Domestic violence has been a long-time issue not only to Grenada, but worldwide. Here in the Caribbean, it is believed that 1 in every 3 women will experience some form of domestic violence (Joseph, nd). Likewise, over one third of the region’s women reported incidence of intimate or sexual violence (Joseph, nd). In Grenada, it has been estimated for the period 2012 to 2016 that over 1000 women and over 700 men have been victims of domestic violence (Alexander, 2017).
In the United States, 1 in every 4 women and 1 in every 7 men have experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
It is also stated that domestic violence accounts for 15 percent of all violent crimes (NCADV, 2019).
Domestic violence is also referred to as Intimate Partner Violence (IPV). It is defined as “a pattern of assaultive and coercive behaviors that may include inflicted physical injury, psychological abuse, sexual assault, progressive social isolation, stalking deprivation, intimidation and threats. These behaviors are perpetrated by someone who is, was, or wishes to be involved in an intimate or dating relationship with an adult or adolescent” (Munoz-Rojas, 2014).
Intimate partner violence has impacted both men and women because both can either be a victim or perpetrator. However, based on research, men appear to be aggressors as opposed to women (Oliver, 2011; Munoz-Rojas, 2014).
Domestic violence is often seen as just physical abuse but it can also involve, sexual, emotional, psychological, verbal and even financial abuse. Nevertheless, physical abuse is most prevalent of all because it has noticeable cues. In addition, several factors are responsible for domestic violence.
They include, substance abuse, infidelity, stress, unemployment, education, age, women empowerment, dominance, shame, guilt and history of violence in the abuser. Moreover, it has been said that IPV can have lasting negative effects on its victim. Some of the most prevalent ones include: depression, eating disorders, suicidal behaviors, homelessness, loss of job, etc. It may also lead to organic health issues such as heart problems, stomach ulcers, Asthma and much more (Oliver, 2011).
IPV is a common trend here in Grenada which possesses a significant threat to the wellbeing of the victims and others within proximity. Over the years, there has been an increase in the number of cases of domestic violence in the community of Paradise, St. Andrew. The rise is more significant amongst young adult men between the ages 18-35, against women amongst the same age group or even older. Most young men that engage in such a deviant act are usually, unemployed, victims of violence as a child, substance abusers and high school dropouts.
The purpose of the study is to find out the factors influencing the attitudes of young adult males to IPV in the village of Paradise, St. Andrew. In, doing so, I will be better able to design an intervention that would target the perpetrators of the violence. This could help to prevent the perpetuation of such violence.
The research could be of importance to the stakeholders involved. The stakeholders include the perpetrators, victims, bystanders and community members. It can inform the stakeholders, like policy makers of attitudes that influence domestic violence and what can be reduced. They can use this information to create policies that can curb the issue of domestic violence. Lastly, it can be beneficial to the public by increasing their awareness and subsequently diminishing the stigma associated with it.
Domestic violence has been an issue for both men and women globally. Attitudes towards gender-based violence, specific to woman had been a main concern to many societies. These attitudes and responses of others play a role in the continuation of domestic violence cycle. Consequently, there have been numerous studies done on the factors influencing the attitudes of young adult males to domestic violence.
Studies have shown that there is a correlation between attitudes and IPV. According to Flood and Pease (2009) Attitudes have a fundamental and unintentional relationship between the maintenance of violence against women. Nevertheless, there is unswerving evidence that shows the link between violence-supported beliefs and values and prolongation of violent behavior at both individual and community level (Flood & Pease, 2009).
Likewise, the Socio- Ecological model, which was coined by Heise (1998) and adapted from Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological model 1974 purported that, individual development and behaviors are derived from the interaction between social systems that the individual is included in. The theory went on the say that individual attitudes towards domestic violence are shaped by the interaction amongst individual relationships, community and societal factors (Munoz-Rojas, 2014).
According to the theory, at the individual level, People have set biological and personality traits and a personal history which would shape their behaviors and interactions with their community and society (Munoz-Rojas, 2014). On the other hand, at the relationship level, contact happens between people and persons who are close to them (significant partners, peers, family members). One of these interactions, such as parent’s relations, can shape attitudes about violence (Munoz-Rojas, 2014). At the community level, schools, neighborhoods and workplaces provide the context in which people and relationships exist. The community highlights the attitudes and behaviors that is associated with domestic violence (Munoz-Rojas, 2014).
