Violence in Premarital Relationships
The research paper critically analyses and evaluates incidences of conflicts and or violence in premarital relationships. Issues concerning causes, responses of each member of the couple and therapeutic interventions are tackled in this paper. The development of this paper is restricted to issues relating to dating violence, cohabitation as well as its association with high levels of domestic violence.
According to Allen-Collinson, (2009) violence in premarital relationships is widely characterized by acts of violence which is gender based. However, the violence is widely spread to different aspects of life which affects on how men and women interact. The violence most likely results to sexual, physical and psychological suffering which would either be experienced by either men or women but in most cases women are the most culprits. It also includes threatening of each other by deprivation of liberty or coercion. This can occur in public or privately within those individuals yet to get married.
The violence takes one or a combination of these forms, physical abuse for instance slapping, stabbing, burning, chocking, kicking, beating, sexual abuse for example coerced sex through treats, intimidation or physical force, psychological abuse which include manners that are intended to intimidate and persecute taking the forms of abandonment/abuse, confinement to certain locations, surveillance; economic abuse for instance denial of funds (Ackard & Neumark-Sztainer, 2002).
A study by Arias, Et al. (1997) violence in premarital relationship, a majority of the sample indicated that they encountered abuse when the relationship was at an advanced level. The same was echoed by Aizenman & Kelley (1988).
The causes of this violence have been categorized as cultural, political, drug influence, legal and economic. The remedy or solution to curb this problem include government policies, counselling, media, extensive training and education, legal reforms, advocacy and awareness creation, cooperation at all level in the society, criminalization of the act and making a rational decision before things go out of hand as well as intensive communication between the involved parties (Feather, 1996).
Causes of Premarital Relationships Violence
According to Stets & Straus (1999) there has been empirical evidence that has been derived at what actually triggers violence in most premarital relationship. However, because of the diverse nature and the complexity of trying to analyze the brain of a human being, there are usually many facets that would have fostered this kind of behavior. In the history of the premarital violence on in the 1960 when the society was very strict in trying all means possible to regulate premarital sex did this violence subside? This was known as the era of sexual revolution and it is recorded that premarital sex and the violence that accompanies this form of cohabitation reduced drastically to about 25% recently this is said to be up to 79% with majority of the couples living together without any formal attachment or wedding. Usually the form of violence that usually arises from premarital relationship usually serves as a warning that the partner is an abusive one. However, it is said that 69% of this cases are never reported as they are said to be purported as done out of love, this is only a myth that many uses to defend their actions and prevent their victims from reporting them.
This is the most abused myth about love by many from grown up to teenagers. However, psychologist have analyzed that this is the most trick question that not only youth but even grown up use to lure their partners into having premarital sex. Many people believe that sex is the bond that usually strengthen relationships, so by this fact a couple in a premarital relationship or when dating will coerce their partner into indulging into sex so that they may bond their relationship (Henton. Et al. 1993). Because this is usually a lie when this person is not willing to heed the other partner demands this is usually when problems arise, in this case what follows is rape and later the victim is assured that the partner did that because of the love which they experience with one another or even the victim. Now because the victim is in a state of shock they accept and are comforted by the fact that all their other friends are all having intercourse with their premarital spouses.
Mostly the form of violence that usually arises from this from of relationship is usually said to be intimate partner violence (IPV). The violence is said to be performed by someone intimate to the victim and that they are in a relationship this was coined from the article by Bernard & Bernard (1999). The number one case of this violence usually is rape and is later followed with infliction of physical harm to the victim. The rape part is usually not reported but when the assailant graduates to physical violence then the victim although some still deny that they were assaulted is visible to the families or friend who enquire further and take the affirmative action against the assailant.
The assailant usually after assaulting their spouses engages them into a series of conversation that makes the victim to feel unworthy and guilty of the accused wrongs. Usually they are either mentally disturbed or deranged from drug abuse or have psychological issues when growing up like child molestation. They will tell their victims how they don’t want loose them, they cannot leave without them and how much they love them and that they are only doing that to protect their love. However, this is usually an act to cover up their actions and in the real sense they are trying to transform the other spouse into a mother figure that maybe used to molest them or the one that they did not have (Brownridge & Halli, 2000).
One major causes of premarital relationship violence is usually diagnosed as exhibition of psychopathology. It has been reported that nearly all the cases of premarital violence they are triggered by personality disorder, the kind of violence that are perpetuated by this kind of assailant is usually regarded as severe and chronic. In their study Most & Guerney (1998) notes that the violence episodes are usually a dominant factor that the assailant fosters so that they can control over their spouses. From this cycle of violence there are two categories of violence that usually arise Common Couple Violence (CCV) and Intimate Terrorism (IT).
