Domestic violence is the pattern of abusive behavior on one or both partners in an intimate relationship. It may occur while dating, in marriage, in a family or while cohabiting. Domestic abuse can occur to any person regardless of their gender, size, or strength. It can happen to persons of any age, race, sexual orientation, religion, or gender. It affects people of all socio economic backgrounds. Domestic violence is sometime expanded to include child abuse. It occurs in both traditional heterosexual partnerships and in same-sex unions. Domestic violence escalates from threats, verb abuse, and physical violence. It may even end up in murder. Perpetrators need not have a previous history of domestic violence. There is no specific cause for domestic violence. Women are the most affected but men are also affected to a lesser degree. A mind set framework that gives men power and control over women has helped accelerate this behavior. In most instances victims ignore the tell tale signs only to end up in mental hospitals, or even dead.
Violence at home is often overlooked, denied, or excused especially when the abuse is psychological rather than physical. The society contributes to domestic violence by not giving it the seriousness and weight that it deserves. It is regarded normal and even encouraged in some cultures as a way to tame women. Men are also victims and they find it difficult to report. When they report, they are seen as weaklings who could not defend themselves. The police do not always treat domestic violence as a crime. They regard it as normal domestic dispute that should be resolved by the couple. The courts may also fail to award severe consequences to the perpetrators in an attempt to discourage them. The community ostracizes domestic abusers and most often place the blame on the woman. Gender roles, stereotypes and the socialization processes condone abuse by men to women.
Domestic violence can be physical, emotional, or sexual violence towards an intimate partner. Physical abuse includes acts such as hitting, shoving, biting, kicking, and throwing objects. Emotional abuse is involves intimidation, stalking, neglect, and economic deprivation. Mental, emotional abuse and psychological abuse can be verbal or non-verbal. Its psychological effects are far much worse than those of physical abuse are. It may include threats, destruction of a person’s personal property and possessions and property, violence to a person’s pet or something they love or own. Harassment and criticizing a person’s decisions can lead to very painful emotional experience. Sexual abuse is forceful engagement in unwanted sexual activity. It also occurs when a person is engaged with sex against the will of their partner. Society instigated domestic violence include violence against women through female genitalia mutilation performed without the consent of the woman. Rampant in the Horn of Africa and in East Africa, if one refuses to be circumcised as a girl, your husband reserves the right to approve it on your behalf. The midwife mostly does it before a woman gives birth. Marital rape is the most common form of abuse that in most instances goes unreported.
The effects of domestic violence on married people are diverse. Violence between spouses can cause physical, emotional, and even economic drain to the victim. It is caused by a myriad of problems that can be socially acquired or genetically acquired.
The media frequently bombards us with news on domestic violence. Domestic counselors and psychologists agree that there are ranges of factors that cause domestic violence. It is not clear what would motivate a person to be so harsh and aggressive towards a loved one. A usual pattern of behavior on the perpetrator is that they alternate from violent abusive behavior to being very apologetic and promising to change. They may be very loving and pleasant people experiencing outbursts of anger and lack of self-control. It is not because of losing control but intentional control of another person that makes one feel that they reserve the right to do anything they want no matter how detrimental. The aggressor uses verbal, non-verbal, and physical means to achieve control. From a loving couple and probably with no significant signs of committing outrageous crimes to now a criminal.
Domestic violence often begins with threats and verbal abuse to physical violence. While the physical harm is the most dangerous, the emotional and psychological consequences are detrimental. Emotionally abusive relationships destroy one’s self worth, lead to anxiety, depression and leave one feeling alone and helpless. The most tell tale sign that one is in an abusive relationship is when you realize that you have to be extra careful near your partner, one lives in constant fear and has to walk on egg shells and not sneeze near your partner. One constantly watches what they say in order to avoid triggering a blow up.
A great number of women fall victim of domestic violence. There is a strong correlation explaining past experiences to a person’s tolerance on violence. For instance, many women remain in abusive relationships because they do not know what it is to not be in one. They have seen their parents being abused all through their lives, they know it is not okay but they will not leave. Tension arises when a perpetrator begins name-calling, losing respect on each other and showing feelings of resentment. The victim remains in the relationship believing that he or she can change the spouse. The perpetrator is always insecure and behaves regretful often apologizing. This cycle keeps the victim in the abusive relationship by provoking their victims of love, fear, and hope. In some cases, the perpetrator makes the victim to believe that they were to blame for the harm done on them. The victim may even end up apologizing to the perpetrator for making them angry. Open communication is vital in all relationships, as no one should live in fear of the other.
Causes of domestic violence
There are different theories to explain the conditions that breed domestic violence in families. Psychological theories consider the mental and personality traits of the perpetrator. There are social theories that consider external factors in the environment. The social theories attempt to explain the effects of socio-environment factors on an individual. This includes the family structure, social harmony, and stress. Researchers conclude that there are three causes of domestic violence: socialization process as a child, experiences in previous relationships and levels of strain and stress in an adult’s day-to-day life. In most relationships, violence arises out of a person’s perceived need for power and control. They become bullies at their own home environment. This can be attributed to low self-esteem and feelings of inadequacy. Outbursts of anger, poor self-esteem, and poor impulse control are factors that can lead to domestic violence. Most aggressors of domestic violence are psychopathic.
Childhood experiences influences largely the likely hood of the adult to engage in domestic violence. A person who was violated in his childhood years will most likely be an abusive partner in a relationship especially if no counseling was done to them. Children bred in abusive relationship, whether it was the parents fighting each other or one or both parents violating the children rights may incorporate abuse into their future relationships. Unresolved childhood conflicts, the stress associated with poverty, resentment of women in some cultures and societies, resentment of men, personality disorders and genetic disorders are causative factors. They could be instilled in a Childs socialization process that justifies violence in a relationship setting. Individuals exposed to domestic violence use violence and mistreatment s a way to vent out anger.
