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Domestic Violence and Bullying in Schools Research Paper

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Abstract

Based on my readings, I have come to understand that bullying is a major problem affecting schools. Beaty and Alexeyev (2008) argue that bullying in schools contributes to suicide as well as violent behavior among teenagers and young adults. I will base my hypothesis on their research. My hypothesis states that bullying is influenced by socio-economic status, gender, and race. I will refer to several scholarly articles to prove my hypothesis. This paper explores six published articles that report on domestic violence. The articles are based on the hypothesis that domestic violence is deliberate. This paper examines gaps in Kubany, McCaig & Laconsay’s (2004) research that suggests that boys are hardly ever victimized by girls. They examine Osborne (2011) and Horley’s (2011) experiences with domestic violence to suggest that boys can indeed be victimized by girls. They also discuss surveys and reports confirming the hypothesis that domestic abuse is determined by certain variables. The introduction contains a brief background about bullying. It also states the major variables related to bullying in schools. These articles explore the methods used to collect information about bullying in schools. They include research articles and interviews from respected scholars. These articles also explore the results of the research. They discuss the steps that can be taken to control the problem. They will confirm that social-economic status, gender, and race can contribute to bullying in schools.

The Opening Paragraph

Harassment and discrimination are both characteristics of bullying (Thornberg, 2010). To some people, bullying is like an amusing game (Beaty et al., 2008). Victims are often bullied because of their gender, race, ethnicity, age, or social status (Thornberg, 2010). Based on my readings, I have come to understand that bullying is a major factor in schools. There have been some recent cases of suicide and shootings due to bullying in schools.

In my study, the independent variables will be physical factors, social-economic status, gender, and race. The dependent variable will be bullying. My hypothesis states that physical factors such as social-economic status, gender, and race may lead to bullying.

Reviewing Previous Literature

  • Beaty, L. A., and Alexeyev, E. B. (2008) This source has empirical data related to bullying in schools. It discusses cases of bullying about race and gender. It also explains why bullies seem to enjoy intimidating their victims.
  • Craven, P. & Fleming, J. (2008). This book discusses issues related to bullying and suicide. It provides statistical data about bullying in schools. The book also explains how bullying affects adolescents.
  • Horley, S. (2011)

This source explains why girls are often victimized by bullies. This source also explains why bullies target specific victims.

  • Kubany, E. S., McCaig, M. A. & Laconsay, J. R. (2004)

This source is important because it gives statistical data on bullying in schools.

  • Selvon, M. (2011) This book covers the problems and solutions related to bullying. This book also talks about the characteristics of bullies and the victims. These sources discuss types of bullying and the impact that they may have on the victims.
  • Thornberg, R. (2010) This article also provides statistical data about bullying in schools.
  • Osborne, K. (2011)

This source also provides statistical data on bullying. It draws its arguments from recent articles.

Criticizing Previous Work and/ or Identifying Gaps in the Research

This will be covered in the ‘Discussion’ section. It will identify gaps in some of the research articles. Craven (2008) refers to domestic violence as intimate partner abuse. According to Kubany et al. (2004), only boys are capable of intimidating their victims. However, Thornberg (2010) argues that girls can also be bullies.

Bullying is evident when a person is driven by the need to establish control over their partner (Craven, 2008). Kubany et al. (2004) assert that bullies are not influenced by their emotions. He is mistaken. Beaty et al., (2008) argues that bullies may feel inadequate. They may also display low self-esteem (Horley, 2011). They vent their anger by intimidating their partners. They often resort to cheap tactics such as verbal, physical, or psychological abuse (Craven, 2008). They prey on the weaknesses of their partners to mask their own (Thornberg, 2010). Children who are not abused are still affected by domestic violence. The Department of Domestic affairs noted that girls who had battered mothers displayed submissive behavior when provoked by their partners (Craven, 2008). The same study confirmed that boys were more likely to emulate their abusive parents (Horley, 2011).

