In the past, majority of studies and research that had been done on Intimate Partner Violence was focused on the experiences of Caucasian women. In 1975, the National Family Violence Survey conducted one of the first studies that reported on the prevalence of IPV in the United States. The study was comprised of 147 African American married couples and 427 randomly selected Caucasian respondents. They found that African American men had higher perpetration rates of IPV than their white counterparts. But when socioeconomic status was taken into account African American husbands were less likely to have perpetrated IPV than Caucasian husbands in all income brackets except for those in the $6000-$11,999 income bracket. Social economic status matters when dealing with propensity of IPV. African American women are 1.23 times more likely to undergo minor IPV in comparison to white Caucasian women. The National Violence Against Women Survey assessed incidence of sexual assault, IPV, and stalking victimization among a nationally representative sample of 8000 men and 8000 women. Rates of IPV are better accounted for by income.
Caucasian women make up 11% of the persons living in persistent poverty while African American women comprise 25% of persons living in the same condition. According to the article, some researchers say that African Americans are socialized in a different manner than Caucasians, such that there is not as large a difference in gender role socialization within African American families as in Caucasian families. A lack of access to educational, economic, and political resources among African American men is one factor that contributes to more egalitarian roles. Some men can adopt hyper masculine roles that emphasize illegal employment, violence, and promiscuity when structural forces impede the enactment of conventional masculine norms. Within the African American community, some macrostructural factors that contribute to IPV include ethnic heterogeneity, concentrated poverty, and frequent relocation of community members. Internalized racism is where an individual has internal conflicts based on their own race and the stereotypes surrounding their race. This can affect African American families because it can lead to low self-esteem which has been identified as a risk factor for IPV.
African American women are often identified as non-feminine, independent, and overpowering and is often portrayed as being unnaturally powerful with regards to relationships, sex, finances, and physical prowess. The “superwomen” stereotype can be harmful to the African American woman because it can heighten their risk for and exposure to IPV. This stereotype also limits the empathetic concern of society and may contribute to the lack of advocacy for African American victims of IPV. African American women are less likely to seek shelters than Caucasian women, this is due to the mistreatment by service providers and also the women being unaware that services are available.