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While gender-related violence is often associated with the home, this phenomenon has also been linked to the prevalence of criminality among youths. Various studies have established a link between a child’s experience of spousal abuse and them later becoming violent offenders, with the caveat that a multitude of factors are involved in youths developing violenttraits.
One of the suggested causes is that growing up in an environment of domestic abuse fosters a “belief that violence is an appropriate means of settling conflict,” one such study reads.
But these detrimental effects on children are not limited to physical aggression. Research from 2009 on young adolescentsfound that psychological abuse between parents or guardians contributed to the development of violence in children, more so than the type of neighborhood the youths lived in, playing violent video games and even witnessing physical abuse against their parents.
Furthermore, children who witness spousal abuse are also likely to be victims of violence themselves. And, similarly, these youths are more likely to later engage in crime and antisocial behavior.
This ”violence begets violence” theory can become dangerously cyclical, as witnessing or experiencing abuse as a child could worsen the risk of people perpetrating domestic violence themselves later in life.
Contributing to this cyclicality in Latin America is the fact that organized crime itself fuels aggression against women. Indeed, it could be said that many of the chauvinistic tendencies that lead to domestic violence also facilitate the forced participation of women in organized crime.