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Violence against Women: Focused on Intimate Partner Violence between Lovers

  • Young-Oh Hong, Seong-Jin Yeon, Seung Hee Ju   |   2015
  • Wednesday, January 25, 2017
  • Hits : 3127

Studies on violence against women that occurs between intimate partners have been largely focused on domestic violence between husband and wife in Korea. Although the concept of intimate partner violence usually encompasses all kinds of violence, such as stalking, date violence, family violence, etc., this study deals primarily with violence between intimate partners (or lovers), excluding violence in the family.


Data were collected from the following sources. First, official statistics on intimate partner violence (homicide, sex offenses, physical assault, and so on) was collected from Crime Analysis: 2005-2014 published by the Supreme Prosecutor’s Office annually. Second, data were also collected from agencies regarding sexual violence victim assistance. Third, an internet survey with 4,000 adults (national random sample) was also designed to gather data regarding specific incidents of intimate partner violence, respondents’s individual characteristics, and some situational factors to affect the attitudes and behaviors of both offenders and victims of the violence. Fourth, in order to investigate the characteristics of offenders who committed sex crime and murder, data were collected from the official written records that were initially prepared for the screening of subjects for the suitability of electronic monitoring. Fifth, four offenders (two prison inmates and two offenders under probation) who committed the crime of violence against lovers were subject to in-depth interview so that the offenders’s socio-demographic and social psychological traits as well as situational factors were collected. Sixth, a comparative legal approach to the measures to control intimate partner violence examined various measures to combat the crime at the cross-national context.


Findings from the secondary data revealed that 10% of homicide cases and 2.5% of sex crimes for the past 10 years occurred between lovers. Surprisingly, the percentage of sex crimes committed against lovers has been increasing for the past 10 years, with 218 cases in 2005 and 686 cases in 2014. The percentages of the crimes of violence and physical assault against lovers were on average 2.1% and 1.6%, respectively.


As for homicide, offenders were more likely to have previous records of criminal behavior (about 80% of the offenders committed crimes before.). Murder was more likely to occur “accidently” “among divorcees (45.2%)” “while drunken (42.0%)” and among the “lower class people (77.7%).”


As for sex offenses, offenders were more likely to be “first-time offenders (28.2%)” “under the influence of alcohol (25.1%).”


Offenders of violence or physical assault were also more likely to have previous records of crime (about 80% of the offenders committed crimes before.) “under the influence of alcohol (50.%).”


Findings from the internet survey showed the prevalence of “being controlled by the male partner,” “psychological and emotional violence,” “physical violence” and “sexual violence.” Major findings are as follows:


First, 71.7% of female respondents experienced the incidents of “being controlled” by male partner, 36.6% psychological/emotional violence, 22.4% physical violence, 37.9% sexual harrassment/misdemeanor, 17.5% sexual violence, and 8.7% physical injury.


Second, respondents were asked what they would do if an intimate friend of theirs was being offended by their partner. Men were less likely than women to intervene the incident (17.2% of men not being involved in the incident because it is their personal affair.) In terms of permitting dating partners the right to get access to official criminal records, 62.7% was in favor of the permit, with female respondents being more likely to favor.


Third, regarding the attitudes toward violence against women, men were more likely than women to be tolerant with men’s violence against female lovers when their violence could be justified due to some wrongs done by the women.


Fourth, violent males tended to reveal a low self-esteem and problems of adults attachment, relation safety, and borderline personality disorder.


Findings from the analysis of written records prepared for the screening of subjects for the suitability of electronic monitoring are as follows:

Offenders charged with homicide were more likely to be a specialized criminal — 70.6% of them committed only murder, 24.2% committed another crime in addition to the murder, and only 3.9% committed another homicide. Offenders’ relationship with the victim was ex-lover (35.2%). 36.1% of the murders confessed that they suffered child abuse when young. 71.4% of those who committed homicide had prior criminal records of 3 or more times.


An analysis of the risk of re-offending per KOTRAS-G showed that those who killed (ex-) lovers scored the highest 12.22, friends 11.58, strangers 11.10, ex-spouse 9.09, with the differences being statistically significant. Another analysis with risk re-offending scale PCL-R revealed that those who murdered (ex-) lovers scored the highest 13.11.

Socio-demographic and other situational characteristics of the crime showed that victims were more likely to be employed in service jobs, and offenders were more likely to be under the influence of alcohol.


Drawing on the findings above and other policies and programs developed by governmental and private agencies in other countries, this study further suggested the adoption of legal prescription for the disclosure of offenders’ criminal records to be accessed by the general population under certain restricted conditions. Further, a particular alert to dating violence between lovers should be campaigned and educated so that the general public could be more sensitive to the seriousness and pervasiveness of intimate partner violence in the society.


Keyword Violence, Women, Partner