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Spouse Abuse in the US: Functional Analysis Theory Research Paper

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Updated: Oct 7th, 2021


This paper talks clearly about how the spousal abuse is deducted in the American society and the relevant factor that is attributed to, the paper clearly demystifies and bring for that various kind of spousal abuse their reasons of happening. In this paper, I would like to embrace the various reasons that can be embrace in tackling spousal conflicts. In trying to solve the conflicts I will incorporate the theory of social activities so that can clearly distinguish the problems that encounter them.

This paper clearly examines the functional theory and application in the real-life situation by focusing on the impact causes and the prevention of the spousal issues through the incorporation of the positive aspect of the theory. The conclusion generally focuses on the cause of spousal conflict and entails how it emerges as a result of a misunderstanding between the two parties and this in return usually results in one party being blamed for the action. Generally, this is not usually the case since unless there is mutual understanding between the two parties in the house the conflicts will still prevail.

Causes of spouse abuse

The main concern entails the increased cases of violence between spouses in the US that are reported. In this capacity, not only spouses abuses among the whites are going to be looked at but all cases of abuses involving all types of couples in the U.S. i.e. all races found in the U.S.To start with, I would say that there are many types of spousal abuse that are actually experienced by different spouses. for example, we have; Emotional abuse which can also be said to be mental abuse where spouses suffer emotionally especially when one is undergoing depression due to psychological torture.

Another type of abuse is domestic violence which commonly is through physical assault as a result of domestic issues like financial problems, differences arising from disagreement or misunderstanding between couples on family issues and. The above-mentioned types of assaults are caused by various reasons. To begin with, is domestic violence. You find that most cases of violence that are reported are those of domestic violence. This is due to a lot of misunderstandings between the spouses starting from financial issues when there is a rift between the two spouses in relation to their status.

They always tend to differ on issues on fiancé if there is no well-stipulated way of managing finances. If this is the case then you find that the man always wants to be in control and whatever he says is always the final which is normally unaccepted by the American women and all educated women due to their knowledge of having a right to property and right to expression, so each of them will prove to be tough and this is where violence erupts.

Another cause of abuse is when a spouse is involved in an unfaithful marriage, for example, one spouse is involved in an extramarital affair then the other discovers and decides to table it for discussion (Giles-Sims, 1983). The unfaithful spouse may deny the accusation and resort to physical assault of his/her spouse which may lead to killings so as to avoid court ruling of divorce in case requested by the abused spouse.

Unfaithfulness has been reported to be the most common cause of spouse abuse in the U.S (Tjaden, 2001). This is also rampant with interracial marriage since some spouses only marry one another for other interests and not on the ground of love therefore after they are satisfied they emotionally or physically abuse their spouses. Besides, unfaithfulness can also be caused by the inability of a partner to perform conjugal rights to their spouses which may later result in violence.

However, spousal abuse is also caused by drug abuse. This commonly occurs when one spouse has involved drugs and is totally addicted to them; drugs are some of the most dangerous commodities taken that can totally ruin somebody’s life and family as a whole. In America, drugs are reported to be used by many youths especially middle-aged who are married. It is noted that many of the drug addicts abuse their spouses both physically and emotionally in that they become violent after consuming the drugs and resort to picking up a quarrel with their spouses which later result in beatings that may end in death.

Men after being drug addicts, go as far as forgetting their responsibility and abandon their families who undergo psychological torture due to worries and fear of losing the head of the family (Koss, 1991). Women are always the most vulnerable to this type of abuse. That is why divorce cases and single mothers are rampant in the U.S.

Nonetheless, sexual spousal abuse in America is very apparent especially on women and mostly in nonwhite women who are misused for the exchange of cash. Some are forced to sleep without their consent especially those who are flown from different countries to go for the purpose of becoming house helps. Sexual abuse is also practiced between married spouses in that one spouse forces another to engage in sex even if the spouse is not willing to do so. This cause of abuse has always been neglected by many in society because people believe that such cannot occur, unfortunately, women are always the most affected.

Last but not least, spousal abuses have also been caused by the rising issue of Equality in our society. This is due to the fact that men have always seen themselves as superior beings thereby failing to recognize women’s efforts towards any development they try to bring about. They have always been viewed as lesser beings and therefore any attempt to be equal is shunned resulting in emotional abuse and physical violence in that an argument may arise and if a woman tries to impose her ideas then she is shut down either by insults or beating that is why the fight for equality is taken seriously by the Americans so that the men may try to understand and appreciate women by all means.

