Violencethat occurs in domestic settings affects all members of the familydirectly as well as indirectly. Domestic settings may includecohabiting and marriage. Although people who form the domesticsettings are believed to have been brought together by love, thereare factors that increase the risk of violent confrontations.Domestic violence is a term that refers to a pattern of humanbehavior that occurs in a family or a romantic relationship and it isused to acquire control and power over an intimate partner (Chhikara,Malik, Jakhar & Dhattarwal, 2013). According to Florida StateStatute 741.28, “Domestic Violence”, means any assault,aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault,sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, falseimprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury ordeath of one family or household member by another family orhousehold member. This paper addresses the issue of domesticviolence, with a focus on its prevalence, forms, origin, and effects.
Prevalenceof Domestic Violence
Casesof abuse within the family setting are many, in spite of the measuresthat have been taken to contain them. WHO (2016) estimates that inthe U.S., about 20 people are abused by their partners every minute.Violence in the family settings can affect any member, but there is asignificant gender difference. For example, studies have shown thatabout four in every five victims of domestic violence are women. Thedisproportionate effect of violence in domestic settings on women hasbeen further confirmed by countries that maintain proper records. Records in the U.S. indicate that about 30 % of women experience atleast one form of abuse by their partners. Globally, 35 % of allwomen have been abused sexually or physically at least one time intheir lifetime (WHO, 2016). In addition, children become victims ofcircumstances when their parents engage in violence. At least one inevery 15 children is at the risk of experiencing domestic violence,where 90 % of the exposed kids witness it in real life (NationalCoalition of Domestic Violence, 2016).
Formsof Domestic Violence
Typesof domestic violence can be classified into four groups. The firstform of violence is physical abuse. This involves the occurrence of aphysical contact that is intended to cause suffering, pain, or anytype of injury (Jura & Bukaliya, 2015). Physical abuse mayinvolve beating or the use of substances (such as acid and hot water)with the objective of harming the victim. Although most of the casesof physical mistreatment are longstanding, women are likely to becomesoft targets during pregnancy.
Thesecond form of violence is sexual abuse, which occurs when a partneris forced to have sexual intercourse without their wish, traffickedfor sexual reasons, or received inappropriate comments regardingtheir sexuality (Jura & Bukaliya, 2015). Sexual maltreatment mayalso affect children, especially in the communities that practicefemale circumcision. Female genital mutilation is also classified asa form of domestic violence because it involves the destruction ofsexual organs of the girls and married women who are forced by theirfamilies as well as communities to undergo circumcision.
Somefamily members may be considered to be safe from physical, as well assexual abuse, but remain exposed to emotional exploitation. Theperpetrators of emotional abuse aim at causing harm to their victimsby disturbing them psychologically. This form of abuse may take placethrough the issuance of threats, a systematic way of undermining theself-worth of the victim, and intimidation (Jura & Bukaliya,2015). In some cases, victims may experience isolation, unrelentingcriticism, stalking, and public humiliation.
Thelast form of domestic violence is economic, which is common infamilies where one partner retains control over the capacity of theother member to access financial resources. This may occur indifferent ways, including a limit on the resources that the victimcannot use or taking resources owned by the affected person by force(Jura & Bukaliya, 2015). These forms of domestic violence mayoverlap, where one person suffers from more than one form abuse atthe same time.
Originof Domestic Violence
Theroot of domestic violence in the modern families can be explainedusing three major theories and concepts. The first theory is based onthe idea that a dysfunction in both the psychological and biologicalsystems can result in violence in the family settings. For example,brain and genetic dysfunctions result in the inability of theaffected people to control impulses and anger, which increase thechances of abusing their partners (Tsavoussis, Stawiki, Papadimos &Stoicea, 2014). Similarly, people who were abused during theirchildhood are more likely to abuse their partners or their childrenwhen they establish their own families.
