Women being abused is, sadly, a tale as old as time. However, the reasoning behind why those individuals and collective groups stay in these abusive relationships differs depending on which perspective one takes. To understand the problem we must first have a uniform definition of domestic abuse, Kelly and Westmarland (2016:2) describe domestic abuse as “an ongoing, everyday reality in which much of their (women) behavior is micro-managed by their abuser: this includes what they wear, where they go, and who they see.”
When examining this problem from an individual/rational perspective the answer becomes difficult due to the lack of reward and large cost coming from the actions of the abused. However, the individual could be staying with the abuser simply because the act or cost of leaving would be so incredibly difficult and taxing emotionally, physically, and financially. Their ongoing interactions with the abuser create and solidify a positive emotional depth. As their time with the abuser deepens, their interactions further create patterns, which then pull them in toward the abuser indefinitely.
However, if we shift from rational to non-rational, the woman may be motivated to stay due to her beliefs and morals surrounding the power play in traditional relationships. This comes from her own individual experience with a multitude of emotional and physical factors.
When looking at the abused collectively and rationally, one can see how women systematically have fallen into oppression for generations. “In societies with a patriarchal power structure and with rigid gender roles, women are often poorly equipped to protect themselves if their partners become violent” (Garg and Kaur, 2018). Rationally, these women may not want to disrupt the power structure and therefore continue to stay in the role of the abused.
Finally, switching to non-rationally shows us that tradition of our society is to continue in cycles of generational abuse. Women have endured abuse in all atmospheres, from work to leisure, to home. Now, with home and work moving closer and closer together, the amount of systematic abuse in our society continues to rise. “Within the US, there is a great disparity in workplace practices relating to domestic violence, ranging from small, private organizations that have no policy at all to leading firms in states where it is now mandatory to have policies in place providing help” (Jonge, 2018:9).
Overall, the reasons for abusers to stay can vary drastically from one individual to another, but overall there are systems in place that continually allow and promote the abuse of women and perpetuate the patriarchal standards of the societies we live in.
There are several questions that came to mind when devising my question, but the one I decided to talk about is: Why do people say “excuse me” when they accidentally bump into someone? They could always just walk past the person they bumped into and act like nothing happened, but why do most people tend to say “excuse me” ?
When discussing the theoretical orientations, the individual/nonrational answer would be that the individual believes it is the polite thing to do, they naturally do this without thinking anytime they accidentally bump into someone. Next is the individual/rational answer, which involves the individual saying ‘excuse me’ just because they do not want the person to react negatively or they just feel obligated to, measuring people’s feeling of responsibility (Son and Wilson 2012). The collective/nonrational answer would be that society believes that saying ‘excuse me’ moves people back into social equilibrium, that these to words can smooth over a mistake. The collective/rational answer would be that society tends to respond negatively when a person does not excuse themselves for bumping into someone, which can lead to problematic situations at times.
I myself always suit for the individual/nonrational answer, because it is just the way I am. I am one of those people who always feels bad for everything, I tend to worry easily or “frett about a problem” (Fingerman et al., 2016:1). So you can imagine how often I say ‘excuse me’ while I am the grocery store, shopping center, etc. I never really stopped to think how different it would be if I suited for a different orientation like the collective/rational answer. Instead of saying ‘excuse me’ I would just walk by the person I bumped into and ignore them, which to me just sounds impolite. In this chapter the four different theoretical orientations really helped me understand all of the possible outcomes to the question I chose, and I got a better understanding of how the four different theoretical orientations work.
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