One of the theories that explains family violence is patriarchy or male dominance theory. In many cultures where man is regarded as the pillar of the family, he is the authority and therefore he can treat women and children whatever he likes. Male domination is frequently supported by the inherited experience of patriarchal supremacy. This experience gives a man the right to treat women and children as their property or object. Due to this, women are learned not to complain and to put up with physical or emotional abuse. In most cases, women who are victims believe that they deserve abuse and that they did something wrong. Another theory that explains family violence is resource theory. As cited by Benokraitis (2011), "men usual command greater financial, educational, and social resources than women do, so they have more power" (p. 404). However, ever since emancipation of women, there have been many cases where men have lower incomes than their wives. If this is the case, men may try to maintain their dominance through abuse and violence. Other cases that can contribute to family violence are of socio-economical nature. Men who have lower education and poor communication skills are more likely to use physical force on the weaker members of their families. In these cases, women and children are channels through which men release their frustration and inability to provide for family. This type of family abuse is typical for lower working class families where gender roles are strictly distinguished.
Factors that increase the probability of child maltreatment (child abuse) include: "substance abuse, stress, poverty, partner abuse, and divorce" (Benokraitis 2011, p.395). As the society even promotes alcohol drinking, it is no secret that alcohol addiction contributes a great deal towards increase of child maltreatment. Additionally, the stated factors often come together. In many cases, when a man loses his job and is faced with poverty, then he finds a consolation in alcohol use. In these cases, the whole family becomes a victim of abuse. However, as children are unprotected and do not know how to defend themselves, they are the victims. Sadly, as the child maltreatment is still considered to be a taboo topic and is refereed as something that is internal matter of a family, many cases of child maltreatment remain unreported. The factor that is also one of the major factors that contributes to child maltreatment is drug use. As the nerve system of drug addict completely changes due to the substance use, their children may endure different types of maltreatment from neglect to prostitution in exchange for drug. The society in general should pay more concern on protecting children from maltreatment because it may severely impact their cognitive, physical, and psychological development.
Finally, parents unintentionally promote sibling violence which may result in suicide or psychological problems later in the lives of the children. Some of the examples where parents are oblivious to sibling violence include unintentional preference of one child over the other. According to Benokraitis (2011), "parents often encourage sibling violence by yelling at their kids instead of teaching them how to resolve disagreements" (p. 399). This type of uprising children may lead to long-lasting impact. Some of the issues that a child that has been a victim of sibling violence may develop include anxiety, withdrawal, and low self-esteem. Unfortunately, many parents are unaware of the impact that sibling violence may have of their child and it remains unresolved.
Based on the given theories and reasons for family abuse, it may be concluded that children and women are the ones who suffer the most. There are many reasons for family abuse, but the most frequent are the ones that include low socio-economical status and substance use. Children do not only become victims of maltreated by their parents, but their siblings and relatives may also abuse them without knowledge of other family members. In order for a family abuse to stop, the society should pay more attention to these problems before it is too late.
Benokraitis V. Nijole. (2011). Marriages and Families. Pearson