Concluding Paragraph

This will be covered in the ‘Discussion’ section. It will include an example of a suicide case from Houston, Texas. It will confirm my hypothesis. It will confirm that certain physical factors can influence bullying in schools. It will explain why bullies target their victims. It will refute Kubany et al.’s assumption that boys cannot be bullied by girls. It will also offer possible solutions to domestic abuse.

Main Body

Methods

An interview with a consultant at the University of Wisconsin revealed that gender, race, and social-economic backgrounds can contribute to bullying (Horley, 2011). Bullying is evident when someone intimidates or physically abuses another person (Osborne, 2011). Perpetrators have been known to use shame, guilt, and fear to intimidate their victims (Kubany et al., 2004). A survey that included two thousand battered young women stated that all the victims of bullying experienced fear or self-loathing (Horley, 2011).

Research has shown that bullying is deliberate. Perpetrators are aware of their actions (Craven, 2008). Their actions are often well calculated. Their motives are usually sinister (Osborne, 2011). Perpetrators usually feed off the fears and insecurities of their victims (Beaty et al., 2008). Victims often fail to come to terms with their suffering. Some perpetrators fool their victims by using passive-aggressive statements instead of physical abuse (Horley, 2011). This kind of psychological abuse is still termed as domestic violence (Kubany et al., 2004).

Reports from various state departments have been used to certify my hypothesis that bullying is based on specific variables. Interviews from various scholars have also been used to prove my hypothesis.

Results

Social-economic Status

Consultants at the University of Wisconsin state that almost one million cases of bullying are influenced by the social-economic status of the perpetrator (Horley, 2011). This proves that financial instability is one of the leading causes of bullying in schools. The Department of Domestic Affairs states that teenage girls often resort to psychological abuse to intimidate their peers (Craven, 2008). The report found that girls from lower-middle-class neighborhoods were likely to use verbal abuse to intimidate their victims. Boys from similar neighborhoods use force to intimidate their victims (Thornberg, 2010). Such manipulative behavior confirms that perpetrators have the mental capacity to commit acts of violence.

The same report states that very few teenage boys from poor economic backgrounds may be physically abusive towards their girlfriends (Osborne, 2011). This proves that bullies are often driven by frustration (Thornberg, 2010).

Craven (2008) argues that lower-middle-class students are more prone to bullying than upper-middle-class students. Osborne (2011), a professor at the University of Massachusetts, argues that social status is the prime concern of many high school students. Most school shootings are related to cases of bullying where the victims decide to avenge themselves by attacking their socially superior peers (Thornberg, 2010). Some bullies have poor economic backgrounds. They express their anger by attacking students from financially stable environments.

A survey by the Department of Domestic Relations states that three out of every five lower-middle-class students are victims of bullying (Beaty et al., 2008). The same survey reveals that almost 30 percent of lower-middle-class girls were physically assaulted by their boyfriends. More than half a million teenagers are domestically abused in the United States annually (Horley, 2011). Bullies with humble social-economic backgrounds intimidate their victims to express their frustration (Craven, 2008).

  1. Gender
  2. Osborne’s (2011) research states that girls are 10 times more likely to be physically assaulted by their boyfriends. The Department of Domestic Relations reported that more than a third of the victims who suffered from bullying in the state of Massachusetts were girls (Kubany et al., 2004).

In Wisconsin, at least four percent of boys are victims of domestic violence. More than half a million boys are bullied in high school (Thornberg, 2010). Most cases are not reported because society expects young men to avoid victimization. According to Craven (2008), more than 2.5 million girls are victims of bullying. They are targeted by boys who feel that they are superior to girls. Society has contributed to bullying by encouraging young men to intimidate girls as a sign of authority (Thornberg, 2010).

Girls between the ages of 12 and 18 are prone to sexual assault (Beaty et al., 2008). Craven (2008) argues that girls belonging to this age group may be sexually harassed by their peers. High school boys may bully them to impress their macho peers (Thornberg, 2010). Date rape is also a major concern about gender (Osborn, 2011). Some bullies force their partners to have sex with them. They abuse their partners by forcing them to engage in non-consensual sexual activities.

