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Domestic Violence and Women in Abusive Relationships Essay

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Updated: Feb 4th, 2022

Domestic violence experienced by women in families all over the world is a controversial social problem the causes of which are closely associated with definite psychological questions. That is why the issue of domestic violence is actively discussed not only in specialized research articles on psychology but also in articles from many popular newspapers and magazines because of the question’s urgency and its controversial character. It is important to concentrate on the validity of statements that can be presented in popular and scholarly resources in relation to their practical appropriateness for the further discussion of the research question in detail. According to Cozby, validity can be faced, construct, convergent, concurrent, and criterion-oriented in relation to its type (Cozby, 2004). Statements and arguments on the topic of domestic violence experienced by women, which are proposed in popular and peer-reviewed articles, can be discussed from the perspective of their validity and usefulness for academic research. Peer-reviewed articles on the topic of domestic violence are more useful for the research because they follow the principle of construct validity and provide supported conclusions when articles from popular magazines do not present the necessary support for arguments, and these statements cannot be discussed as credible.

The article “Domestic Violence among the Wealthy Hides behind ‘Veil of Silence’” presented in Newsweek discusses the issue of violence and abusive behaviours towards women. One of the main arguments of the article is the statement that spouses are inclined to continue following their abusive behaviours even realizing the sufferings of women (Shapiro, 2013). Despite the fact the author of the article discusses a controversial problem of domestic violence against women based on the data from recent researches and focusing on such causes for violence as the problematic economic state of the family, the article lacks sufficient theoretical background for discussing the problem because of its purpose to draw the audience’s attention to the issue depending on emotions, but not on facts. That is why, the articles’ statements and arguments are based on examples from the lives of famous persons and words of famous psychologists on the topic (Shapiro, 2013). The focus of the article is domestic violence in the lives of wealthy people as a counterargument to the idea that violence at home is typical for poor families because of their financial hardship. It is possible to speak about face validity in relation to the content and arguments presented in the article because provided conclusions and statistics are superficial (Cozby, 2004).

The discussion of domestic violence in the above-mentioned article is triggered by a situation of killing the girlfriend of Oscar Pistorius in South Africa. The next article “3 Women a Day Killed by a Partner in South Africa” presented in Time aims to provide a more general discussion of the social situation in South Africa and possible psychological causes for domestic violence. The provided statistics on domestic violence in South Africa intend to evoke definite people’s emotions, but not to provide the results of studies in detail. Moreover, the data and statistical results are often generalized. Thus, it is stated in the article that there are “few places for South African girls to be safe: many are raped in their homes by a relative or family friend; many are raped at school, often by teachers; only a quarter are raped by someone they do not know” (Faul, 2013). Using such words as ‘few’, ‘many’, and ‘often’, the author generalizes the data, but does not present the real numbers. The presented facts cannot be discussed as relevant and reliable to be used in research on the topic. The article depends on the principle of face validity when the article’s results and conclusions cannot be fully supported or guaranteed.

The article “Men Who Hate Women” provided in Newsweek also underlines a problem of domestic violence. The article starts with a discussion of the definite case related to the young Italian woman. The problems associated with the case are analyzed with references to a psychological component of the problem provided in the largest part of the article. Many Italian women experience abuse during problematic periods of their family relationships when men cannot admit the fact of their love story’s end (Nadeau, 2013). Although the article cannot be discussed as a scholarly source, the details presented in it are rather useful to see the problem from a new perspective. However, accents are made on drawing the public’s attention to the problem, but not on the detailed discussion of all the possible causes and consequences associated with the issue. From this point, all the mentioned articles published in popular magazines can be discussed only in relation to face validity.

However, psychological causes for being violent in spouse relations and effects of domestic violence on the women’s psychological state are discussed in the works by Peters, Shackelford, and Buss and by Iverson and Bauer. In their article, Peters, Shackelford, and Buss focus on the origins of domestic violence from the evolutionary approach (Peters, Shackelford, & Buss, 2002). The researchers pay attention to the fact that the rate of domestic violence decreases in correlation to an increase in women’s age. Thus, there is a direct connection between female sexuality, women’s reproductive age, and rate of the abusive behaviours in families. The researchers’ hypothesis is supported with references to the conducted study including 3,969 participants’ cases (Peters, Shackelford, & Buss, 2002). Therefore, it is possible to refer to the construct validity of the research because the research’s findings are factual and realistic, and they are supported with credible data (Cozby, 2004, p. 80). In their turn, Iverson and Bauer focused on examining physical health effects associated with the psychological pressure and violence at home experienced by women. The researchers found that representatives of ethnic minorities suffered more from the abusive behaviours of their spouses. The results were derived based on the survey conducted (Iverson & Bauer, 2013). The article’s content can be also discussed from the point of construct validity along with the work by Peters, Shackelford, and Buss.

To discuss the question of domestic violence against women in relation to associated psychological factors, it is necessary to refer to the above-mentioned scholarly articles because of their dependence on actual studies within the filed. Although ideas presented in the articles from popular magazines are interesting and rather provocative in their nature, the articles’ content lacks the necessary support for the statements provided. It is difficult to check the correctness of the data provided in these articles. Moreover, statements of the psychologists mentioned in popular magazines and statistics used cannot be discussed as relevant because of the absence of necessary references. That is why only peer-reviewed articles can lend scholarly support to the research question based on construct validity. On the contrary, relying on face validity is inappropriate for developing any successful academic research.


Cozby, P. (2004). Methods in behavioral research. USA: McGraw-Hill.

Faul, M. (2013). 3 Women a Day Killed by a Partner in South Africa. Time. Web.

Iverson, K., & Bauer, M. (2013). Differential associations between partner violence and physical health symptoms among Caucasian and African American help seeking women. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 5(2), 158–166.

Nadeau, B. (2013). Men Who Hate Women. Newsweek. Web.

Peters, J., Shackelford, T., & Buss, D. (2002). Understanding domestic violence against women: Using evolutionary psychology to extend the feminist functional analysis. Violence and Victims, 17(2), 255-264.

Shapiro, E. (2013). Domestic Violence among the Wealthy Hides behind ‘Veil of Silence’. Newsweek. Web.

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