The most of the Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) research has been focused on White women in the past. The first survey used to examine African American women’s experience of IPV was the National Family Violence Survey. This survey was conducted in 1975 and was used to see whether type of social network and levels of IPV differed across social classes and racial groups. The results found that African American men had a higher rate of severe IPV perpetration than White men. It also found that, when looking at income levels, African American husbands were less likely to have had IPV than White husbands in all income groups except for those in the $6,000-$11,999 income brackets. After gathering these results, the authors concluded that overrepresentation of African Americans and income complicates generalization of racial differences in carrying out IPV. Socio Economic Status (SES) does seem to matter when it comes to propensity of IPV.
African American women were 1.23 times more likely to undergo minor IPV and 2.36 times more likely to endure severe IPV than White women. The National Violence Against Women, also known as NVAWS, measures incidence of sexual assault, IPV and stalking victimization among a nationally representative sample of men and women. They found comparable rates of these components in both African Americans, as well as Whites.
A stronger indicator of IPV besides race would be income. For both African American and White women, higher annual income was closely correlated with lower levels of IPV.White women make up 11% of people living in poverty in the United States, compared to African American women who make up 25% in this country. As seen here, African Americans live with stress and strain of poverty, which does not belittle the fact that income is a great indicator.
When compared to White men, African American men are not taught and do not expect to be dominant or bear power and there is not as much a difference in gender role socialization. African American men also have a lack of access to educational, political and economic resources. They also write about a similarity, though, between African American and White men which is that they are socialized to expect to dominate their female partner. Hypermasculinity can be defined as men trying to overly prove their manhood to their female partners and society in general. The men who do this may adopt alternate roles to emphasize violence, illegal employment, etc.
A macrostructural factor that can contribute to IPV are a larger portion of African Americans living in extreme poverty when compared to other ethnic groups. Also, studies have been shown to see that the association between IPV and ethnicity disappears when socioeconomic status becomes prevalent. Authors wrote that structural factors, such as concentrated poverty impacts races differentially when they are exposed to ecological factors that are relevant. Other macro-system researchers studied that communities have a harder time regulating crime when they are impacted by ethnic heterogeneity, poverty and relocating residents, which can correlate with high IPV in African American communities. Brice Baker writes that, “She further states that internalized racism fosters self-dislike on an individual level and discord within the community, and thus treatments for African American abusers should address issues of internalized racism.” It potentially effects African American families because it feeds self-harming behaviors, and society already puts a strain on these families so it just makes it worse.
In American culture, African American women are poorly represented. They are seen as being fragile and weak, and makes it as though that is a necessity for them to remain safe. With African American women, they are shown as being overpowering when referring to sex, money, and relationships, and it is seen as unnatural. It is also seen that if these women are overpowering, victim-blaming comes into perspective because it is seen as their fault for not wanting to comply. The “Superwoman” stereotype of African American women has some negative connotations to it. The connotation that these women can easily cope with anything may heighten their risk for IPV. The societal response of victimization of these women is just another negative view. When people think of a superwoman or man, it is usually because of something positive, but when it comes to African American women it is not the case.
African American women who are victims of IPV turn to shelters at a lesser rate than White women. This is partly because there is racism and discrimination in these assistance places which means there is lack of aid that is offered to African Americans. Some responses to IPV include PTSD, depression, substance abuse, suicide and mental illnesses. One issue with intervention programs and African Americans is that the majority of intervention programs from IPV perpetrators ignores cultural differences and treat all clients with the same standardized group treatment approach