These two violence cases are usually related through the involvement of control issues that are usually triggered by simple or casual argument; this would eventually escalate and usually have some fatality in the end as most usually end through death or permanent psychological traumas on the victim. Usually the assailant has some personality traits which are chronic behavior that they have adapted from childhood this includes poor impulse control, low self esteem and anger outbursts. Borderline personality has been also been considered to be another factor among male premarital spouses that abuse their spouses, this disorder is usually developed in the early stages of life (Basil, 2004).
This is usually coined from the background of the assailant bringing up. If the spouse is from an abusive family they are bound to harbor these facts and they are viewed as the best way for aligning or clearing disputes. There are many methods that analyst have devised so that combat behavioral violence in premarital and marital violence (Bookwala, 2002). The most effective program has been the behavioral therapy where the mechanism that usually triggers the emotional out burst are appointed and the assailant are taught how to control and manage anger.
This usually the most exploited areas that the abusers use in a natural setup that is usually a misunderstanding of the assailant and the victim. Some of the factors in the social causes of premarital violence include; cultural classification of appropriate sex roles, gender explicit specialization, and relationship roles expectation, male inherent superiority beliefs and violence acceptability as a conflict resolution (Giblin. Et al. 1985).
Cultural classification of appropriate sex roles- This is the earliest means that supports violence against gender mostly female, this is because of the mentality that a man is the head of family and the woman should be subject to his demands. With this mentality a woman in a premarital relationship is subjected to series of violence maybe because they have a child with the assailant and h is the only provider or they are promising to marry that lady (Brownridge & Halli, 2000).
Gender explicit specialization- This is where as young couple get acquitted one is forced to take up the role of a mother and this in some cases means aborting their career because the other spouse approves. Brutz & Ingoldsby (1991) articulates that if the partner refuses then one of the partners even if they don’t assault the victim physically they torment them emotionally with verbal abuse that they are not competent mothers or wife materials.
Relationship roles expectation- this are usually the causes of most premarital violence among many couples living together. Usually what triggers this is sexual intercourse when one partner turns religious and decides that they have to get married so that they may enjoy marital rights of intercourse. The baffled spouse would just shrug off the idea and what follows is rape and later physical violence as the spouse is still adamant that she want to formalize the relationship (Most & Guerney, 1998).
Male inherent superiority beliefs- The idea of man being the dominant factor or the protector has long gone as the law enforce and offer security to all (Brownridge & Halli, 2000). When a man feels that he is superior and this is usually as a result of psychological issues they tend to exercise their superiority on the premarital partners regulating and putting restrictions that are inhumane. When one of the restrictions is broken then there is conflict which the man views as being under estimated. This usually results to emotional outburst which would lead to physical conflict and the results are brutal to the victim. Usually the victim is here made to belief that they are wrong and many of t5hem stick with their abusive partners for so long till later in life when they the violence escalate to unbearable extreme.
Violence acceptability as a conflict resolution- Nearly all victims of premarital violence are self inflicted, this is that they accept the consequences on belief that that would end the conflict. They take the blame on matters they do not have responsibility and they are not the cause of the conflict. Usually the assailant sees this as a weakness and they exploit it causing physical and emotional abuse and discomfort to their victims. However, the victims like become immune and after all the rough treatment they would still go back to their abusive lover claiming that they love them. This usually is associated with social stress that is in the cases where the other person is dependant on the other because of something else (Stets & Straus, 1999).
This has been the most facets that has left many opting for settling for premarital relationship. The victim of the premarital violence based on resources factors is usually dependant fully on the spouse. Most young couple who practice premarital cohabitation has a history either the girl is pregnant or has no shelter, although in other cases all of them are working. The other spouse now takes advantage of the situation and sees it as impairment. These dependency facets makes their partner feel superior, which in many cases after a period of drinking sprees the man would come and not only physically assault the spouse but also sexually abuse her (Aizenman & Kelley, 1988). The spouse has no options that can help them to try and change the behavior of the spouses and they are left in the mercies that they don’t provoke them which are usually a dream.
Fear for financial burden has been also classified as another fact mostly in the cases that the victim in the premarital relationship are impregnated and they have either faint relationship with their family or have no family support at all. The abuser has the financial power over the other spouse and because they want to dominate when the other partner does not concur with the demands of the other, they extort them to performing through abuse, intimidation, isolation and threats of cutting the financial help. In their research Henton Et al. (1993) notes that this will now reduce the spouse into an emotional wreck that feels unworthy and useless from the emotional verbal abused inflicted by the one who is providing.
