PSYCHOLOGY OF GENDER (VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN)

Running header: PSYCHOLOGY OF GENDER 0

Psychology of Gender and Violence against Women

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Abstract

Violence against women is a global pandemic that takes varied forms. These acts of violence have led to the suffering of many girls and women. It also has significant consequences to the victims and their families. This research explores the psychology of gender and identifies the essential causes of gender-based violence in the United States and the most common forms of gender violence against women. It uses theoretical approaches to explain human behavior and events in real life. It also recommends strategies that can be used to mitigate violence against women.

Psychology of Gender and Violence against Women

Introduction

Violence against women is a menace that negatively affects third women globally. In the United States, the issue not only annihilating to the victims of gender violence and their families but also has significant social and economic consequences. Violence against women refers to any gender-based acts that violate the rights of women and is likely to cause economic, sexual, physical or physiological harm to them. Gender-based violence can take various forms like physical assault, sexual harassment, rape, forceful reproduction, domestic violence and abuse by intimate partners. Women also suffer forced prostitution, human trafficking, genital mutilation and mob violence. Modern forms of harassment like stalking and cyberbullying are also considered as violence against more women. According to a report published by the World Bank, about 35% of women all over the world have experienced either sexual and/or physical assault by their partner at one point in their life. 10% of women globally have experienced sexual assaults from people that are not their partners (Garcia-Moreno et al., 2019). Millions of women have undergone female genital mutilation. Besides, many women have died due to these violence acts committed against them, most of which go unreported (Flood, 2019). Due to lack of in-depth understanding of gender psychology, women have been prejudiced and discriminated upon. Some women are not allowed to access medical care, while others have been denied freedom of movement.

Statement of the Problem

Many women all over the world suffer gender-based violence that breaches their rights. Most of these acts of violence go unreported because of fear, blackmails and lack of self-awareness among women. Violence against women has also caused millions of deaths globally and has negative impacts, particularly in US society. Many people do not understand the psychology of gender, which worsen the situations further.

Purpose of the Study

This research intended to explore gender psychology and how it is related to the causes of violence against women and their impacts on US society. Besides the qualitative study identifies the approaches that can be used to eliminate violence against women in the US and the actions women can take to cushion themselves against assaults from the society.

Research Objectives

The main aim of this research is to establish the reasons behind violence against women in the United States. It also determines the most common manifestations of violence and hostilities towards women in the US and to identify the strategies that be used by the Federal government and the local community to reduce and eliminate violence against women and girls. Besides it identifies the ways of empowering women so that they can defend themselves from gender-based violence and the impacts of such cases in the US society

Research Questions

The study intends to answer the following questions; what are the causes of violence against girls and women in the United States? And which strategies can be used by the federal government and the members of the local community to reduce and eliminate such cases? What are the most common forms of violence against women in the US? And how can women and girls become empowered so that they can protect themselves these types of abuse? What are the impacts of violence against women in US society?

Research Hypotheses

This study hypothesizes that 80% of violence against women is due to lack of understanding of the psychology of gender.it also claims that most common forms of violence against women in the US are murder, physical and sexual assaults and that more than a third of the homicides in the US are due to violence against women. The study also predicts that10% of women in the United States suffer gender-based violence because of ignorance of their rights and forms of violence against them.

Literature Review

Gender-based violence is widely influenced by the way people perceive gender. The term gender is used to describe the sex or identity of a person in terms of being male or female. It is mostly used to refer to social differences instead of biological variations in males and females. In gender psychology, there are four major perspectives used to explain human behavior and gender disparities. They include biological theory, social learning perspective, and psychoanalytic theories and the cognitive development approach (Helgeson, 2016). However, another hybrid theory called the gender schema combines the principles of social learning and cognitive development ideologies.

Biological principles can be used to explain human behavior. The structure and function of the human brain, hormones and genes influence behavior, cognition and sexual orientations of individuals. They also impact on their gender roles and identity. Genes majorly determine sexual differentiation and cognitive abilities of individuals. The males have identical chromosomes XX, while males have X and Y chromosomes which is the significant difference between men and women. Besides, some genes command more exceptional cognitive abilities than others. Hormones, on the other hand, control the activities of the brain which have a profound effect on cognition and behavior. For instance, testosterone (male hormone) is associated with aggression. Mc Andrews (2016) argue that testosterone responds to environmental aspects such as competition and the risk of losing status. The quest to remain dominant can explain men’s competitiveness, reduced empathy and violence against women and girls.

In the Psychoanalytic theory, Freud Sigmund suggested that the development of gender is determined by the unconscious realization of the penis at the early stages of development. Boys feel superior to girls because they have a penis (Clements et al., 2018). They develop an admiration for their mother but repress their feeling because of the fear of competition for their mothers love from the father (Oedipus complex). In the process, boys develop muscularity. Girls, on the other hand, envy boys because of the penis and are attracted to their fathers blaming their mother for lack of penis (Electra).

Social learning theory postulates that gaining gender-oriented behavior as a result of reinforcement and modelling. Boys and girls get rewarded for displaying behaviors that correspond to their sexes. Gender roles are also reinforced by society. Gender stereotyping displays woman as weaker people (Cromer et al., 2019). Men, on the other hand, are taught to be aggressive through movies, video games and by their fathers. Sometimes parents buy sex-typed toys. Sexism encourages prejudice and discrimination against women. Social learning theory explains why men express aggression, hatred and anger against women.

Cognitive development theory explains the role of children in the interpretation of the acquisition of gender roles. The child starts with the identification of gender, which is followed by gender constancy (Nadal, 2017). The child cognitive abilities cooperate with their environment in the construction of gender roles. Personal cognition interacts with what is observed in the background. Violence against women has been passed down many generations through social cognition.

The gender schema theory explains that individuals categorize themselves as either masculine or feminine. This helps them in gender identification and influences their thinking, dressing code and behavior. Gender schema theory combines the aspects of social learning and cognitive development perspectives (Riggs, 2019). Individual’s cognitive abilities help them classify themselves as males or females, after which they learn what other people of the same gender, behave and think. Men learn aggression from other men. Gender-based violence is also acquired from society.

In the United States, many cases of violence against women have been reported. This indicates how the psychological theories of gender influence most Americans. Women are still discriminated upon. Gender stereotyping is also very common in all states (Ellemers, 2018). Many women have died due to violence. Physical assault, rape, forced prostitution and trafficking young women are also witnessed in the US. Sexism and prejudice against women are also prevalent. Through social learning, men have learnt to display aggression and domination over women in US society.

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