Domestic or family violence involves abusive behavior patterns that individuals go through in an intimate relationship. Domestic violence takes place in families where parents may abuse their children or in marriages where one spouse abuses the other.
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The term domestic violence is defined by American Medical Association Diagnostic and Treatment Guidelines on Domestic Violence (AMADTGDV) as the state, in which powerful individuals in an intimate relationship dominate, misuse their power and victimize the less powerful.
Some of the factors that maintain power differences include differences in financial positions, age differences and state of health. Powerful people use their position to intimidate and control the less fortunate people. According to Buzawa and Buzawa (2003), some people go the extent of using physical violence.
Although all people can experience domestic violence, the most affected are women. Husbands and boyfriends in a relationship are the main perpetrators of violence while girl friends and women end up being the victims. Violence against women is a major problem all over the world in the present days.
This is because the number of women abused and misused by their husbands increases from day to day. Men act as victims of domestic violence in other cases. For instance, in homosexual relationships, powerful men victimize their fellow men.
Domestic violence is a major problem that many people overlook and term as a family issue. Its impacts can however be much more than people may think. Domestic violence has major impacts to families and societies. The main aim of this paper is to determine the reason behind the rapid increase of domestic violence, forms of domestic violence and measures that should be taken to reduce its effects (Aron, Aron & Coups, 2011).
Domestic violence is an important topic that should be clearly understood by people. The topic is very important because many problems arising in modern societies are because of domestic violence. Women, children and the whole society feel the effects of domestic violence.
This makes it a society’s matter of concern. Domestic violence against children is common in many societies. For instance, in the United States of America, it is estimated that more than three million children experience domestic violence sometime during their life. Studies have shown that domestic violence affects the physical, mental and psychological development of children.
Children exposed to traumatic experience become depressed in life. It is important for parents to measure the kind of punishments that they administer to their children when they do something wrong. This is because some of the punishments may be more of mistreatments than punishments for instance making children go without food (Buzawa &Buzawa, 2003).
Other children are abused sexually by their parents. Rape cases between parents and children are common. In many societies, incest taboo is observed where closely related people should not engage in sexual affairs in addition to this, transmission of sexually transmitted diseases becomes common. Incest reduces the respect between parents and their children.
When parents disagree between each other, children are greatly affected. Shipway (2004) points out that when parents divorce, children lack full parental care because they are left in the care of one parent. He further asserts that they may also lack full financial support that contributes to termination of important activities like education.
Injuries resulting from domestic violence affect the health of people. Wife battering is very common in many marriages where husbands beat and hit their wives. Use of physical power leads to head injuries, broken bones and internal bleeding. Some injuries are severe to the extend that they may need medical attendance.
There are cases in which some husbands beat up their wives to the extend they become disabled even after recovery or they die in the process. Pregnant mothers experiencing domestic violence are at greater risks of having miscarriages or giving birth before the fetus is mature enough. Arthritis, ulcers and pelvic pain are some of the health conditions associated with exposure to domestic violence (Shipway, 2004).
Victims living with perpetrators suffer psychologically because of stress, anxiety and fear. The victims are depressed because of the challenges facing them. Exposure to psychological stress increases the risks of the victim committing suicide during the relationship or even after terminating it.
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Anxiety and panic is especially common to women whose husbands abuse them physically. They are confused a condition, which makes most of them loose, focuses. Financial problems arise out of domestic violence. There are some cases in which the husband decides not to cater for the needs of the family.
In this case, children and their mothers suffer from financial problems. If the wife does not have income of her own, then the problem is more severe. Being the head of families, some men take it as their duty to budget for all income in the family including the salary of their wives.
Some make sure that women remain with little of their own money. In cases of divorce, women find it hard to take good care of their families financially. Effects of domestic violence are therefore severe and this is why studying the topic is important. Knowledge of effects of domestic violence in families will help in reducing it (Shipway, 2004).
Violence against women and girls is a worldwide problem affecting physical, social, psychological and economic lives of women. The practice makes women not to exercise their rights and freedoms by making them inferior to men.
All countries experience the problems of violence against women but the degree varies from one society to another. Some of the groups that are vulnerable to violence include the minority groups, indigenous people, refugees and migrant women, disabled women, elderly women and children.
