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Domestic Abuse Through a Feminist Lens: Unveiling the Power Imbalance

By: Fakhar-un-Nisa

Domestic abuse is a pervasive issue that transcends geographical borders, cultures, and socio-economic backgrounds. It is a form of violence that has afflicted societies for centuries. Examining domestic abuse from a feminist perspective enables us to identify its origins, root causes, and how gender classification dynamics and power imbalances play a significant role in perpetuating this cycle of violence.

Domestic abuse, often referred to as confidential partner violence, encompasses many forms of physical, emotional and psychological abuse within the context of intimate relationships. It is necessary to understand and recognize that domestic abuse does not segregate based on gender.

Men can be sufferers of domestic abuse. Statistics globally state that women are more likely to experience it, making the feminist perspective crucial in addressing this issue.

The Patriarchal Framework

Feminism underscores the role of patriarchy, a social system historically responsible for men’s power over women, as a fundamental factor in domestic abuse. Patriarchy creates a hierarchical structure where men hold more strength of ruling or power, and women are seen as subordinate. This power imbalance can be displayed in toxic and abusive relationships, as some people use their perceived superiority to control and harm their partners.

 Intersectionality

 Domestic abuse is not experienced consistently by all women. The concept of intersectionality describes that a woman’s experience of abuse can be influenced by many intersecting factors, including values, class, sexual orientation, and disability. For example, women of color and different caste individuals may face difficult challenges when it comes to domestic abuse, as they can experience discrimination rooted in both their gender and other aspects of their identity.

Cultural and Social Norms

Feminist perspectives represent how cultural and social norms contributed in domestic abuse. Cultural and traditional gender roles often represent how people are expected to behave in relationships. For example, if men are socialized to be dominant and women to be submissive, it can lead to Strength imbalances that make abuse more likely.

Feminists’ perspective states that challenging these norms is important to breaking the cycle of domestic abuse.

Economic Inequality

Economic factors can also play an important role in domestic abuse. Women who earn less than men may experience greater instability and dependence on their male partners, which can make them more economically vulnerable in abusive relationships. They may encounter significant challenges when trying to leave an abusive partner due to financial dependence.

For example, financially and psychologically independent women tend to leave their partners at the first sign of abusive behavior. Such women are more stable. In contrast, women who are financially unstable and dependent on their partners often endure abusive and toxic behavior.

Feminists’ perspective for economic empowerment as a means to empower women.

Victim-Blaming

A feminist perspective also describes how communities often blame victims of domestic abuse rather than holding the abusers accountable. Victims are often asked why they didn’t leave the toxic relationship, rather than addressing the main causes of the abuse. Feminists’ perspective argues that we should focus on supporting victims and holding abusers accountable for their actions.

 Legal and Institutional Responses

Feminism has been active in driving legal changes to address domestic abuse. The judiciary has worked to develop legal frameworks that provide better safety for victims and hold abusers accountable. Additionally, they have pushed for the establishment of support services for victims In Conclusion, Domestic abuse is a complex issue in the world that needs a multifaceted approach to resolution. A feminist perspective on domestic abuse is necessary for understanding the underlying power imbalances, patriarchy, and societal norms that extend this violence. By acknowledging the significance of intersectionality, challenging cultural norms, and promoting economic empowerment, we can take steps toward a more equitable community where domestic abuse is no longer acceptable. The war against domestic abuse is not a women’s issue alone; it is a human rights matter that demands a mutual effort to create a world free from violence and discrimination.


The writer is a freelance columnist. She can be reached at [email protected]

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