Domestic Violence and Abuse

“Domestic violence is considered as one of the most serious issues the world has been fighting since ancient times”(Kimmel, 2001, p. 1332). “The worldwide estimate of the United Nations reports that approximately 20 to 50 percent women have been physically abused by a member of the family, most frequently by an intimate partner” (Kimmel, 2001, p. 1332). In the United States, domestic violence is also regarded as a significant problem of society that needs to be addressed.

“The results of the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) conducted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) in 2001 reported nearly 700,000 incidents of intimate partner violence, wherein approximately 85 percent of the victims are female”. Meanwhile, there are “2. 3 to 10 million children who are exposed to domestic abuse annually, 70 percent of whom are maltreated as well” (Rossman, Hughes, and Rosenberg; Fantuzzo and Mohr; qtd in Summers 8). Defining Domestic Violence Domestic violence is defined as any act which happens within the family among any family members.

This involves abuse to elderly, abuse to a child, battering and beating one’s wife, and other violence that may occur within the family. In some cases, domestic violence does not involve direct physical contact. Domestic abuse may happen constantly while physical abuse may happen occasionally. It happens between men and women, between two males, and between two females, regardless of age. “It really has intense consequences for the lives of young children, communities, families and individuals” (Domestic Violence Policy, 2008).

In the United Kingdom, the Domestic Violence Policy of 2008 was developed. It clearly defines domestic violence as: “patterns of behavior characterized by the misuse of power and control by one person over another who are or have been in an intimate relationship. ” “Abuse that results from domestic violence may be sexual, physical, emotional, economic or psychological” (Shipway, 2004; Domestic Violence Policy, 2008). Psychological form of domestic violence may involve “intimidation, harassment, damage to property, threats, and financial abuse” (Domestic Violence Policy, 2008).

Intimate partner violence (IPV) is also a similar term to domestic violence. It happens not only within the scope of family where marriage is considerably important. IPV happens to individuals who are under cohabitation or other living-in arrangements. In IPV, acts of violence inflicted on the live-in partner occurs like battering, spanking, verbal abuse and other related abuses. National Domestic Violence (2007) also has another definition: a pattern of “abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner.

” It is a range of violent behavior that causes abuse and trauma to the victims. Most cases suggest that domestic violence usually happens when men uses power, control and dominance over women. Selfishness triggers a person to perform domestic abuse. In a romantic relationship, couples tend to become overprotective to each other. The result of too much love may lead to obsession and may result in violence. Paranoia will always be there since one may think that people will take their partner away from them. Such fear of losing the partner can turn a person into a violent individual.

One this is obvious, abuse of power makes a person commit domestic violence (Domestic Violence Policy, 2008). Forms of Domestic Violence There are many forms of domestic violence. It can be through physical means, which is the most common form of domestic violence. Other forms of physical violence include sexual abuse, slapping, hair pulling, biting, spanking, slapping, grabbing, pinching, and many others. Other forms include emotional violence, verbal abuse, and psychological abuse such as threatening, humiliating, and manipulating the victim.

It can also go as far as criminal acts like stalking, terrorizing, isolating, coercing, wounding and killing. Physical abuse also includes neglecting the sick family member to go under medication and receive the right medicine. Forcing family members to use drugs and drink alcohol is also another form of physical abuse (Domestic Violence, 2006). Marital abuse is also present among married couples. “Marital rape is one example of domestic violence wherein either the husband or wife forces the other to engage in a sexual activity that is against their will” (Domestic Violence, 2006).

Any sexual contact or behavior without the consent of any parties is considered as a criminal act. The said forced sexual activity is highly penalized by law. Verbal and emotional abuse may not be visible but this can also be a ground for a case of domestic violence. Undermining the self-worth and self-esteem of an individual causes emotional abuse. Degrading the individuality of a person is one way of damaging the person’s image to other people. The verbal and emotional abuse may also lead to psychological violence and make the victim insane.

Too much intimidation causes fear. Psychological harm may also cause the victim to physically harm him- or herself (Domestic Violence, 2006). Another form of domestic violence is through economic abuse. This occurs when the perpetrator tries to manipulate the family resources. Total control over the financial accounts of the family, selling out land titles and consuming the family owned properties are ways to show economic abuse (Domestic Violence, 2006). Family is the basic unit of society. This is supposed to be the foundation of love, care and harmony for every individual.

