Violence in opposition to women is one of the major social problems that have cause serious problems inside the criminal justice system. Rape as well as battering of ladies is not only an ancient social issue, but it also represents a wider cultural trouble within society. For many years, women have been regarded as the weaker species that must be dominated and checked. Prior to the gaining of women rights, guys and society in general placed restrictions over women in a manner that it was even accepted for guys to be violent against women for disobedience or to compel a woman to act in a particular manner against their will due to the fact as this was a woman’s duty. Regrettably, this type of thinking still continues in some of the men in society today with victims of rape and violence still finding them being blamed for this crimes even in courts of law.
Traditionally, there has existed, in the criminological literature, certain apprehension between the school which favors individualized rationalization for criminal behavior; mostly based on psychological theories, and the school which makes the case that crime represents a social situational occurrence; an outcome of social structures but never varied pathology in individuals. This notwithstanding, there has emerged another approach that has frequently gone unnoticed or omitted. This fact is that the work criminologists do is principally social. (Few-Demo & April 170). Up to the level which criminology relates to the study of the reality that is crime and perpetrators, the work criminology does is to shape how society confronts these realities and acts in response to these issues (Few-Demo & April 170).
Consequently, It is inadequate that criminologists contest between the individual or social methods society uses to understand criminal behavior, but not place these discussions within the proper context social, or social policy, context. Putting it more in more functionalist paradigm, crime is the behavior which is proscribed by criminal law particularly for their consideration in any way, as either offensive or harmful. The straightforward description, nonetheless, brings to the fore a number of questions.
These include: Whose decision is it on that which is offensive or harmful and which is not? Can harmful behaviors not be viewed as a crime, or are certain crimes which are not really harmful? Is it that particular people are more inclined to be viewed as criminals more than others as a result of their attributes which include gender, race and ethnicity, social class, age, and other features of the person’s social backgrounds?
Such issues underpin the sociological analysis of crime, of which violence against women is among, is a unique form of deviance. Types of behavior which violate social standards and provoke sharp social condemnation are defined as deviance. This description signals the familiar sociological perspective that deviance does not represent a feature of specific behavior itself and instead is the outcome of that which other people consider the behavior to be. Such perspective is reproduced in a frequently referred to citation from the sociologists who argued a number of decades ago that deviance was not a feature of the act committed by the individual, and instead is the result of the rules and sanctions which others apply to such ‘offender.’ This deviant is the person on who this label becomes effectively put on: Consequently deviant behavior may be considered only as the behavior which others label as so. (Jacobs & Klesse 130)
Such description brings to mind the fact that certain harmful behaviors, for example, white-collar crime, might not be perceived as deviant behavior thus failing to lead to any severe legal punishment, probably also so considering that wealthy people execute them. This aspect is an additional reminder to the fact that various less harmful behaviors, for instance prostitution, might be regarded as highly deviant as a result of the public considering the behavior morally wrong and also due to the notion that it is poor people who take part in them. With the implication of these possibilities, the applying of the criminal label on the offender becomes problematic. Individuals who have been arrested or received conviction for some crime might actually no have taken part in any really harmful behavior Public Concern about Crime
The public is generally concerned with crime such as gender violence with many of the mainly contentious problems associated with the criminal justice system currently only represent response to what is referred to by critics of the current criminal justice system assert, are faulty outcomes of previous issues. Chief among the social problems that are today associated with criminal justice is the social problem of gender based violence. The growing dissatisfaction with the current situation arises from the fact that violence against women is not considered to have been adequately and eventually dealt with.
The purpose of the criminal justice system is the protection of victims, arresting and the prosecuting of the offender, as well as provision of outreach programs for victims. There needs to be more anonymity for the victims of rape and battery because so many victims are too scared to come forward, afraid of retaliation from the offender or their life being put on trial in court. Minorities are greatly underserved when it comes to victim outreach so there needs to be more support for these individuals such as multilingual services and minority staff offered to this group of individuals.
