*300 WORDS* Discuss what you learned with clarity and explain why you find it interesting/meaningful. Please split out your topics by numbering them (1. and 2.) or by paragraph.

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*300 WORDS* Discuss these two topics. Discuss what you learned from this essay with clarity and explain why you find it interesting/meaningful. Please split out your topics by numbering them (1. and 2.) or by paragraph.

TOPIC 1: Sibling Abuse

Sibling conflict is so common that many parents dismiss it as normal. In fact, physical, emotional, and sexual abuse among siblings can leave lasting emotional scars. According to a recent national survey, sibling aggression (bullying, property damage, and physical fighting) increases children’s depression, anxiety, and anger that lasts many years.

Almost all young children hit a sibling occasionally, but habitual attacks are more problematic.

In 2009, almost 39 percent of children ages 2 to 17 had been physically assaulted by a sister or brother at least once. Among those ages 6 to 12, 72 percent had been physically assaulted. In 24 percent of all cases, the assualts were serious enough to call the police.

Most sibling conflict doesn’t involve weapons, but the clashes can be traumatic. Some of the most common forms of sibling abuse include the following:

  • Name calling and ridicule – Siblings calling each other mean names, antagonizing one another, and being cruel to one’s sibling, especially in front of other children.
  • Degradation – “The worst kind of emotional abuse I experienced was if I walked into a room, my brother would pretend he was throwing up at the sight of me. As I got older, he most often would pretend I wasn’t there and would speak as if I didn’t exist, even in front of our parents.”
  • Intimidation – A woman in her forties still remembers that her siblings would take her sister and her into a field to pick berries. “When we would hear dogs barking, they would tell us they were wild dogs, and then they’d run away and make us find our own way home. We were only five or six, and we didn’t know our way home.”
  • Torturing or killing a pet – “My second oldest brother shot my little dog that I loved deary. It loved me – only me. I cried by its grave for several days.”
  • Destroying personal possessions – “My brother would throw out my toys when he was angry at me, especially the ones that he knew were my favorites.”

Many children report that their parents rarely take physical or emotional abuse by siblings seriously: “You must have deserved it,” parents sometimes say in response to fighting among siblings. Parents might even think sibling rivalry is “cute” or funny. Parents sometimes are amused by the rivalry among siblings and may respond ambiguously to hurtful situations – “You’ll get over it.”

Parents might escalate the violence by treating children differently or showing favoritism. They might describe one child as “the smart one” or “the lazy one.” Such labeling discourages siblings’ respect for one another and creates resentment. The preferred child might target a less-preferred sibling for maltreatment, especially when the parents aren’t present.

Sibling aggression is more dangerous than many parents think. About 10 percent of all murders in families are siblicides, killing a brother or sister, and they account for more than 2 percent of all murders nationwide. The most common reason for siblicide is an argument between the perpetrator and the victim

Ignoring or intervening briefly in sibling violence doesn’t teach children the skills they need for regulating their behavior throughout life. Children learn that aggression is acceptable not only between brothers and sisters but also later with their own spouses and children. Such perceptions increase the likelihood of bullying at school and aggressive behavior with friends and in dating relationships outside the home, peers, teachers, employers, and co-workers rarely tolerate impulsive and negative behavior because a group’s stability and productivity require problem solving, anger management, negotiation, cooperation, and compromise

TOPIC 2: Intimate Partner Violence

Intimate partner violence (IPV) is abuse that occurs between two people in a close relationship. The term intimate partner refers to current and former spouses, couples who live together, and current or former boyfriends or girlfriends. Some social scientists use the terms intimate partner violence and domestic violence interchangeably, whereas others use intimate partner violence to specifically address the people who are involved in a close personal relationship.

Intimate partner violence ranges from a single episode to ongoing abuse. It includes the following three types of behavior:

  • Physical abuse is threatening, trying, or hurting a partner by using physical force. Examples include throwing objects, pushing, grabbing, slapping, kicking, biting, hitting, beating, and choking.
  • Sexual abuse is threatening or forcing a partner to take part in a sex act when she or he doesn’t consent. The most common examples are coercing a person to have sexual intercourse (the legal term is rape) or unwanted sexual activity (such as anal or oral sex).
  • Emotional abuse is aggressive behavior that threatens, monitors, or controls a partner. Examples include name calling, intimidation, preventing a partner from seeing friends and family, and threatening his or her loved ones. Such psychological and verbal abuse are equally harmful because scorn, criticism, ridicule, or isolating a partner from family and friends can be emotionally crippling.

Often, intimate partner violence starts with emotional abuse that can escalate to physical or sexual violence. Several types of IPV can also occur together, as when a partner berates someone verbally while pummeling her or him. In measuring IPV rates, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also include stalking and controlling a woman’s reproduction (e.g., a man refuses to wear a condom or deliberately tries to get a woman pregnant when she doesn’t want to do so).

Intimate partner violence is pervasive in American society. Nationwide, 36% of women and 26% of men say that they have been IPV victims at sometime in their lives. In 2011, there were more than 1 million intimate partner victimizations, but this number is conservative. An estimated 42% of victims do not report IPV to the police because they are ashamed, believe that no one can help, or fear reprisal. Whether IPV is reported or not, it affects more than 12 million Americans each year, and that includes family members, employers, lawyers, and healthcare providers.

From 1993 to 2010, the overall IPV rate in the US declined for both women and men. During this period however almost 86% of the victims were female.

Each year, IPV results in an estimated 1,200 deaths and 2 million injuries among women compared with 330 deaths and nearly 600,000 injuries among men.

When victims survive and assault, women are much more likely than men to report serious psychological distress (depression, nervousness, and feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness) and to attempt suicide. Women’s poor mental health functioning is due to their greater likelihood of experiencing repeated abuse as well as both physical and sexual violence.

Women are also more likely than men to experience serious physical injuries because they are usually smaller than their partners and more likely to use their fists rather than weapons. Female intimate partners are more likely to be murdered with a firearm then all other means combined. In 2008, the proportion of homicides committed by a spouse was nearly equal to the proportion committed by a boyfriend or girlfriend.

The reason for the drop in marital homicides is unclear, but it might be due to a larger number of women in the workforce who have the finances to leave an abusive relationship. Also, many women have postponed marriage and parenthood, both of which decrease the likelihood of violence because the partners are older, more mature, and have better conflict resolution skills.


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