The Cycle of Domestic Violence: Unveiling its Roots and Societal Impact

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Learned Violence: Childhood Observations and Imitation

True violence has poisoned many friends and families around the globe for years. There isn’t a day that goes by that doesn’t highlight a news story about some kind of act of random violence. Every day, reports of fatal shootings, thefts of government buildings and innocent households, and drug exchanges have gone bad, all resulting in death. Violence comes in many forms, such as Sexual Violence, Verbal and Emotional violence, Physical violence, and psychological violence. All such categories have their own real definition. Where does it come from? How has something so negative in the world stuck around for so long?

Violence is a learned behavior. Captured by the young eyes of every child and carried onto adult life. In psychological terms, violence lands under the Nurture aspect of the nature vs. nurture theory developed by psychologist Francis Galton in 1869. The study of human behavior has been in question for centuries. Psychologists have conducted endless case studies and experiments with people of various ages, especially young children, to study the roots of violence. Children make good subjects for these studies because of the stage of human development they are in.

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One important study done by Psychologist Albert Bandura in the 1960s was done to study the social behaviors of children by observation and imitation. The study had a male or female adult physically harm a blow-up clown doll that would react back up to its upright position after being knocked down. The adults would use hammers and their fists and verbally abuse the doll while children ages 4-6 watched. There were a number of results that were caused by the experiment. Kendra Cherry’s article posted in 2018 says, “Children exposed to the violent model tended to imitate the exact behavior they had observed when the adult was no longer present.” Bandura’s observations support the theory that the way a child is raised determines the way the child performs aggressive behavior.

Inter-Generational Impact: The Inherited Legacy of Domestic Violence

One of the most common unfortunate forms of violence is domestic violence. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, domestic violence is defined as the inflicting of physical injury by one family or household member on another, as well as a repeated or habitual pattern of such behavior. Domestic violence is a violent cycle that is carried down throughout members of a household. Children witnessing such violence are more likely to continue the pattern in adulthood later in life.

Domestic violence is a trait passed down from family member to family member. In the eyes of a young child, the abuse can be viewed as a way to control the stability they seek in life. In an article written by Leigh Kellner about alarming domestic violence statistics for the year 2018, “Approximately 5 million children are exposed to domestic violence every year. Children exposed are more likely to attempt suicide, abuse drugs and alcohol, run away from home, engage in teenage prostitution, and commit sexual assault crimes.”

Some of the most notorious criminals in American history have a background of a type of violence. For example, American serial killer, rapist, burglar, kidnapper, and necrophile Ted Bundy, has proven to be a perfect example of child neglect that led to his future behaviors. Bundy was responsible for the death of 36 young women. Ted Bundy was exposed in a household full of lies about who his real parents were. He was more exposed to domestic violence.

Tracing Violent Origins: Bundy’s Childhood Influence

“Bundy was also around domestic violence; it is believed that his mother’s boyfriend beat her around him, and he used to listen to it and possibly was a witness to it. This taught him from an early age that it was okay to hurt women if they did not please you.” (Edwards, 2018). It is believed that from witnessing and learning that It was okay to hurt women if they did not fulfill the standards he acquired, it would be okay to punish them. Bundy used his charms to lure women into his life, resulting in the gruesome deaths of many young women.

There will never be a unanimous answer from the public that violence is for sure a learned behavior. Human development is a tricky subject, A subject that has been studied for many years before our time and will continue to be studied for centuries after us. The evidence produced from experimentation with humans and animals makes it clear that violence is the most telling and most explainable reason why it is a never-ending crime in the world.


  1. Cherry, K. (2018). Observational Learning and How It Works. Verywell Mind. Retrieved from:
  2. Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Domestic Violence Definition. In dictionary. Retrieved from:
  3. Kellner, L. (2018). Alarming domestic violence statistics 2018. Injury Claim Coach. Retrieved from:
  4. Edwards, R. (2018). The Ted Bundy Tapes: Who is Ted Bundy’s mother? Radio Times. Retrieved from:

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The Cycle of Domestic Violence: Unveiling its Roots and Societal Impact. (2023, Aug 30). Retrieved from

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