Finally, at the societal level, cultural norms (gender and relationship norms) create an environment in which violence is encouraged or inhibited. These norms help to maintain economic or social inequalities among groups in society (Munoz-Rojas, 2014). It is also argued that attitudes are significant for domestic violence in three areas. They include, the perpetuation of gender- based violence; women’s response to this ill-treatment and the community and institutional responses to IPV against women (Flood & Pease, 2009).
Flood & Pease (2009) stated that persons outside IPV cycle have a different response towards IPV than the victims and the perpetrators who are inside the cycle. People on the outside can engage in “violence condoning” and are likely to “victim blame” rather than being empathic and supportive. They are more likely to be compassionate to the offenders and less likely to report this issue of violence to the police (Flood & Pease, 2009; Munoz-Rojas, 2014). Perhaps this is why IPV has continued in Grenada and in the community of Paradise, St. Andrew.
Likewise, Flood & Pease (2009); Munoz-Rojas (2014) stated that societal attitudes also influence the formal responses of professionals and institutions to the victims and offenders of IPV. These professionals and institutions include police officers, judges, priests, social workers, doctors, etc. Nyack, Byrne, Martin and Abraham (2003) conducted a study and discovered that the attitudes of these same individuals have generated ineffective and inappropriate responses towards female victims (Flood &Pease, 2009; Munoz-Rojas, 2014). Based on my observation and experience, the ideas presented here can be occurring in the community of Paradise and in Grenada on a large scale.
Attitudes are instrumental in the understanding of IPV because they impact expectations of what is deemed acceptable behaviors. Investigations in the above mention subject matter found that there are several factors that are responsible for the creation of attitudes towards domestic violence. Numerous studies have revealed that sociocultural factors have an impact on attitude formation.
WHO (2009) stated that both cultural and social norms are influential sources of attitude formation to IPV. Cultural and social norms are referred to as “rules or expectations of behavior within a specific cultural or social group” (WHO,2009, np). It is stated in the report that these rules offer ideals for appropriate and inappropriate behaviors. Therefore, they indicate a sense of what is right verses what is wrong (WHO, 2009). In my experience, it appears that IPV has become a part of Grenada’s norm and perhaps this could explain the lack of response.
Diverse cultural and social norms support different types of violence (WHO, 2009; Flood & Pease, 2009). For example, traditionally, it believed that all men should have the right to have dominion over women through physical force, which may have made women subjected to IPV. Similarly, there is a cultural acceptance for violence that is sexual in nature. People in society tend to see this as a private affair. This can obstruct invention and avert those who are affected by it to speak out and get the support that they need. (Flood & Pease, 2009; WHO, 2009; Munoz- Rojas, 2014; O’Neil and Morgan, 2010)
Societal factors (mass media) community factors (peer groups and informal social relations, religion, spirituality, and churches) and individual factors (age and development) are instrumental in the formation of attitudes towards IPV. (Flood & Pease, 2009; & Sanaa, 2012; Cundiff, 2013; Munoz- Rojas, 2014) Additionally, studies have found that social acceptance of domestic violence is passed from generation to generation which contributed to the maintenance of IPV. It is further stated in Munoz- Rojas (2014) intimate partner violence impacted the values of offenders. In a study done by Muntaha, Nesrin and Sanaa (2012) it was found that individuals’ perception of violence is shaped by their exposure to the said violence (Munoz- Rojas, 2014). Therefore, it is possible that offenders of IPV within my community may have experienced some form of violence in their lifetime and can be repeating it.
Most prevention intervention method are geared towards victim; however, there is a vast amount of literature on inventions that involve men to prevent IPV/ domestic violence. One of the common prevention methods involves local education strategies which includes ‘social norms’ and ‘bystander intervention’ campaigns.
Social norm campaigns can begin by identifying and seeking to modify men’s perception of IPV. Changing one man’s violence supportive and sexist norms can lead him to enact change in other men and extend the life of the intervention. Gathering and processing information on men’s attitudes and behaviors towards IPV can inform intervention creators to specially design programs that will target and destabilize men’s traditionalism. This may increase their willingness to change their violent behavior (Flood, 2011). This intervention can specifically target offenders and this can be an effective strategy for the men in the Paradise community.
On the other hand, the bystander campaigns place a sense of duty and enablement for ending IPV on the shoulders of all community members. These campaigns teach both men and women skills in reducing risky situations, being effective partners for survivors, and foster a sense of community responsibility for violence prevention. By approaching witnesses (men and women) sexual violence, attitudes, knowledge and behavior can improve (Flood, 2011; Flood & Pease, 2009).