The same figures were evident in 27 other states. Osborne (2011) also asserts that more than fifteen percent of boys have been bullied in the United States. The figures are relatively similar in places such as Western Europe and the Middle East.

The Department of Domestic Relations also reported that bullying constitutes more than thirty-five percent of cases of domestic violence (Beaty et al., 2008). The National Institute of Domestic Affairs states that twenty-nine percent of American girls have been either physically or sexually assaulted by their partners (Kubany et al., 2004). Initial police reports confirmed that the perpetrators were all of a sound mind (Horley, 2011). Sane people commit more than 97 percent of domestic violence crimes. Their actions are usually premeditated. Psychological abusers are always aware of their actions (Beaty et al., 2008).

The National Institute of Domestic Affairs reported that fifty percent of fatal domestic abuse crimes were committed by boys (Kubany et al., 2004). Horley (2011) asserts that boys are generally more aggressive than girls because they produce large amounts of testosterone. Such cases involved children who were protecting their mothers from their violent fathers.

The National Institute of Domestic Affairs reported that nearly 4 percent of fourteen-year-old girls were physically abused by their boyfriends during the summer of 2009 (Horley, 2011). Only 1 percent of teenage boys reported cases of domestic abuse during the same year (Beaty et al., 2008). Osborne (2011) asserts that boys are less likely to admit to domestic abuse.

During the year 2000, 80 percent of female victims admitted that they had been physically or sexually abused (Beaty et al., 2008). The reports confirmed that the attackers were biased towards females. The attackers had displayed rational behavior both before and after they committed the crimes (Craven, 2008).

Race

More than a quarter of all bullying cases are hate crimes. People belonging to different ethnicities are often bullied by bigots (Beaty et al., 2008). More than 100 murders were based on hate crimes in the year 2002 (Horley, 2011). The National Bureau of Statistics reported that hate crimes constitute more than 30 percent of the crimes in the state. Bullying sometimes results in the death of the victim (Osborn, 2011). Some victims have been known to commit suicide (Horley, 2011). Others have used guns and pipe bombs to attack their peers (Craven, 2008). Innocent bystanders are often caught in the crossfire (Horley, 2011).

Teenagers are also prone to domestic violence in the state of Mississippi (Weiss, 2000). According to Craven (2008), 20 percent of teenagers were either physically or emotionally assaulted because of their race. The data was retrieved from a survey conducted by the Department of Domestic Affairs (Craven, 2008).

Scholars have argued that some bullies choose their victims according to their ethnicity (Craven, 2008). The perpetrators often use guilt, fear, and humiliation to subdue their victims (Horley, 2011). In extreme cases, psychological abuse can cause the victim to commit suicide (Craven, 2008).

Some perpetrators project their negative emotions towards their victims. For instance, a student who has poor grades may attack a colleague who belongs to a different ethnic group to vent his academic frustration.

Beaty et al. (2008) argue that perpetrators select their victims about racial stereotypes. Their abusive behavior is not random. They target people who belong to specific ethnic groups (Beaty et al., 2008).

(Kubany et al., 2004) argues that children who are exposed to racial discrimination are more likely to commit the same crimes in the near or distant future. Horley (2011), a consultant at the University of Wisconsin argues that children who are exposed to hate crimes may commit suicide (Osborne, 2011). Some may even attack their peers. During a public seminar in 2007, 42 girls between the ages of twelve and eighteen claimed that they had been bullied because of their race (Kubany et al., 2004).