Thesecond theory, non-subordinate, holds that the existence of animbalance of power between the partners increases the risk offrequent episodes of violence. Supporters of this theory hold thatdomestic violence does not result from the inability of the partnersto control their anger (Tsavoussis etal.,2014). Instead, violence occurs as the stronger partners try to puttheir loved ones under control. In most cases, violence takes placewhen women refuse to submit to their husbands. The validity of thistheory is confirmed by the increase in incidents where theperpetrators of domestic violence barter partners who make someattempts leave relationships that are characterized by frequentincidents of maltreatment.
Third,social theories hold that there is a direct relationship between thetype of environment that a family lives in and the risk of domesticviolence. For example, some families reside in communities thatconsider wife beating as part of the process of disciplining thespouses (Tsavoussis etal.,2014). Women who marry in such communities are at a risk ofexperiencing domestic violence in their entire life. Studies havealso established a positive association between the level of povertyand domestic violence (Tsavoussis etal.,2014). This association can be explained by the fact that poor peoplesuffer from stress, which limit their ability to manage theiremotions as well as interpersonal relations. These partners resolvetheir family issues by abusing their spouses.
Effectsof Domestic Violence
Violencein families affects the health of the victims, their psychologicalwellbeing, and financial strength. Domestic violence can have seriousimpacts on how an individual thinks and interacts with the worldaround them. Long term exposure to domestic abuse can be a source ofnot only physical injuries, but also mental shifts that transpire asthe mind tries to process and adapt to the traumatic events.Intrinsically, domestic abuse affects a victim’s feelings,thoughts, health, and can significantly impact one’s mentalstability.
Themost common types of health effects are physical in nature, and theyinclude broken bones, laceration, bruises, and internal breeding(Chhikara etal.,2013). According to the authors, it is natural to experience such,and acknowledging these physical effects is a very crucial step inembarking on the process towards healing and restoration. Studieshave also indicated that there is a positive correlation betweenviolence in families and the risk of suffering from different typesof diseases, including irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers, chronicpain, arthritis, and pelvic pain (Chhikara etal.,2013). Vulnerability of victims to these medical conditions isassociated with a decline in the strength of immunity and adysfunction in the body systems.
Apartfrom physical health effects, victims also suffer psychologically.People who are abused by the people they trust and love feelhumiliated, disappointed, and hated, which subjects them to the riskof psychological depression and stress. In addition, data shows that90 % of the kids who are exposed to domestic violence areeyewitnesses of the conflict between their parents (NCDV, 2016).There is evidence suggesting that children who witness the batteringof either of their parents often exhibit significant emotional andbehavioral problems including stuttering, psychosomatic disorders,sleep disruption, and school problems (Bates, 2014).
Inaddition to these, there is data showing that 85% of the youthfulboys that witness their mothers being battered are more likely toinflict the same violence as adults in intimate relationships (Bates,2014). Similarly, data shows that 68% of young girls that see theirmothers being battered may tolerate domestic abuse as adults inintimate relationships, more than girls who grow up in families thatare not exposed to domestic violence (Bates, 2014). What’s more,there is evidence suggesting that 72% of children who grow up inviolent homes have greater odds of becoming alcohol or drug abusers.This suggests that the majority of kids that live with the memory ofthe frequent fights between their parents are adversely affectedmentally, which often causes lifelong stress and depression.
Moreover,victims of domestic maltreatment suffer from serious economicconstraints. Financial constraints occur when victims lose jobs,businesses, or partners who have been supporting them. A study hasshown that between 21 % and 60 % of the victims lose their employmentdue to factors that are directly associated with domestic violence(NCDV, 2016). Most of the victims lose their sources of livelihoodbecause of absenteeism occasioned by the physical injuries ofdomestic mistreatment. Additionally, court absences as a result ofdealing with the physical injuries of domestic abuse also jeopardizea victim’s source of livelihood by possible imprisonment. In someinstances, abused victims are coerced into changing places ofresidence implying that a victim’s continuity of employment willbe unintentionally cut short in the process (NCDV, 2016).
