Male violence in young couples: data and analysis
When we talk about male violence , we get the idea that this type of violence exists, but that it only affects a sector of the population.
What exactly is macho violence?
The myths that exist on this subject make us imagine that this type of violence occurs sporadically, isolated events in time, and in many cases motivated because the woman shows a provocative behavior that the man must control, or in other cases, the myth even more victimizes the woman asserting that “women who put up with being beaten for so long is because they want to”.
But, above all, one of the most established myths is that thinks that male violence exists only in socially disadvantaged sectors and in families with scarce economic resources.
You may be interested in: “The cycle of violence in relationships”
Male violence in adolescents
What if we discovered that this is not the reality when we talk about male violence?
Current studies show that the sector of the population most affected by male violence is adolescents . According to the Spanish macro-survey on violence against women for the year 2015, 21% of women under 25 years of age who have had a partner have been victims of gender violence. Likewise, a study conducted by González and Santana in 2001 reports that 7.5 of the boys and 7.1 of the girls recognize that they have hit or pushed their partner on one or more occasions (Samaniego and Freixas, 2010). These figures are alarming and make us wonder what this violence is due to and what factors can be considered as risk factors when suffering it.
The reality is that in our society the traditional ideals regarding gender still persist . Boys are endowed with a certain superiority, and it is taken for granted that they are born leaders, strong and without weaknesses, while girls have to be desirably docile, submissive and easily manipulated. These gender stereotypes are at the root of this type of violence, according to studies, even though we take it for granted that they are a thing of the past.
The risk factors associated with the aggressor in the phenomenon of “dating violence”, the name that this phenomenon acquires, refer to the modelling processes adopted in childhood, as is the case of minors exposed to violence within the family environment, who will have more possibilities of reproducing such behaviours in their couple relationships, or those minors who are immersed in a context where violence is the main tool for resolving interpersonal conflicts.
Prince and Arias also point to two opposing personality profiles, on the one hand, the teenager with high self-esteem and a low sense of control over his life, who uses violence to feel that he increases his control and, on the other hand, the teenager with low self-esteem and under control who shows violence as a way of expressing his frustration (González and Santana, 2010).
Risk factors for victims
On the other hand, the risk factors considered by the authors in relation to suffering such violence are feelings of hopelessness and low self-esteem , an early start in sexual relations, maintaining risky sexual relations, the need for control and the idea of romantic love.
The ballast that generates a certain conception of love
The idea of romantic love, “the love that can do everything”, is instilled in girls almost from birth, with the idea that they need to have a partner to feel truly fulfilled. A study by Barrón and Martínez-Iñigo in 1999 already pointed out the differences in socialization between boys and girls . They are taught to tolerate the adversities that affect their relationships, to minimize the problems , to endure them and to believe that they are capable of changing their partners, something that does not happen in the case of boys, who are taught to be independent.
The main problem with teenage partner violence is that the assaults take place at a very young age. In many cases, this violence is triggered from the first couple relationship , which means that the victim does not have experience and information to properly assess the situation they are living and, therefore, can not realize what is happening and what will be the consequences (González and Santana, 2010).
Furthermore, as with male violence, mistreatment can range from verbal and emotional abuse to sexual assault and even murder , so we are faced with a phenomenon that affects, considerably, the physical and mental health of any person, regardless of age, sexual orientation or socioeconomic status.
Learn more: “The 30 Signs of Psychological Abuse in a Relationship”
- Baquero, J. M. (2015). Macho adolescents: the raw inheritance of patriarchy. Eldiario.es. http://www.eldiario.es/andalucia/Adolescentes-machistas-cruda-herencia-patriarcado_0_449355873.html
- Carballar, O. (2016). Male violence in adolescents: “if I said I didn’t feel like it, he’d hit me.” Lamarea.comhttp://www.lamarea.com/2016/02/12/violencia-machista-adolescentes/
- González Méndez, R., Santana Hernández, J. D. (2001). Violence in young couples. Psicotema, vol. 13, n. 1, pages 127-131.
- Samaniego García, E., Freixas Farré, A. (2010). Study on the identification and experience of violence in adolescent couples. Psychology Notes Vol. 28, n. 3, p. 349-366.