Child abuse, wife abuse and elder abuse are some of the many forms of family violence. Possible causes of such violence are presented by Ruchard Gelles on his book “Current Controversies on Family Violence” (Gelles, 1993).
Gender is one of the factors mentioned that is related to child abuse. Among male and female babysitters and single parents, it was found out that males have a higher probability of becoming a physical abuser. Gelles also presented some arguments including the feminist perspective which relates gender on family violence. Feminist perspective argues that females are more likely to be the victim of husband-and-wife violence rather than men, but there is an opposing argument suggesting that more women are using violence. These arguments are supported by their own data but it was not resolved by Gelles (Gelles, 1993).
On the other hand, abuse on the elderly is considered to be the result of stress among their caretaker.
Another factor is the economic status especially those who belong to the poor class and those that are unemployed. Different forms of family abuse are likely to occur on families belonging to these statuses because of “social stress” (Gelles, 1993).
Race, also, is observed among the data of family violence where some data presented that blacks have lower rates of child abuse. Hence, some surveys showed that blacks are likely to be physical abusers on children. This is because blacks have lower incomes and higher rates of unemployment unlike whites. There are 1.8 million blacks in North Carolina as of 2005 or 21.8%. As of 2004, 13.8% belong to the poverty line and 5.2% are unemployed (“North Carolina,”). Hispanic families, too, have a higher rate of family violence because of low income and urbanization. North Carolina has 6.4% of people with Hispanic origin (“North Carolina,”).
Family structure is an important aspect on family violence as well. The risk of violence within a family, measured per 100 persons, is higher than the risk of violence on the streets, measured per 100,000 persons. Gelles cited eleven roots of family violence in family structure.
Interaction plays a big role for any violence to occur since family members spent much longer time with themselves rather than with other people; but Gelles added that it still depends on the age of family members. Family members also share common interests and activities such as recreation. Traits, attitudes and values can be directly acquired from parents or relatives. Age and sex difference can also trigger misunderstandings among themselves (Gelles, 1993). At different ages, they develop their own way of thinking and opinions.
Stress also adds on the risk of possible violence since the stress experienced by one of the family member affects the rest of the family. Every member knows about the rest of the members, their biography, likes and dislikes, and strengths and weaknesses, almost everything. This knowledge can help build a strong relationship among them but it can also be used to harm one another (Gelles, 1993).
Gelles, R. (1993). Through a Sociological Lens: Social Structure and Family Violence. In D. R. Loseke (Ed.), Current Controversies on Family Violence (pp. 303-309): Sage Publication.
North Carolina (Publication. Retrieved 12 June 2007: http://www.fedstats.gov/qf/states/37000.html