Statistics of spouse abuse in the US

In the U.S, the gender that is most vulnerable is female. Women have turned out to be the most abused spouse by their male counterparts. It is found out that many women adding to about 3 to 4 million are either abused physically, sexually, or emotionally through rape, assault, or harassment annually. Since these cases are so many ones cannot actually estimate the exact number since others even go unreported. But still, you find that in every four women, three are battered in any of the above-mentioned ways (Steinmetz, 1980). Therefore it is possible to say that almost three-quarters of both married men and women and those in a relationship in the U.S undergo different kinds of battery by their spouses.

What could be going on in the US?

There is a possibility that an uncountable number of spouses are going through hell, this is to mean that quite a number are suffering the pains of abuses and they are not in apposition to let it out i.e. bring it to light. They are either experiencing sexual abuse, physical violence, or emotional abuse this including men even though there are organizations formed to counteract the batteries, for example, Movement against Spouse Battery.

Some of the reasons why most women and men keep silent with their plight are: Some see it as a shame to reveal whatever is taking place in their marriage because they think that it’s only happening to them no especially sexual abuse inside marriage or cases of rape, the victims will feel ashamed to report because they feel dirty and have a thought that the may be rejected and looked down upon by the society and it is reported that most rape cases are the least reported yet the most frequent in an America. The victims feel they no longer belong and can’t fit in the society anymore. Another good reason is the prevailing poverty in the slum areas in the U.S.

There are many whites and nonwhites who are enslaved with poverty and cannot afford a decent life they long for and therefore just accept abuse to go on because that could be the only source of livelihood which makes them remain silent. The same related reason is that of a woman whose husband is the sole provider and fears losing the provider of her needs, women prefer suffering silently to ruining the life of her children by lacking someone to provide for the basic needs.

However some spouses fear to share out their suffering especially those who are respected in society, fear losing dignity, and feel that his or her juniors will look down upon him and even go further to defy his commands. Tang “this also happens to staunch church followers and leaders, especially a pastor whom the society always expect to be perfect may not be in a position to share out the plight because once it has leaked out then they will feel not worthy even before God so the see it better to protect their Image from criticism (1994).

It is also noticeable that most spouses do not report the batteries because they may be charged with being on the wrong due to the influence that a spouse may have on the other for example a man being able to win a case because of his money then the woman will be mentioned guilty of provoking the man. Another possible way a woman may be said to be in the wrong is when they look at the cases on the basis of tradition where a woman is regarded as one who should take orders and submit to a man no matter what. In this case, a woman can never win and the man takes advantage.

Though many organizations have come up to fight the abuses, they haven’t achieved their mission because still a lot of cases are reported and not acted upon and some are never reported at all. So it is clear that the movements formed should be encouraged to tighten up their belt by creating awareness to the society to enable them to bring out to light their plight and stop being afraid of any of the above reasons for silently suffering since this will be the only way to reduce the high rate of abuses occurring in the U.S. Churches should also come out strongly to fight the battery that has taken a toll in the society by accepting the humiliated and counseling them, as well taking stern action against the victimizers regardless of race, religion or status of the victimizer.

The theoretical model that is brought about in this concept emphasis much on the functional theory which basically emphasis how when one has been exposed to some particular type of violence he will definitely try to advocate his resultant situation to another party. This is in contrast to another individual who had not yet been exposed to such violence. In this case, the most likely person to enact the violence in his or her home will be the one who has either had a chance to experience the type of violence.

In most cases the growth aspect that entails where a child is caught up in a position where the parents have a daily account of violence, it is most probably the same child will embrace these issues with time and as he or she grows up the memories of the dubious cats will still foster In their minds. In a trying scenario, the justification of the violent experience will be learned.

The words that are depicted or that are uttered from the mouths of the parents are the same words that children usually try to emulate and in so doing there usually end up trying to implement them (Goode, 1971). In so doing they end up incorporating all these issues in their lifetime. In some instances, the children who have been abused sexually or forced to undergo through some series of tough times may be forced to reciprocate the same in the future so as to fulfill their anger towards solving the psychological crisis that has lingered in them over those years.

By embracing the theoretical aspect entailing the social learning model, this aspect of spousal abuse is clearly depicted and can be attributed to all the wrongdoings that can occur within the family setup.

