Term Paper: Violence Against Women

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Violence Against Women: An Application of Theory

The question of gender violence in relationships, particularly violent crimes perpetrated against females, has been the focus of media as well as criminological and psychological investigation in recent years. Various theoretical trajectories have been put forward with the aim of understanding and thereby preventing the occurrences of this type of crime. The application of social learning theory has been shown to provide invaluable insight into the deeper causative structure of these crimes. This paper investigates a single, severe example of this type of crime and analyses it in terms of social learning theory. This analysis indicates that this theory not only provides a useful understanding of the causes of the crime but is also beneficial in terms of remedial work and rehabilitation.

Introduction

The problem of Violence Against Women is one that has become a pervasive and disturbing issue in contemporary society. There are increasing studies and reports of violent crimes perpetrated against women in many societies, including developed countries like the United States. A study by Lawson (2003) states that national surveys in the United States indicates that eleven to sixteen percent of women in the U.S. reported violent aggression by their partners, with estimates ranging from 3.4 to 8.7 million cases of partner violence each year. (Lawson, 2003). Furthermore, it has also been found that "...male-on-female violence results in greater negative outcomes than other types of relational violence..." (Lawson, 2003). This study also indicates that Male-to-female violence often results in more health problems, stress, depression, and psychosomatic symptoms. (Lawson, 2003). Even more alarming than this are the statistics that indicate that 1,300 women are killed each year by partners. (Lawson, 2003

This issue is exacerbated by allegations of sexism and gender prejudice, which are in contradiction to the values and ideals democratic equality in the modern world. However, while many experts and commentators ascribe the cause of these violent acts against women to purely social and class issues, there are many theories that attempt to understand these acts of violence from a psychological perspective.

There are a wide array of psychological, psycho-sociological and criminological theories that see the causative factors of this phenomenon as a result of the way in which society constructs and maintains gender differences. In other words, many theories suggest that there are indications that crimes and violent acts against women have their root causes in the way males learn or perceive women in society. This aspect will be a central area of discussion in This paper

This study will attempt to ascertain the way that a certain theory can be used to understand and elucidate the causes of a specific type of crime against women. An example of the extreme form of violence, murder, will be used as case study and reference point in this paper. The theory that will be used to describe and discuss this crime will be social learning theory. This well accepted, albeit controversial, theory will be explored in order to shed light on the reasons and the causative facets that underlie severe forms of violence against women.

A further component of this paper will discuss within the ambit of the theory under discussion, are the ways in which an understanding of this theory can be used to prevent future occurrence of this crime as well as its efficacy in the rehabilitation process of convicted offenders.

2. Case study

The case study or the example of violence against women that will be referred to is the infamous case of the murder of Bonny Woodring by her husband John Raymond "Woody" Woodring. While there are many sources online about this case, a comprehensive site that covers the details is the TRUE STORY of JOHN RAYMOND "WOODY" WOODRING. (http://www.crimelibrary.com/notorious_murders/family/john_woodring/1_index.html).This site was used to glean the basic details of the case.

Before discussing the case in detail, it is important to note certain statistics that shed light on the case. For example, it has been found that it is primarily men who tend to terrorize and inflict harm on their partners. These acts of violence and abuse are often seen as a means of control - an aspect that tends to conform to the case under discussion. As Lawson (2003) notes "Thus, this behavior is not simply the use of violence but often the calculated use of violence to dominate" (Lawson, 2003)

On Sept. 18, 2006, John Raymond "Woody" Woodring gunned down his wife, Bonnie Woodring. The events leading to this murder are extensive and complex and relate to a series of failed relationships and marriages in John Woodring's life. All of these relationships prior to his marriage to Bonnie were characterized by abuse and violence, which often resulted in court actions and legal restrictions. When Bonnie Woodring was killed by her husband, she had in fact fled to a shelter, as she was scared of him in spite of the fact that there were restraining orders out on his movements.

The little we know about his early year and background are important to understand in order to analyze his motivations. John Raymond "Woody" Woodring was born in Port Matilda, Pa., on July 2, 1971. There are many indications of an unsettled and possibly abused childhood. Woodring's father left the family before he was born. When he was eleven years of age, he was taken into the custody of his grandparents, Raymond and Irene Woodring. Tragedy and unhappiness tended to dog his early years and when he was thirteen his grandfather died. The events were to lead to deviant behavior and crime.

This tragedy plus the abusive childhood that Woody had survived had caused him to come apart at the seams. Woody was arrested several times for underage drinking, assault, disorderly conduct, and only by the sake of a miracle, Woody was able to graduate from Tyrone Area High School in 1989.

The Early Years)

Woodring enlisted in the United States Marine Corps after school. However, this period of his life was also apparently unhappy and unstable and there are many reports of his altercations with the authorities and jail time spent in the military prison. What also becomes clear is that there was a sense of inadequacy and a possible lack of self- worth in his character, which could be ascribed to his childhood.

The story of his relationships with women is alarming and are in fact a record of failed and abusive encounters He was married a number of times before his relationship with Bonny and in each of these relationships there was evidence of abuse and violence - a fact that Bonnie Woodring was unaware even after she married John. For example,

Woodring had married his second wife at the Qualla Boundary Cherokee Reservation, where she was a tribal member. In September 1997, just one month after the couple was married, his wife filed for a restraining order. In a statement he made, filed with his wife's restraining order request, Woodring said he pushed her around and threatened to hit her during an argument "over differences" on Sept. 16.

The Early Years)

In a similar vein, his relationship with his last wife also steadily deteriorated into violence and abuse. The following is a transcript of a complaint and application for a domestic violence protective order that Bonnie Woodring filed with the police on June 9, 2006. It expresses the extent of the violence and abuse in the relationship.

From the beginning, our relationship has been rocky, riddled with jealous rages, intimidation, pushing me down, threatening to kill me if I ever left him anytime we fought over the last year. [He] degrades and cusses at me and my child. Last July [he] assaulted my daughter and her boyfriend visiting from Texas. (Trasnformatons)

An analysis of this quotation reveals jealousy and a sense of inadequacy, which possibly exacerbated the need for control that John Woodring expressed in his violent and murderous action.

3.2. Social learning theory

One of the most accepted theories for explaining the type of crime described above and for all types of partner abuse has been social learning theory (Lawson, 2003). The theory was developed in the 1950s. Some of the important originating figures in the creation of the theory are Rotter, Bandura and Mischel. (Hogben & Dyrne, 1998) in a historical context, social learning theory has precedents in behaviorism and classical and operant conditioning theories of sexual behavior. (Hogben & Dyrne, 1998)

This theory is also extremely useful in understanding the causative facets as well as the remedial and intervention opportunities in this form of crime against women. It should be noted at the outset that understanding and being able to identify the causative element is crucial to creating ways and means of preventing future occurrences of this type of crime. Intervention and remediation of the criminal can only occur once the foundational causes and underlying reasons for his or her behavior are identified and understood. Social learning theory attempts to do just his and to provide a framework of… [END OF PREVIEW]

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https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/violence-against-women/21669.