Animal Abuse and Domestic Violence

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In 2017, 90% of the 1,873 domestic violence programs in the United States contributed to a survey conducted by the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV). In this particular survey, NNEDV collected data over a 24-hour period from the participating organizations on September 17th of that year, compiling together the number and types of calls they received. The study found that over 72,000 victims in the United States were served in a single day (NNEDV, 2017).

Coupled with this information is the fact that in a study verified by the United States Humane Society, upwards of 71% of domestic violence victims stated that their abuser lashed out at pets as well (The Humane Society, 2017). Considering that animal cruelty and domestic violence are pressing issues that are often intertwined with one another, there are a few observable links that exist between the two. Some of these links include having the MAOA gene, childhood trauma, heightened levels of testosterone, and societal pressures (I.e. toxic masculinity).

In this paper, these links will be analyzed, and their likelihood as being potential indicators for physical violence will be determined. Given the fact that so many cases of domestic violence and animal cruelty go unreported every year,

Link #1: MAOA-L

The MAOA gene, colloquially referred to as the Warrior gene, is responsible for breaking down neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin. Dopamine is responsible for motor-function and releasing feel-good chemicals, while serotonin plays a role in regulating mood, sleep, and emotions. In individuals that have the low-activity variant of the MAOA gene, heightened aggression and impulsiveness have been observed (Cohen, 2018).

This is due to the fact that the low-activity variant of the MAOA gene does not break down dopamine and serotonin as efficiently as it should. This inefficiency results in the neurotransmitters not being broken as quickly, resulting in irregularities in dopamine and serotonin levels that lead to the previously stated symptoms. That is not to say that everyone with the low-activity variant of the MAOA gene is prone to committing acts of violence, however.

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Animal Abuse and Domestic Violence. (2019, Apr 07). Retrieved May 25, 2024 , from

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