Life is filled with many difficulties, which affect us all in one way or another. However, we do not all face the same ones. If we are to survive we need to first understand what these difficulties or problems are, in order to learn how to deal with them. One such problem is, is domestic violence. It is necessary to determine whether the problem is personal one or due to society (social problems), so that the individuals involved can learn how to deal with their situation.
The general definition of a personal problem, is one in which it’s causes and solutions lie within the individual. That is, they are caused by an individual’s own feeling about a given situation. For example, someone commits a murder because they are sad or angry. That act was caused by an emotion, and their anger can only be controlled if they learn how to deal with it. A social problem, on the other hand, is one whose causes and solutions lie outside the individual.
Which means, there has to be some external factor that has caused an act to take place. For example, someone commits a murder in self-defense. Here the person was forced into committing the act. They had no control over their actions; it was either kill or be killed. This is where the difference between the two lie, one is due to an individuals feelings where as the other is due to another individual or some external factor.
This is the foundation of the Sociological Imagination Concept.
According to C. Wright Mills, sociological imagination is developed when we can place personal problems in a social situation or environment such that they are no longer viewed solely as individual or personal problems, but instead as social problems. That is problems that are shared by enough people in society such that their causes and solutions lie outside of the individual who is experiencing them. In other words, this theory is based on how the external factors of society affect individuals and their behavior. One area in which this concept can be seen is with domestic violence. Domestic violence and Emotional abuse can be defined as behaviors used by one person in a relationship to control another. This is both a national and world wide problem. According to a 2000 UNICEF study, up to half the female population of the world becomes the victims of domestic violence. It claims four lives every day in the United States alone. Anyone can be a victim, any age, sex, race, culture, religion, education, employment, marital status or sexual orientation. Women however, are more likely to become victims than men. As for the perpetrator of abuse, they have no typical manifestation. In public the abuser may appear loving and friendly towards their partner and or family. They commonly have low self-esteem, and don’t like to take responsibility for their actions. So they may try to hide the abuse by inflicting injuries that will not require medical attention.
Abuse may be physical, emotional, sexual, and psychological. Abusive persons are usually people who like to be in control of other people. Here this form of control is usually a behavior, which is learnt as a means to getting what they want. Children in homes where there is abuse usually end up either, being abused themselves or being neglected. This is where they generally learn to become abusers themselves. Which makes the home or family, one of the factors that contributes to the perpetuation on domestic violence. Let’s take the case of Joe as an example. He grew up seeing his mother slapped around by his father on a daily basis. He grew up believing that this is normal and acceptable behavior, as this was what he was accustomed to seeing, and was all he knew. In order to avoid this situation, it is necessary for the child to be taken out of that environment and have instilled in them, the fact that abuse is wrong. It is by no means normal or acceptable. Therapy is one way of rectifying this problem. This would help the child to come to terms with what they have experienced, be able to understand what had taken place, and learn how to deal with similar situations. This however is not the only factor that contributes to domestic violence. Culture also plays a role in causing someone to be abusive. If for example, you originate from a country, where it is customary for men to punish their wives by hitting them, as it is in some eastern countries, You will adapt this way of life no matter where you are in the world.
One solution here, and one of the most vital in a situation like this, is knowledge. If people are educated, as to what is right and what is wrong, what is acceptable behavior in certain parts of the world and what is not, then this factor could be drastically reduced if not eliminated. Peer groups can also be very influential. Commonly, people find themselves in situations where they’re made to feel inferior to those around them, if they do not conform to these people’s beliefs. Here very strong pressure is put down and if the individual is not strong-minded they will succumb to the pressure. If for example, a man (Jim) is amongst other men who have very strong traditional ideas about what a man should be and what a woman should be. They believe a woman should stay at home, take care of her husband, and follow his wishes and orders. Jim may become influenced by these men’s points of view, and in so doing he develops an abusive nature. If Jim were taught stress management at some time in his life, he may have been able to withstand the pressure instead of conforming. Educational institutions and work places can be involved here. If sessions of stress management were made mandatory, people would be better able to uphold their beliefs. Peer groups can also influence people to use drugs and alcohol, which affects people’s mental state. There is a strong link between violence and drug and alcohol use. When under the influence of either substance, people’s self-control is lost and so they act on impulse.
The least little thing can cause them to lose their temper, and as they are not in their right frame of mind, they do things they wouldn’t ordinarily do. Become abusive. Steps need to be put in place, to get rid of this substance abuse problem in order to deal with and get rid of the violent behavior. One such step would be going into a rehabilitation program. Here you would learn how to get over your addictions and how to deal with the other spiraled effects of it. This all shows how different things in and around us can influence or cause us to behave in a certain manner. Whether it be, domestic violence or another criminal act. The sociological concept allows for blame to be taken away from some individuals, victims and or perpetrators and have it placed on society. This is a good thing as it allows us to look into ourselves, and see where we can be responsible for some of the evils of the world. It forces us to take some of the blame instead of always pointing fingers on the other person. Though not all criminal behavior follow along with this concept, many do, and it is therefore important for everyone to be familiar with it and be able to put it to use.