This just-published paper examines the incidence of intimate partner violence (IPV).
The over-representation of Maori is examined. The authors looked at three theories;
1/ That Maori are more likely to be economically deprived and this goes hand-in-hand with increased risk of IPV
2/ That Maori have greater exposure to childhood violence so a intergenerational influence is at work
3/ Colonisation has torn Maori away from cultural roots and identity
They tested each and found that while the first two held some validity the last held none.
A final explanation that requires discussion concerns the extent to which the observable ethnic asymmetry in IPV relates to Māori cultural identity, as is proposed by the systemic theory of colonisation. This explanation to account for the over-representation of Māori in IPV was not supported by the data. In particular, a preliminary analysis of the bivariate relationships between cultural identity and IPV showed similar rates of both victimisation and perpetration among those identifying as sole Māori and those with a Māori/other identity. Had strength of cultural identity, including level of affiliation to cultural domains, played an explanatory role in understanding ethnic differences in IPV, one would have expected to see a gradient in which rates of violence varied with degree of Māori identity, but this was not the case.
This is quite earth-shattering for those Maori who strongly assert that bringing people back in touch with their cultural identity will put them on the straight and narrow so-to-speak. Rehab programmes through to separatist Maori education should all be viewed with a new degree of scepticism as to whether they will deliver what is promised.
Certainly reducing socio-economic hardship and inter-generational welfare dependence look more promising as methods of reducing IPV.
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