Thereis evidence suggesting that about 48% of victims of domestic violencelose the breadwinners of their families after a divorce or separation(WHO, 2016). To avoid further incidences of domestic maltreatment,some victims opt to sacrifice financial security during split-upproceedings. Also, there is evidence showing that men, although themajor agents of domestic maltreatment, are also directly affected bydomestic violence. Data shows that an estimated 8% of men thatdomestically abuse their wives are sacked from their places ofemployment (Bates, 2014). Sadly, domestic violence sometimesinfiltrates into a victim’s places of employment. This has beenconfirmed by data showing that about 78 % of the women who weremurdered by their partners between the year 2003 and 2008 were killedin the places of their employment (NCDV, 2016). To this effect, itbecomes apparent that domestic violence in families affects thehealth of the victims, their psychological wellbeing, and financialstrength. The subsequent section of this paper will discuss thesolutions or mitigation strategies against domestic violence.
Solutionsto Domestic Violence
Thereis a high possibility that the numbers of domestic violence victimswill increase if nothing is done to deter this unpleasant tradition.In this regard, the interventions entail both personal and communalapproaches that are aimed at solving this issue right from thenuclear family, spreading outwards to the entire society. Accordingto Roddy (2015), the first solution is to familiarize individuals andthe general community with the possible indicators of domestic abuse.These signs vary, since they do not always present themselves withphysical signs. It may take forms of abusive domination over a victimin various fashions that might include economic, verbal, andemotional abuse. Thus, it is important that individuals andcommunities be sensitized about the cautionary signs of domesticviolence, its impacts, and how to safely intervene.
Second,organizing neighborhood crime prevention programs might inhibitpeople from abusing others in the first place. There is substantialinfluence and security in numbers when intervening to stop a domesticabuser (Roddy, 2015). Such groups, if appropriately instituted, helpby intervening in domestic violence incidences, helping victims leavetheir oppressors, and providing support for the survivors. In thisregard, it is important to secure funding for community supportgroups for them to effectively perform their duties of communitypolicing.
Third,making penalties for domestic violence consistent and tough can helpsolve this humiliating societal problem (Roddy, 2015). It iscustomary for first-time domestic violence offenders to be given alight sentence like lengthy marriage counseling for instance. Thisprovides an opportunity for first time offenders to easily get offthe hook, making the law partially ineffective in curbing domesticviolence. Therefore, implementing swift and serious sentencing, evenfor first time offenders, will have a positive impact on theoccurrence of this societal menace. Potential domestic violators canhold their horses knowing that the laws governing domestic violenceare unforgiving.
Thefourth solution to domestic violence is empowering women to becomeeconomically independent. It is an undeniable fact that many womentend to cling onto abusive marriages simply because they fear theywill be homeless and they have kids that look up to them. Hence,part of solving the problem would be to economically empower women ina manner that they will no longer be afraid of walking out of anabusive intimate relationship (Roddy, 2015). Above and beyond theseinterventional approaches, it is important to enlist the services ofa psychologist to help the survivors deal with their traumatic pastso that it does not interfere with the exciting prospects of theirfuture.
Violencein families is a common occurrence that affects hundreds of thousandsof families each year. Although people of both genders may sufferfrom domestic maltreatment, women are affected disproportionately.Violence in romantic relationships and family settings may takedifferent forms, including sexual, economic, emotional, and physicalabuse. However, physical and sexual maltreatment are the most commontypes of violence that affect family members. Causes of violence infamilies may include social, psychological, non-subordinate, andbiological factors. However, there is a contradiction betweennon-subordinate and psychological causes. For example, the proponentsof the idea of non-subordination argue that violence occurs infamilies as partners try to control their spouses. Violence affectsall members of the family, including children. Effects may includepsychological, financial constraints, and health impacts. Violencemay escalate over time and cause death, eventually, especially whenno measures are taken to address the underlying causes. Nevertheless,domestic violence, just like any other problem, has solutions thatincorporate the collective efforts of individuals and communities. Itis imperative that domestic violence be exterminated because itelementarily extinguishes the peaceful coexistence of God’s mosttreasured creations human beings.
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