This paper examines the reasons why males are physically abusive against their spouses. There are three important factors which play a large role in spousal abuse, they include: social stress, power and alcohol. Since the beginning of time women have been highly subordinated, this explains the reasons why men in Intimate relationships almost always hold the upper hand. .
To understand the subordinate status of women within our society, one must understand and recognize the legacy of women as the "appropriate" victims of family violence. The root of these crimes lies a society in which patriarchy determines the worth of human beings, with women treated by men as possessions and things. Traditionally, husbands have exercised greater control in marriage, income and status, which they have acquired by being the "breadwinners" of the family. Males abuse this power they are granted in the form of physical abuse in their intimate relationships. Spousal abuse is on the rise in many families and if professionals were able to determine all causes, prevention would also be on the rise. Spousal abuse is defined as any intentional act or series of acts that cause injury to the spouse (Wallace, 2002 p.180). Researchers have found that violence within marriages tends to escalate over time in intensity and frequency (editor: Johnson, Pagelow, 1985). Although there are many factors that play a role in spousal abuse the three major ones are: social stress, power and alcohol.
Within the living arrangement of a family, forces converge to cause stress (Wallace, 2002 p.183). This increased stress leads to a high rate of violence within the family. Many times this violence is directed toward the spouse in the form of physical assaults. However, stress does not cause violence; instead, it is a response available to people who suffer from stress. Males in these situations have a low stress tolerance and poor stress management skills.