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Haifa Scholar Discusses Partner Violence

‘Locked in a Violent Embrace’ Explores Escalation

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From left, Rivka and Zvi Eisikovits are welcomed by Prof. Eve Buzawa, chair of the Criminal Justice and Criminology Department. Eisikovits, on exchange from the University of Haifa, spoke about his research on intimate partner violence.

By Sandra Seitz

Sometimes the people we love best are the ones who hurt us the most. Long the subject of literature, drama and film, partner violence is now the subject of rigorous research.

Social welfare Prof. Zvi Eisikovits, director of the Center for the Study of Society at the University of Haifa, discussed his research on intimate partner violence. 

Eisikovits described how couples’ behavioral patterns can lead to the escalation of violence. Within the relationship, he explained, the partners may have differing perceptions of conflict and pain. Also, cultural differences in how to define and respond to verbal and physical abuse can complicate understanding of the escalating violence. 

Eisikovits is the fourth faculty member from University of Haifa to engage in a research exchange with UMass Lowell, through the expanding partnership in peace and conflict studies. The presentation was co-sponsored by the Criminal Justice and Criminology Department, the interdisciplinary Peace and Conflict Studies Program and the Middle East Center for Peace, Development and Culture. During his residency on campus, Eisikovits’s wife, Rivka, is working with the UMass Lowell Graduate School of Education on best practices research in school reform. 

“We are fortunate to have a scholar of international stature address members of the University community,” says Prof. Eva Buzawa, chair of the Criminal Justice and Criminology Department. “Researchers could appreciate his rigorous methodology, while students and the general public could learn from his highly interesting findings.”

Paula Rayman, Peace and Conflict Studies director, says, “One of the most interesting learnings from the event was the comparative perspective he offered on verbal and physical violence in Israel and the United States.”