Increased pressure makes the other party develop certain paranoia that they cannot perform without their spouses; however, this mentality is both harbored by both the assailant and the victim. This has been proved that after in most murder cases the defendant would still continue claiming that they loved their spouses but cannot accounted for the murderous impulse that made them to commit the crime.
When poverty also hit premarital relationship this also triggers violence, this is usually considered that poverty increases stress on the man if mostly he was the bread winner. This factors makes him feel inadequate and the idea of a successful man haunts him, so when the other partner ask for financial assistance is viewed as a means of under estimating their masculinity and the fear of loosing respect and honor triggers violence as a means of portraying control and domination. Usually the husband would now turn to misogyny and substance abuse as alcohol becomes a luxury that they can not afford and the violence escalates (Archer, 2006).
Mental illness causes
Some of the causes discussed usually leads to psychiatric disorders that make premarital violence take on an ugly route that leads to cases of jilted lover murders over slightest infidelity idea or other inferiority aspects that are usually from insinuation or phobias. Illusion and deranged emotion are rampant among the assailant and they shyly hide them from the public that the victim after reporting is always taken bluff. Outside the assailant portrays a composed person but inside he harbors hate and loathes the success of other and only sees that imperfection of others which he vows to change by administering violence to his wife who is the victim of acts that he has no account credibility (Basil, 2004).
Substance abuse, drugs and alcohol causes
Universally this has been the number one factor for all physical violence abuse perpetuated by a human being to another. The effect on substance abuse is usually associated with violence in premarital relationship as well as domestic and marital relationships. However, the assailant usually have earlier the motives of what they are about to perform (Most & Guerney, 1998). Most of them articulate that they have no intention of inflicting harm to their victims after they have done so and blame it on the substance that they had consumed. Premarital relationships are mostly indulged with younger generation that are still into alcohols and abuse of substance and this atmosphere usually generate chances for violence.
Reactions of each member in the conflict
Every human being has feeling and will react when confronted with any situation whether a good or bad situation, this case will also apply to victims of Premarital Relationships Violence, and in this case the individuals who are involved in this kind or relationship is the male and the female, or in other words it is the victims of the violence and the inflictor of the violence (Stets & Straus, 1999).
With variety of reasons ranging from sexual, financial, cultural, behavioral and psychological factors that are seen as some causes resulting to t Premarital Violence in many relationships it becomes very difficult for the victim to take necessary measures that would enable them solve the issue at hand but instead the victims will adopt certain characteristics that will affect their emotional and social lives some include (Feather, 1996).
Suicide thoughts this is where the individual facing the violence will start to think that he/she deserves to die and that is when this individual will opt to think of taking away his life as he/she feels mistreated by the person that he/she loves so much, with these suicide thoughts in the mind of the victim the victim will develop negative attitudes and behaviors such as the abuse of drugs, lack of trust to towards there partners, revenge among other negative thoughts aimed (Bernard & Bernard, 1999).
The person who imposes the violence will see him/herself as a hero/heroine as the individual will see that he/she is very superior to the other person in the relationship and this will make him/her very ignorant and abusive as he will be in control of the relationship that they share, and this would make these individuals to develop and become violent partners later when they marry (Henton. Et al. 1993)
According to Brutz & Ingoldsby (1991) violence in the Premarital Relationships Violence results to some victims adopting a negative perception towards the opposite sex; this depends on the sex of the victim as the individual will stereotype the other sex according to the past violent encounter with his/her violent partner.
Some premarital violence victims opts to sudden termination of the relationship, as they feel offended as their right is violated by their partners, this is what is currently experienced in cases of married as they divorce, this sudden cases of breakups between the young couples will make the youth to lose commitment in any relationship as the individual will be hoping from one relationship to the other without having the relevant skills aimed at resolving the cause of the violence (Ackard & Neumark-Sztainer, 2002).
Therapeutic interventions (solutions)
Various causes of Violence during Premarital Relationships, have been stated in the previous on the previous chapter, on this chapter I am going to preview on the various ways of solving these problems that are being faced by the youths during these vital stage in there life, as it is at this stage that most of the youths are in the process of finding the right partner that will enable them live and build a long lasting relationship that will enable the couples experience a peaceful and happy relationship that has minimal cases of conflict being experienced between the two individuals (Brownridge & Halli, 2000).