The perspective of the Functional analysis is that society as a whole is composed of various parts, each with a function that, when fulfilled contributes to society’s equilibrium. The emphasis laid down by the theory asserts that the society is composed of the various part that when combined together brings into account a functional unit that is effective. The functional theory clearly tries to understand the surrounding within the social phenomenon and comes out with the actions and purpose towards making all of them have a vital, meaning in the society. When norms are broken and social action is entailed, it is possible that when the approaches of solving such problems are not properly addressed, the society will clearly fail to cope up with the attributed situations (Dobash, 1979).

In general, the concept of functional analysis is dependent on factors such as the methods employed the theory that has been observed, and the overall aspect of the information that has been collected that pertains to the social phenomenon at hand.

The theoretical attribute of the functional analysis entails the group set that embraces a particular occupation and it is through this aspect that the term function is coined to mean an occupation. Through functional analysis, a general definition can be obtained whereby the various intergrading of cultural factors can occupy a particulars stand in order to come up with a system that clearly forms a whole unit.

This unit works in coordination with the other joined parts, therefore, forming a synchronized working society. It is therefore evident that the functional theory is a concept that has to go hand in hand with the culture of a particular group since it is through this culture that the integration of the various societal norms and attributes can be entailed. The overall purpose of the function is to try and bring forth the corrective measures and try to implement the various favorable conditions that can be able to promote the ethical principles within the society.

In the theoretical concept of functional analysis, the aspect of punishment of a mistake committed can be portrayed as being focused towards a particular group primarily and directed towards the individual offender secondarily. in order to clearly understand the concept of the functional theory, one has to be able to clearly distinguish between the objective accounts of the sociological impacts with the subjective misconceptions without fail so as to avoid the conflicts of interest in the parties that are concerned.

The entire concept of functionalism can be geared toward the abuse that has been seen vividly in America. The spousal abuses in reality do not necessarily entail women but it also has men inside. the main difference that emerges in this situation is that spousal abuse is centered on women. the concept of understanding the overall goal of the social phenomenon comes in this section trying to understand the real cause of the problems that attribute to the performance of the criminal act, in this case, the spousal abuse committed.

The contribution of spousal abuse in American society results in an overall understanding of how the various sociology calm phenomenon can be used to bring peace within differing factions. The position at which various contradictions are entailed in this theory clearly portrays the changes that are stipulated for example the concept of values in the society and the destruction of the societal norms definitely contribute to the spousal conflicts. Social action entails when there is a conflict of various parties and unless peace is entailed there will still emerge the same conflicts.

Since the behaviors that are seen in the society are considered as structural, spousal abuse ought to foster this concept by the two parties taking the initiative to work together so as to come up with a well-formulated understanding system. the spousal persons, in this case, form the family structure and this concept working together using this theory will make them clearly focus on the.this theoretical application also tend to embrace the concept of reproduction and the general concept of the population which when integrated together will solve the spousal concept as this two-aspect.


My plan is to apply the functional analysis theory to my topic by examining why spouses get abuse and how the abuser is perceived in society. I will also explain how spouse abuse affects the individual in society.

It has been observed that the cause of spousal conflict may emerge as a result of a misunderstanding between the two parties and this in return usually results in one party being blamed for the action. Generally, this is not usually the case since unless there is mutual understanding between the two parties in the house the conflicts will still prevail.

When domestic violence is entailed in the household setup, the spouse will tend to embrace enmity a factor that clearly prevents understanding as a whole. the onset of domestic violence has been seen as emancipating as a result of the physical assault as a result of domestic issues like financial problems, differences arising from disagreement or misunderstanding between couples on family issues and. The above-mentioned types of assaults are caused by various reasons.in order to stop these acts of violence the societal norms have to be fostered for everyone at every time so that peace and understanding can develop in a situation where the couples are often at loggerheads.


Dobash, R. (1979). Aggression that encounters the housewives. New York: Free Press.

Gelles, R. J. (1983). “Community in charge of speculation.” In The murky elevation of family: existing Family hostility Research. Sage.

Giles-Sims, J. (1983). The beating up if the wives: An organization hypothesis 00loom. New York: Guilford.

Goode, W. (1971). Force and Violence in the Family. Journal of Marriage and the Family 33:624–636.

Koss, M. P. (1991). Marital brutality: occurrence in a state-run taste of scholar. Aggression and fatalities 6:250–256.

Steinmetz, S. K. (1980). Behind Closed Doors: Violence in the American Family. New York: Doubleday/Anchor.

Tang, C. S. (1994). Predominance of wife mistreatment in Hong Kong. Journal of Family Violence 9:350–356.

Tjaden, P. (2001). Commonness and penalty of close associate sadism as considered by the condition sadism in opposition to Women 6:144–161.

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