Factors that contribute to the violence against women
Author: Aleena Ahmed
Understanding the factors that influence the behaviour instigated by perpetrators of abuse is paramount to address the issue at its crux. Many research reports reveal that men’s violence against their female partners is a result of a power imbalance that makes it easier for them to control their partners. Moreover, abusers believe that they have the right to control their partner’s lives even by restricting their mobility and access to the outer world.
A study by Rothenburg in 2002 also revealed that many men display violent behaviour due to their insecurities, past experiences, and inabilities. One common denominator is the environment in which abusers are brought up. Men who witnessed domestic violence in their home at a young age are more likely to commit abuse against their partners when they get older. Such an environment at a young age can also foster feelings of anger and distrust towards women, manifesting in cyclical violence.
Another cause, perhaps the most relevant in Pakistan, is drug addiction. A study published in March 2020 by the Pakistan Social Sciences Review quotes around 7.6 million drug addicts in Pakistan of which a staggering 78% is male. The link between substance abuse and domestic violence is another example of one party asserting its dominance over the other, only this time the neurotic thought process is exacerbated by drugs and becomes even more disruptive. In addition to substance abuse itself being a major psychological illness, it can also be indicative of other psychological issues. For example, the phenomenon of a “critical inner voice” can distort versions of the truth in abusers’ mind and may lead to them lashing out at their partners.
Another reason as to why a person may abuse their partner is known as “mate retention behaviour”. The premise is that in some cases abusers believe that the only way to keep their partner from leaving or being unfaithful is to abuse them. This was confirmed in a study done by David Buss, an American psychologist. Abusers use these behaviours to intimidate and control their partners and retain their relationships.