Solving violence in premarital relationship can help a lot in the reducing the cases of divorce later in the relationship, many cases of divorce that is currently being experienced in the America and the world today are as a result of lack of respect and violence during the period when the couples were courting, as these form of violence will proceed into the marriage period, and the early the solution of these problem this will result to reduction of cases of divorce by a large number as the couples will be able to understand and love each other reducing these cases of divorce (Arias, Et al. 1997).
Premarital counseling is believed to be among some solutions of premarital violence, this is were the couples are given special advice on the way they are supposed to conduct themselves during this special period when they are trying to establish a relationship which is strong which would lead to a stable marriage and later parenthood, as I had said earlier the counseling of the couples will result to the formation of stronger marriages that cannot be face divorce in the later-on in the relationship, the counseling of the couples who are still courting enables the couples to learn on what role each of them has to play in order to avoid cases of violence between the couples, and its through counseling and guidance that will enable the couples to learn and understand the weaknesses and the role of each other and therefore have a peaceful relationship, the counseling will also turn the violent individual to a responsible person who cares for the partner (Stets & Straus, 1999).
Another solution aimed at reducing the cases of premarital violence is constant consultation and communication between the two partners, rampant communication and consultation between these couples when conducting a very important decision helps a lot in creating a bond between the couples, consultations will make the couples feel that they belong in the same category and no one will feel offended and disrespected, therefore for a peaceful existence between the couples to be experienced it would be wise if the couples build a communication channel that would enable them communicate and freely amongst themselves whenever they conduct a particular action (Aizenman & Kelley, 1988).
The media can also help in solving cases of premarital conflicts, the media has contributed a lot to the cases of premarital violence, and this can be achieved if the media airs programs that depicts love and desist from showing programs that are full of violent, these is what attracts the youths who are in this stage as they start to copy what is being shown to them by the media, as they tend to believe that it is what is expected of them or it’s the new trend around town (Ackard & Neumark-Sztainer, 2002).
New policies should be enforced by the Government; this by the government giving strict penalties to the people that are implicated of practicing premarital violence, through the help of the legislation the government will be able to make it harder for the couples to devices once they are married. With the high numbers of divorce being experienced it makes it easy for the young couples to try out if there marriage would work increasing the cases of divorce but with the introduction of these law it would be difficult for one to conduct a divorce such as making the couples take a longer time before they are issued with the marriage certificate, pay heavy taxes, this will make the couples to try and accommodate each other in order to avoid facing high charges due to the conflict that exists amongst them (Giblin. Et al. 1985).
Another way of solving violence during premarital relationship, would be reporting any case of violence to the relevant authorities, this is when the individual who has been subjected to any kind of violence should reports the matter to the police, parents or the church elders in order for the other individual to be given the necessary treatment and the cause of the conflict to be found this will not only help the person who conducts the violence but it would help establish a long-lasting relationship between the two couples that would later result to the establishment of a stronger marriage (Allen-Collinson, 2009).
The young couples should choose wisely before they decide to establishment a long-lasting relationship, this would help the young couples to evaluate on the behaviors of there prospective partners, through their family background including other aspects. While, when the couples enter into the relationship they would have understood there partners well and would not expect what their partner cannot deliver, and this in some extent reduce cases of frustrations and disappointments amongst the young couples, and in some way this would in some way make it easy for the couples to experience cases of violence during the premarital stage (Archer, 2006). . Educating and Training should be introduced in the youth’s syllabus; this is where the youths in colleges are thought on life skills that are necessary during the time that they are in premarital relationship and it is through this teachings that will make it easy for the youths to conduct themselves in the manner expected of them, the young couples who most of them are dating will benefit from this teachings that they will receive in college and this will to some extent reduce the cases of violence premarital relationship (Bookwala, 2002).
It has been noted with concern that violence in premarital relationships is as high as those violence incidences experienced by the already married couples. Studies carried out has clearly shown that violence of whoever form manifest themselves when the relationship is at a very advanced level let say cohabiting or deeper level of intimacy (Bernard & Bernard, 1999). The causes of such violence have been attributed to factors classified as cultural, economic, political, drug influence and legal.
The response of the involved party usually vary for instance those violated against may just keep their mouth shut and pretend nothing happen, others opt to revenge through whatever means, some end the relationship while others report the incident to parents, some commit suicide, drug abuse, negative feelings towards the opposite sex, friends and to other relevant authorities.
To curb this problem which is increasing at a very alarming rate, the paper proposes a number of ways, for instance reforming and implementing government policies, counselling, media, extensive training and education, legal reforms, advocacy and awareness creation. Cooperation at all level in the society, criminalization of the act and making a rational decision before things go out of hand as well as intensive communication between the involved parties.