Domestic violence refers to violence among other forms of abuse by an individual against another in a family or domestic setting
Domestic violence refers to violence among other forms of abuse by an individual against another in a family or domestic setting (Summers, 2002). Domestic or family settings include cohabitation and marriages. Similarly, domestic violence encompasses intimate partner violence which occurs in intimate relationships. Domestic violence takes place in any type of relationship including same-sex and heterosexual relationships. Domestic violence often involves any or all the members of a family like parents, children and the elderly among other relatives living within the family setting. Domestic violence has immense physical and psychological effects on the victims, the perpetrators, and children in the setup thereby inhibiting holistic growth and development of a family thus the need to combat the abuse.
Globally, women constitute most of the domestic violence victims and often suffer the severest types of violence from their partners. In some cultures and countries across the world, violence against women is justifiable especially in cases of either suspected or actual infidelity by the woman. Studies show that prevalence of domestic violence among other forms of gender violence enjoys a direct and equally significant correlation with the level of gender equality in a country. Countries and regions with low levels of gender equality and entrenched patriarchal social systems record the highest rates of domestic violence. Domestic violence remains one of the most underreported types of crime in most societies owing to the characteristic stigmatization of the victims. Domestic violence remains prevalent in societies across the world. Even in the United States, women remain the overwhelming majority of the victims of domestic violence.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), violence against women especially sexual violence and intimate partner violence remain a major problem in the realms of public health. The violence violates the basic human rights of women across the world. The organization asserts that 35% of women globally have experienced different forms of violence including sexual or physical intimate partner violence and non-partner sexual violence. The figure implies that one in every three women has experienced the various forms of violence. 30% of women in intimate relationships have experienced physical or sexual violence from their partners. Similarly, up to 38% of the reported murder of women are atrocities committed by the male intimate partners (WHO, 2017). The statistics show that domestic violence is a major social problem in most societies across the world.
Domestic violence takes numerous forms since the perpetrators use different abusive and coercive behaviors that contribute to the injury of their victims. Some of the techniques cause physical injury while other techniques abuse their victims emotionally. While emotional abuse may not cause physical injuries, they damage the victims psychologically thus causing low self-esteem and may result in suicidal thoughts. The most predominant forms of domestic violence include sexual violence, physical violence, economic abuse, and emotional abuse.
Physical violence is the use of physical force to assault a partner. Physical violence involves grabbing, shoving, slapping, hitting, choking and the use of weapons to assault another. Physical violence causes physical injuries including scratches, burns, fractures, and cuts. In such cases, victims need immediate medical attention. In other cases, physical violence causes soft tissue damages (Lang, 2011). The effects of physical violence depend on the extent and scale of the violence. Sexual violence, on the other hand, involves the violation of the bodily integrity of a partner. It includes unwelcome sexual behavior, prostitution, rape and coercing sexual behaviors. Sexual abuse covers any behaviors that may limit the reproductive rights of a person like refusing to use contraceptive and compelling an abortion among others.
Emotional abuse is yet another major category of domestic violence that have equally catastrophic ramifications on the members of the family. Emotional abuse refers to the dedicated effort to undermine or damage a person’s sense of self-worth. The category of abuse comprises name calling, humiliating, mocking constant criticism, embarrassing, and treating a partner like a slave or a servant. Emotional abuse has immense psychological effects on a person since it lowers the sense of self-worth and can lead to depression, low self-esteem and even drive others to suicide among other types of self-harm (Johnson ; Project Muse, 2008). Finally, economic abuse is yet another common type of domestic violence. It refers to any effort by abusers to make their victims depend on them financially (Summers, 2002). Sustaining the economic dependence makes the victim vulnerable thereby improving their power to molest their partners. Examples of economic abuse include preventing partners from seeking employment or starting businesses. It also involves forbidding a partner from gaining an education or pursuing a talent among other ways of disabling an individual financially.
Signs of domestic abuse further refer to diverse concepts. First, the signs can include the potential signs of a partner being an abuser. Such signs can help the victim seek help early enough to avert the adverse effects of an abuse. Some of the signs include a bully partner who strives to control the actions of their spouses. A partner who accuses the other of infidelity exhibits a degree of insecurity that readily morphs into any form of abuse (Nelson, 1997). Other signs of abusive partners include an individual who criticizes the other, readily yells at the other, controls the dress codes of the partner and blames the partner for the violence. Such symptoms point to a chronic abuser who will find excuses to abuse a partner either physically, economically, emotionally, or sexually.
Similarly, the signs of domestic abuse can refer to the symptoms that can tell others that a friend or colleague is experiencing abuse. Such signs include physical injuries. Unexplained physical injuries that appear overnight are practical signs of an individual who experiences physical violence. Low self-esteem, lack of interest in social activities and depression are also potential signs of domestic violence. The American government among other stakeholders in the society have developed elaborate resources to help victims of domestic violence. Some of the resources include a dedicated hotline number that connects victims to law enforcement agencies, well-trained advocates, and counselors. The toll-free number enables victims of domestic violence to access justice and medical help in time. the advocate offers legal counsel and representation to enable victims to access justice for their injuries.
In conclusion, domestic violence remains a major public health issue with numerous adverse consequences on the health and physical well-being of people across the world. The problems remain significant with one in three women globally experiencing either sexual or physical violence. Some of the observed risk factors for domestic violence include poor education, low self-esteem, young age, low income, antisocial personality traits and excessive use of alcohol. Similarly, the types of domestic violence include physical violence, emotional abuse, economic control, and sexual abuse. All the forms of violence have immense physical and psychological consequences that affect the growth, development, and well-being of the victims.