It has been theorized that a single objective in Male-instigated violence against women is to control the female sexuality, as well as the prevention of unfaithfulness. (Jacobs & Klesse 130). According to the theory, violence against women differs according to a woman’s reproductive qualities and anticipated reproduction in the future, dissipating sharply with the aging of women. Sociologists have tested this premise in their study, Understanding Domestic Violence against Women: Using Evolutionary Psychology to Extend the Feminist Functional Analysis and the resulting information established that the incidence of violence against women decline as the women get older, while younger men were most at risk of being violent against a woman. This discourse examines the theoretical repercussions of the results and recommends a modification in the feminist theory of violence against women.
It is generally maintained that in the U.S, the existence of the present day area of violence against women is the result of the1970s recurrence of the women rights movement. This same time saw a sudden increase in scholarship in the field of violence against women in the United States, as more women joined studies in various disciplines such as law philosophy, psychology, anthropology, literature as well as sociology and recording their experiences of women being victims of violence (Thompson et al. 17).
Majority of the women viewed these subjects from the perspective of feminist ideology which considered patriarchy to be the causative reason for violence against women, (Thompson et al. 19). Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rape; (Thompson et al. 21). The trauma in incest is largely considered from the perspective of issues of violence from intimate partnerships. These came from the basic action by women voluntarily joining collectively in smaller, awareness-increasing groupings and discussing diverse experiences as women (Thompson et al. 64). This revealed violence to be a rampant aspect of the lives of women; that violence, rape and incest victims were known to them; formal reaction to the victims was mostly unquestionably against the women; assistance and support services for these victims practically did not exist; and the empirical data relating to the subjects was regrettably deficient. (Thompson et al 72).
The early scholars as well as activists on violence against women mainly examined the issues of violence, rape and incest against women with a criminal justice viewpoint. They considered violence against women to be a class of crimes. Consequently, these scholars and activist focused their interest on reformation of criminal codes for a better reflection of the experiences women had as victims of violence against women. During the 1990s, a change occurred in how other researchers as well as activists considered the topic of violence against women in the United States.
Rather than approaching violence against women chiefly from a criminal justice perspective, they started viewing it mainly from a public health perspective. This shift in paradigm was partly as a result of the fact that several renowned public health experts in the U.S started raising alarm that violence against women had become one of the major reasons for death and morbidity women in the United States.
The shift in paradigm caused increased collaboration between American criminal justice system and public health agencies in conducting research related to violence against women as well as developing effective preventive and intervention mechanisms and approaches. This shift in paradigm relating to the approaches towards violence against women and considering it more of a public health than firmly as a criminal justice issue has been additionally strengthened by the World Health Organization’s pioneering publishing, the World Report on Violence and Health.
Even though majority of the acts which have been described as violence against women within a public health context have also been described as violence against women within the criminal justice context, numerous significant dissimilarities. (Thompson et al. 17). The public health perspective defines violence against women to include actions which lead to psychological harm. The public health context also include acts that involve deprivation as well as neglect, that within most American criminal codes generally are applicable to children and vulnerable groups.
Another public health context lays greater importance on the association between a victim and a perpetrator while the criminal justice approach considers some crimes regardless of the connection between a victim and the criminal; the public health view differentiates between violence perpetrated by family members against women and partners relative to those instigated by friends and strangers (Thompson et al. 29). Finally, the big question here would be, how far the public as well as administrators must go in arresting the problem of violence against women and which theoretical approach would fit best in curbing this social problem. Perhaps, additional research and continued activism will sooner than later reveal the answers to some of these difficult questions.
Few-Demo, April L. “Intersectionality as the “New” Critical Approach in Feminist Family Studies: Evolving Racial/Ethnic Feminisms and Critical Race Theories.” Journal of Family Theory & Review, vol. 6, no. 2, 2014, pp. 169–183.
Jacobs, Susie, and Christian Klesse. “Lntroduction: Special Issue on “Gender, Sexuality and Political Economy”.” International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society, vol. 27, no. 2, 2013, pp. 129–152.
Thompson, William E., et al. Society in focus: an introduction to sociology. Rowman & Littlefield, 2017.