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Theories of Domestic Violence


This theory explores the psychological rationale for why battered women stay with their abusers. It was found that people who were subjected repeated imprisonment and/or painful stimuli over which they had no control they soon ceased any attempts to escape or to avoid harm. Often the battered woman feels she can’t escape.


This theory can be applied to the issue of why battered women love and protect their abusers. When a person is threatened with death by a captor who is also kind in some ways and the threatened person is isolated from outsiders, the hostage develops a fondness for the captor, and an antipathy toward authorities working for release.


This theory points to a hierarchical social structure as laying the foundation for the context in which battering occurs. The person on top has power over the person on the bottom. A system of tactics is used to maintain control of the person on the bottom.


  1. Every 15 seconds a woman is physically assaulted within her home.
  2. Domestic Violence is the most common cause of injury to women, exceeding auto accidents, muggings and rapes combined.
  3. Approximately 95% of the victims of domestic violence are women.
  4. An estimated three to four million American women are abused each year by their husbands or partners.
  5. Research suggests that wife-beating results in more injuries that require medical treatment than rape, auto accidents, and muggings combined.
  6. Each year, more than 800,000 women seek medical assistance for injuries caused by battering.
  7. 20% of women seeking emergency surgical procedures are victims of domestic violence.
  8. Between two and four thousand women are beaten to death each year.
  9. Violence will occur at least once in two thirds of all marriages.
The National Crime Survey data shows that once a woman is victimized by domestic violence, her risk of being victimized again is high. During a six-month period, following an incident of domestic violence, approximately 32% of women are victimized again.