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Exploring Interpersonal Violence Essay

2382 words - 10 pages

One of the most common ways of defining violence is to only consider forms of criminal violence and to argue that violence is the use of force that has been prohibited by law (Riedel & Welsh, 2002, p.3). The Oxford dictionary when taking a legal dimension, defines violence as “the unlawful exercise of physical force”. This definition suggests that violence is harm that results in physical pain. It may be criticised for not taking into account emotional and psychological pain often associated with interpersonal violence. Interpersonal violence is said to include domestic violence, family violence, intimate partner violence, sexual violence, child abuse or elder abuse. Other forms of ...view middle of the document...

Vittorio Bufacchi argues that “there are two ways of thinking about violence: in terms of an act of force, or in terms of a violation”. Interpersonal violence is better defined as a violation of personal rights and can refer to a person’s body and dignity.

Philosopher Newton Garver argreed that “Violence in human affairs is much more closely connected with the idea of violation than with the idea of force. What is fundamental about violence is that a person is violated.” Interpersonal violence should be defined by how a person is violated either bodily through physical violence, or by psychological violence as illustrated by Garver (Garver,1977, p. 270). Interpersonal violence is often carried out by the use of power rather than physical force.

There are many forms of interpersonal violence that are acts of physical force. However, there are also many forms that we can consider as violent and harmful, but use power as opposed to force. This power is used to cause psychological, emotional, economic, social, moral and physical harm. Domestic violence, intimate partner violence and family violence include harm that may be psychological, sexual, financial, and emotional and is not restricted to the exercise of physical force. The UK cross-government definition of domestic violence and abuse is:

Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. (Home Office, 2014).

Domestic violence involves the abuse of one person by using power and control over another within an intimate or family relationship. Family violence extends to children, parents, grandparents, grandchildren and/or any other family members. It includes child abuse and elder abuse. Domestic violence reflects behaviours beyond the use of physical force and can occur without a person being physically attacked. Some of these behaviours include the use of intimidating body language, verbal threats and insults, not letting a person sleep and controlling what a person wears. It can involve a person being kept isolated from friends and family, being prevented from going to work or indeed having any form of contact with others. Another common tactic used to gain power or control is economic or financial abuse. The abuser may prevent the victim from gaining employment, control all household finances or refuse to contribute to shared household expenses. (Women’s Aid, 2014). Economic abuse is considered to be a form of domestic violence and can be carried out without the use of physical force.

Sexual violence describes behaviours where a victim is humiliated, degraded, coerced or forced. It involves unwanted sexual attitudes or behaviour such as harassment. Some activities such as watching pornography, looking at pornographic images, sending sexual text messages and emails...

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