Intimate Partner Violence: Cultural Factors and Prevention
Dr. Kristen Gray and Professor Yolanda Vega
Cultural relativism is defined by the Random House dictionary as “the concept that cultural norms and values derive their meaning within a specific social context.” This is pertinent to understanding the Western view of women’s oppression as a human rights violation and public health concern. In order to thoroughly comprehend the beliefs, customs, and ethics that form an individual’s culture, one must inform themselves of the social context in question. One of the most harmful oppressions forced upon women is the violence inflicted by their intimate partner. Intimate Partner Violence, or IPV, has become culturally acceptable, and is referred to as the “normalization of violence.” Within the countries of Bangladesh and India, the main cultural factors that impact women in intimate relationships include adolescent marriage, the use of contraceptives, and dowries. To understand the severity of the issue, comparisons to Intimate Partner Violence in the United States have been recorded. The process of women gaining full equality has been prevented from progressing due to a lack of knowledge concerning the issue as well as a lack of health care facilities. Cultural relativists would claim that it is not our responsibility to prevent this abuse. However, living in a developed country with numerous resources, we could help provide a strong foundation for developing countries as they begin to address IPV and exploitation. Now is the time to be activists against Intimate Partner Violence.
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