Intimate Partner Violence: War at Our Doorsteps

Aaron T. Goetz and Gorge A. Romero

in The Oxford Handbook of Evolutionary Perspectives on Violence, Homicide, and War

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199738403
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Intimate Partner Violence: War at Our Doorsteps

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Violence between intimate partners transcends culture and time. This chapter synthesizes several fronts of evolutionary-based research in order to describe and explain the primary causes of female-directed violence. Sexual conflict between men and women suggests that the sexes have unique avenues to reproductive success. Women's mating strategies, coupled with men's inability to ensure that the offspring they invest in are genetically their own, generated selective pressures for men to evolve tactics to eliminate threats to valued relationships. This chapter details how some of these tactics—executed by psychological mechanisms—lead to the violence, rape, and homicide observed among intimate partners. Using evolutionary theory, we seek to provide insight on ultimate explanations for intimate partner violence. Through this and through efforts made to understand proximate explanations of men's violence against women, we hope to contribute to a complete understanding of men's use of aggression in the relationships they value most.

Keywords: intimate partner violence; sexual conflict; paternity uncertainty; infidelity; sexual jealousy

Article.  10749 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Social Psychology ; Clinical Psychology

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