However, the aforementioned forms of domestic violence show the opposing meaning of what a true family is. The effect of domestic violence is not limited to family members. It also affects peers, co-employees and the society as a whole. Violence against men, women and children Cases of domestic violence involves all people of all ages. Incest is also one form of of sexual abuse. This is a sexual activity between people who have blood relationship. Women are more likely to be abuse during their pregnancy. Some delicate cases of pregnancy do not require sexual contact to their partners.

This is where forced sexual activity takes place. Violence during pregnancy involves the neglect of husband to give proper medication to their wives, verbal abuse, absence of care and concern to the wife, continuous wife beating, infidelity and miscarriage. In cases of successful pregnancy the effect of domestic violence will be passed on to the new born child. It results in prematurity, long term illnesses, and some cases of abnormalities. Domestic violence among female is really prevalent in most countries. This is because women are always attributed with personality of weakness and powerlessness.

They are always victimized by domestic violence because many of them do not fight back. The strength that most of them have is also not enough to counter the dominance and power of the perpetrator. It is not amusing to know that women become a victim of this case as many of them are always afraid of fighting back. In some cases, hospitality girls are only forced to do such immoral job because it is rooted from their childhood when they experience domestic violence from their fathers. Domestic violence in men may seem impossible for most people. This is because of the preconceived notion that men have a domineering and powerful by nature.

Mostly, men who experience domestic violence belong to the lower social classes and suffer from sickness. They are violently treated female family members. Men who live with the same male partner are those who are victims of domestic violence. Cohabitation of male to male partners is those who experience cases of domestic violence. Those who don’t live with female intimate partners do not always involve cases of domestic violence. Most men who experience domestic violence go through forced sex, physical assault and stalking by their male cohabitant. Male victims of domestic violence are ashamed to come out and shout for justice.

This is because they wanted to preserve their image of being strong and never be defeated by anyone. “They do not want to be viewed as weak or less of a man” (James, 2003). There are also chances that reports from male victims are often neglected and rejected by the authorities because of doubts and disbeliefs. Police and other authorities will not take the allegations seriously because males are always tagged as the abusers. In a homosexual relationship, they are also afraid to file cases of domestic violence because of fear of being criticized and humiliated in the society.

Violence against children is also a big issue. It involves physical abuse for most cases. Unwanted pregnancy results to birth of an unwanted child which carries out all the disappointments and frustrations of the parent. Most cases of husband-wife abuse passes on the curse to their children who suffers double the pain of domestic violence. “Men who batter their wives are more likely to sexually abuse their children” (James, 2003). Adopted child are also abused by their adopted parents and siblings. They are the one who carries the burden of the whole family.

Adopted children do the household chores and other activities at home. II. Causes, Effects and Signs of Domestic Violence. Causes of Domestic Violence There are many underlying causes of domestic violence. When a person starts to use power to dominate over the victim, chances are higher that domestic violence will occur. The need of an abuser to control and dominate family members causes domestic violence. This is because they have low self-esteem, selfish motives, jealousy, difficulties in controlling anger and other related strong emotions.

Inferiority complex is also one cause of domestic violence. Insecurity takes place and the abuser feels that he/she needs to fight back in order to gain the same level of power to the successful family member (James, 2003). The traditional beliefs that men are always superior to women primarily cause domestic violence. This is still visible in the present times. Such domination will reach up to the extent of committing verbal, physical, emotional or sexual abuse. Violent behavior is also caused by situational and individual factors.

This means that when an abuser has a history of domestic violence, they may inherit the violent behavior and carry it over to the present generation (James, 2003). For younger individuals whose parents fight, domestic violence can be viewed as a reasonable way to solve conflict. This is base on their observation of their parents. Children who were raised in an environment full of angst and abuse are more likely to adopt the same method once they settle for a family of their own. A young boy who always sees his father beating up his mother is more likely to batter his wife in the future.

On the other hand, female children who came to witness domestic violence inside the house are more inclined to believe that being abused by their partner is acceptable (James, 2003). Lack of confidence and self-esteem causes domestic violence. This is because a child who grows up in a violent oriented home are inclined to have lesser self-worth. As he becomes the extension of anger by his parents, he may develop a negative reflection of his own self. This can make him feel frustrated and cause him to isolate himself. It produces a controlled hidden anger which he may unleash towards his own family or partner when he grows up (James, 2003).