In Chapter 5 of African American Families, IPV is considered based on several factors and examined in detail with regard to African American women’s high risk factor. The percentage of violence between intimate partners during 1998 to 2002 was approximately forty nine percent. Minority women report higher rates of IPV, with twenty percent of minority poor women reporting it within the past year. IPV consists of physical, emotional, psychological, and sexual abuse that takes place between intimate partners. Other issues such as poverty, unemployment, health and incarceration also must be considered when looking at IPV. The authors don’t use the term domestic violence because they are not intending to refer to violence that occurs between other members of the domestic household, such as abuse of children by their parents. They only intend to focus on intimate partners. Approximately fifteen hundred women are killed each year due to IPV. Second wave feminists began to bring light to IPV in the late 1970s and early 1980s. This was due to the commonality of IPV and defining it as a women’s issue when it is not. The direction in studying IPV turned more towards a societal problem and took the blame off women.
The most common factor across all various forms of violence is the relationship between the perpetrator and victim where the perpetrator always has more power. Power relations must be considered when looking at IPV. Mutual combat is defined as both partners exhibiting forms of abuse on their intimate partners. IPV is a direct outcome of a social system dominated by patriarchy.
IPV is also characterized by other issues such as race, class, and gender. The authors suggest that intersectionality is necessary in understanding IPV. IPV is also structured by racial inequality. The key issue involved with IPV in all families is women’s economic dependency on men. This dependency creates the difficulty for women to leave these abusive relationships. Fear of losing economic stability causes many women to stay. One mechanism by which inter-generational IPV transmission may occur is children witnessing the abuse of their parents or experiencing abuse themselves as a child. A batterer is considered a man who is heavily influenced by hyper-masculinity and has been socialized into being the ultimate man. Batterers are triggered to abuse others when their masculinity is threatened. A strong predictor of men becoming batterers is men growing up witnessing IPV in their household.
The “Cool Pose” is defined as a ritualized form of masculinity that entails behaviors, physical posturing, scripts, and impression management, as well as carefully crafted performances in order to deliver a single, critical message of pride strength and control. This pose is said to be used by African American men in attempt to make them more visible in society. It is the struggle for black male pathology and attempt to survive their second-class status and environment. This behavior can be considered an effort by marginalized groups to construct alternative ideologies as well as hegemonic ideologies. The two B’s are defined as breadwinning and the bedroom. Breadwinning refers to one of the key sociological roles that men play in our society as the main earners in the household. The issue for women is in the ability to control the economic realm of the home and men using their position as a form of masculinity. When men lack economic control and opportunity for employment this can be a trigger for men and seen as challenge to their masculinity. The second B, the bedroom refers to sexual relations and satisfaction levels. Men’s goal to have numerous sex partners, satisfaction of their partners, and sexual conquest has caused the idea of sexual prowess as an important part of masculinity in America. The double standard as men being able to be sexually free but women not causes many issues. Jealousy is also another factor that contributes to IPV. Men construct their identities around these two roles of breadwinning and sexual prowess then when something doesn’t work out their threatened masculinity becomes a trigger for IPV.
In conclusion the authors suggested some solutions for IPV when it comes to African American women and families. These solutions are to develop more inclusive constructions of masculinity that are not tied to breadwinning and sexual prowess. Such as a good father figure and loving partner. As well as intervention and prevention programs that involve advice and assistance in dealing with triggers to IPV . And addressing the unemployment issue and rejoining the free world after incarceration issue. The race, class, and gender paradigm needs to also be considered through the lenses of poverty, incarceration. and unemployment.