional violence as well. Emotional violence is exhausting and mentally draining, and plans should be in place of efforts of building newer, healthier lives. Intimate Partner Violence of African American females existed in the past, and still continue today.
Despite the overabundance of research that is being conducted on Intimate Partner Violence, there is still not much research on the topic relating to African American women. While we do understand that intimate partner violence occurs within all races, the numbers and rates pertaining to African American women are somewhat unstable as a result of under reporting. Regardless of rates or statistics, the element remains that this type of violence does occur in the African American population and research, training, and solutions should be provided in efforts of decreasing intimate partner violence of African American women.
Intimate partner violence of African American women 9 References Flowers, R. B. (1987). Women and Criminality: The woman as victim, offender, and practioner. 129 Gosselin, D. K. (2005). Heavy Hands: An introduction to the crimes of family violence. Fourth Edition. 260 Meloy, M. L. & Miller, S. L.. (2011). The Victimization of women: Law, policies, and politics. 76 United Nations (2007). Ending violence against women: From words to actions. 45 Bergen, R. K. , Edleson, J. L. , & Renzetti, C. M.. 2001. Sourcebook on Violence against women.