Psychiatric disorders such as mental illness can are sometimes associated with domestic violence, schizophrenia and anti social personality disorder. Violence is most commonly reported in families where one or both spouses are excessive alcohol users abuse drugs. It is however uncertain if there is a strong correlation between these and substance abuse as not all drinkers get aggressive. However, in most atrocities committed the perpetrators are often drunken.
Drug and substance abuse for new initiates or for addicts may make one to commit an offence. Most perpetrators act under the influence drugs, alcohol, or other substances. Men who engage in alcoholism have a predisposition for engaging in physical violence against their spouses. Alcoholism and drug abuse enhance the likelihood of male-to –female aggression.
Sexual deprivation between couples may lead to physical abuse in the form of rape. Some partners due to their religious stand may forego their marital obligations. This may make the other partner to use force in order to have sex with them. No one should force a person into unwanted, unsafe or any form of degrading sexual activity.
Gender roles play a huge role in causing domestic violence. Exploring these roles can help address the issue of gender violence. In some cultures, the place of a woman is clearly defined. If a woman for instance refuses to perform her daily chores, her husband reserves the right to abuse her. This is prevalent in Africa, Asia and among Hispanic races. In most cases, the society does not intervene. When a woman is abused, it is considered normal and no action is taken. Victims of domestic violence may also experience lacerations, broken bones, bruises, head injuries, internal bleeding, and chronic pelvic pain. Also common is the frequent urinary and vaginal tract infection, sexual transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS.
Economic hardship caused by retrenchment, prolonged unemployment and poverty can cause stress which is often let out in aggression towards ones partner. when a person who used to take care of his family is no longer able to do so; and the demands to provide are still there he may often fall into depression and may become violent to either his spouse or the children.
Lack of tolerance on different views of a spouse may also steer violence. For instance, a man with extremely conservative religious beliefs may fail to tolerate the wife’s impartial stand on religion. They may coerce their wives into declaring a similar stand. Powerful people for instance the politicians may intimidate the women in their lives because they can manipulate the justice chambers. Other factors such as race, religion, sexuality, philosophy, and class inform a person’s view on other people and may make one violent especially if their opinion is not held by many. For instance, a husband may get into a cult that requires the woman to get circumcised or to quit employment. This may not auger well with the spouse.
Resorting to the community may be inadequate such that a victim of domestic violence does not always get all their needs addressed. For instance, seeking refuge in a shelter may require one to leave their neighborhood, job, schools, social support system, and childcare. These challenges may force one to tolerate an abusive union to ensure that other important things are not foregone. To add to this most women in abusive relationships are themselves poor hence they may lack the needed mobility and financial resources needed to leave an abusive relationship. Male victims have problems accessing shelter hence they decide to take all the violence directed unto them.
Other immediate causes of domestic violence include stress, desperation, depression, jealousy, and provocation by a partner.
Effects of domestic violence
Domestic abuse is a major concern to most public health departments. Nearly 30% of homeless people have lost their families due to domestic violence. This has led to increased costs in medical expenses due to health care costs and loss of work productivity. Abuse of women has led to miscarriages or birthing of low weight babies. It may also affect the mental development of the unborn baby leading to low intellectual performance.
Battered women suffer mental and physical problems. It causes difficulties in old age. Diseases such as Arthritis, heart failure and hypertension are relatable to women who have been in abusive relationship. It also affects the economic well being of n individual. Abused people often cannot concentrate well on their jobs because of absenteeism. Frequent absence due to illness or court hearings may jeopardize ones livelihood. In addition to this people, living in abusive relationships may be obligated to move from one place to the other to avoid violence. Moving about is in itself costly and will definitely interfere with normal employment schedule. Violated persons may not always get the public’s sympathy and are often isolated from family and friends. In addition to this, the perpetrator separates them from friends and family who can protect them. The victims also become embarrassed of the abuse inflicted on them and withdraw from helpful persons to avoid humiliation. In religious contexts, one is obliged to stay with an abusive spouse since religious doctrines forbids separation and divorce regardless of circumstances. Many women have forgone financial security during divorce proceedings to avoid further abuse. They end up being impoverished in old age. Their children may demonstrate significant behavioral and emotional problems that may include psychosomatic disorders, anxiety, stuttering, sleep disruption, school problems, and excessive crying. Boys who have lived with abusive fathers are also likely to be abusive as adults. Girls who witness maternal abuse are more likely to be attracted to and to tolerate abuse as adults compared to those who do not. Counseling and domestic violence programs can help alter these vicious cycles.
Physical Domestic violence can lead to temporal or permanent disability of a victim. It may also lead to negative coping mechanisms such as drug abuse and drunkenness. Children raised in abusive relationship may develop serious emotional, developmental, academic, and behavioral problems. They may become violent to other children or become withdrawn social misfits. Others may display the perfect child image ignoring what is happening around them. Children exposed to domestic violence are likely to attempt suicide, use drugs, assault other people, or use violence to regain their lost self esteem.
The cycle of domestic violence is very difficult to break as it has been presented as a norm in the family. Some people resort to violence because no one ever stopped them from exercising violence in the past. They therefore exert control over other vulnerable people near them. This is because in their entire lives they have solved their problems with violence. Acknowledging the signs and symptoms of domestic violence is the most important step towards ending it. Domestic violence is used to threaten, hurt you, or hurt those around you. The bottom line is that any form of abuse should not be condoned whether it is from a husband, wife, stepparent, or peers.