Discussion

The Department of Domestic Affairs states that 37 teenagers committed suicide in 2003 because of bullying (Craven, 2008). Kuban et al.’s research are therefore inaccurate. Bullying can lead to suicide. Recent research proves that hundreds of young people commit suicide every year (Thornberg, 2010). All of these cases have involved bullying or domestic abuse. Victims are often overwhelmed by their situation. Some victims retaliate by confronting their oppressors. Others feel hopeless while some resort to drug abuse. At least forty percent of such cases lead to suicide. In 2003, a family from Houston, Texas lost their fifteen-year-old son to suicide. Police reports state that the young man was often victimized by some of his peers (Horley, 2011). His family had lived in Texas for less than a decade. Reports state that the family was from Eastern Europe. The same reports state that the boy was victimized because his accent was strange and unfamiliar. His colleagues would often alienate him because he belonged to different ethnicity. However, this was an isolated case. It does not prove that all cases of bullying can lead to suicide.

Research has shown that most bullies choose their victims based on their race, religion, social status, or gender (Craven, 2008). The race is a frequent factor that often leads bullies to victimize demographic minorities (Thornberg, 2010). Kuban et al.’s (2004) research does not include cases of girls bullying boys in schools. However, 12 percent of high school boys admitted to being bullied by girls in Beaty et al.’s (2008) study. According to Osborne (2011), 27 percent of ethnic minorities have been exposed to domestic abuse. Teenage boys are responsible for 21 percent of all hate crimes. Domestic abuse cases involving Hispanic teenage girls account for 12 percent of the population. Horley (2011) suggests that less than 20 percent of Caucasian males are victims of domestic violence. She also notes that most high school boys do not report personal incidences of domestic abuse (Beaty et al., 2008). Kuban et al.’s research did not cater to boys who had been bullied by girls. Boys who are abused by their peers do not always make formal reports (Horley, 2011). They are ashamed of what society might think of them (Beaty et al., 2008). Bullies express their frustration by lashing out at others (Thornberg, 2010). They overcompensate for their insecurity by acting tough and macho (Horley, 2011). Some scholars have argued that bullies are cowards who disguise their fear by picking on defenseless victims (Kubany et al., 2004).

Some bullies may come from unstable households (Craven, 2008). They may even be victims of domestic abuse (Thornberg, 2004). Such cases may create an endless cycle of domestic abuse. The bully may lash out at an innocent bystander (Horley, 2011). The innocent bystander may commit suicide (Horley, 2011). The outcome of bullying is often predictable (Osborne, 2011). Horley (2011) argues that most victims are in a state of denial. They refuse to believe that their peers are hurting them (Osborne, 2011). “It’s easy for victims to say, “Well he doesn’t actually hit me,” but harmful words, threats, name-calling, and manipulation often lead to more serious consequences later down the road” (Selvon, 2011). Some victims are reluctant to leave their abusers (Craven, 2008). Others may lash out at innocent bystanders. “The biggest risk for personal injury in domestic violence relationships comes at the point of separation, which is why most victims are reluctant to leave. Since threats and violence are typically control strategies, the abuser may feel more inclined to react extremely to maintain power. However, the break can be done quickly, efficiently, and safely with a proper plan. Emergency, shelter, and counseling services are available through the Red Cross, Family Rescue, the National Organization of Women, and the National Domestic Abuse hotline. These organizations can help you devise and implement a safe escape plan” (Selvon, 2011). They can also give students hope by encouraging them to speak out against violence (Craven, 2008).

References

Beaty, L. A. & Alexeyev, E. B. (2008). The Problem of School Bullies. What the Research Tells Us, 46(169), 1-11.

Craven, P. & Fleming, J. (2008). Living with the Dominator. A Book about the Freedom Programme, 10(1), 101-121.

Horley, S. (2011, March 20). Consultant, University of Wisconsin. Interview.

Kubany, E. S., McCaig, M. A. & Laconsay, J. R. (2004). Healing the Trauma of Domestic Violence: A Workbook for Women. New Harbinger Self- Help Workbook, 47(1), 89-132.

Osborne, K. (2011, March 20). Professor of Psychology, University of Massachusetts. Interview.

Selvon, M. (2011). Ezine Articles. Web.

Thornberg, R. (2010). Victimizing of School Bullying. Grounded Theory, 29(2), 2-36.

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