Wife beating/Wife battering

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Violence against women has been a long-standing problem and unfortunately been incorporated as an accepted practice in some cultures. The two terms are not interchangeable but are two separate concepts of unacceptable behavior ranging from physical, sexual and emotional abuse as well as emotional deprivation against a spouse or significant other. Wife beating, sometimes thought to be more frequent, is physical aggression that occurs in 85% of industrialized countries according to the text. On the other hand, wife battering is repeated assault with the intent of the abuser to maintain complete control of the female. This situation escalates in severity and frequency and could lead to homicide. Control issues or cultural beliefs may be some of the factors that lead to these situations. For example, the Hispanic culture has the very strong machismo trait of male domination and the Native Americans are also the domineering males although, interestingly, they are a matriarchal society in that the Clan Mothers have a voice in many important issues, at least in the Iroquois Nation here in New York State with whom I have many close friends. Both beating and battering cause physical and mental problems, and should raise a flag of suspicion for the forensic trained nurse. Both require assessment and intervention to prevent the female from becoming a statistic. According to the text Forensic Nursing by Lynch, 49 studies from 36 countries showed the highest prevalence (up to 52%) of wife beating/wife battering among the Arabs, Palestinians, in Nicaragua, Korea and New Zealand. “Other relatively high prevalence areas included Antigua, Barbados, Egypt, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, India, Kenya, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Uganda, Turkey and [surprisingly] the UK” Lynch and Duvall (p. 54, 2006). The US, Switzerland, Canada, Philippines and South Africa were much less at 20% to 30%. Norway, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Cambodia, South Africa and Zimbabwe were only between 10 and 20%. Being a native Norwegian, I can speak to this, since Scandinavia is largely a matriarchal society, based on its Viking heritage. I suppose this stems from the days when the women were left on their own to raise their large families while the men went to sea and therefore had to become independent! References Lynch, Virginia A. and Duvall, Janet Barbara. (2006). Forensic Nursing. (p.56-58). Elsevier Mosby: St. Louis.

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