Cultural factors requiring women to be submissive to men encourage the practice. It is very hard to come up with reliable information but studies indicate that 20 to 50% of the total population of women in all countries experience violence from a family member or their companions (Summers, 2002).
According to Summers (2002), studies of domestic violence all over the world show that out of three women, one of them has been beaten up by their husbands, forced into sex or any other form of mistreatment sometime in her life. More than 324 000 expectant mothers are mistreated by their husbands during their pregnancy.
It is the main cause of injuries among women aged between the ages of 15 and 44 in the United States of America and other countries. This is mainly because of increase in wife battering. For students in high schools, it is estimated that for every five girls one of them experience sexual and physical abuse from their partners.
They are forced into having sex or doing it without protection and sometimes bitten when they conflict with each other. Studies have also shown that out of four raped women, their companions committed the crime. Domestic violence is a major cause of homelessness.
A study of 46 cities conducted by Conference of Mayors in the United States of America confirmed wife battering as a cause of homelessness. In addition, a study done by the Ford Foundation found that half of homeless women and children were running way from abuse. Instead of maintaining a stressful marriage, many women decide to run away from homes to search for peace from elsewhere (Summers, 2002).
Rape cases are very high in the United States of America. The number of rape cases goes as high as 683000 per year. This means that at least one woman is raped in every minute. Even though rape cases are high, some of them go unreported. Usually, people well known to the victim do perpetration of rape.
Disabled women are at a higher risk of experiencing abuse than non-disabled ones. Crime cases against disabled people are likely to go unreported than with normal human beings. This may be because of difficulties in communication, physical and social discrimination of the disabled and ignorance of the system of justice.
In addition, the victim may fail to report because it will be a shame to them, the offender may be their primary caregivers and therefore fear that they will be neglected or abused by family members. The disabled are vulnerable to victimization because they cannot run away easily or fight against their enemy. 83% of disabled women and 32% of men are at a high-risk sexual harassment. Increase in rape cases puts people at high risk of unwanted pregnancies and transmission of sexually transmitted diseases (Summers, 2002).
Forms and Causes of Domestic Violence
Summers (2002) argue that physical abuse involves body contact aimed at causing pain, intimidation or harm to the body. It involves punching, slapping, choking, pushing and hitting. Physical abuse also involves preventing lack of enough sleep and medical care.
When an individual inflicts injury on children or pets with the aim of harming the victim, this is physical abuse. Forcing people into sexual matters out of their will is sexual abuse. Cases of rape are common even among married couples.
Psychological abuse occurs when an individual does something with the aim of embarrassing the other. Discrimination causes psychological stress. Insults and threatening partners that they will die if they leave the relationship is emotional abuse.
Domestic violence is caused by a number of factors that vary from one person to another. Consumption of drugs and alcohol are main causes of domestic violence. Studies have shown that drunkard men are likely to beat their wives than non-drunkard ones.
External stress like from work places may lead to domestic violence. Some men transfer work issues to their wives. Failures to meet financial requirements, disruption of families are other causes of violence in families (Cefrey, 2008).
Getting accurate information is very difficult because not all cases of domestic violence. Some women decide to keep the problem to themselves or others fear that if they report, their husbands will divorce them (Cefrey, 2008).
In addition, the respondents may give invalid information to researchers or hide some information. The researcher can be bias so that he manipulates information given by respondent. He can also fail to note down some information provided to him during research. It is therefore difficult to get reliable data.
Violence against women has decreased in the modern world compared to the olden days. This is because wife battering which was allowed by some cultures is now a crime punishable like other crimes. The governments in all countries take strict measures against husbands found abusing their wives either financially, physically or emotionally.
Education for girl child has reduced instances of violence against women. Education has narrowed down the gap that existed between the boy child and the girl child. They work in the same places and earn equal salaries making them equal.
Girls have also known their rights and cannot allow men to interfere with them otherwise; they can take strict measures against them. Through education, men have been enlightened on the major roles that women play in the society. Large numbers of men now appreciate their wives. It is clear that violence has reduced greatly and people look forward to a generation that will be free from domestic violence (Soileau, 2008).
- Domestic violence influences the society negatively by causing:
- Difficulties in life
- High rates of divorce
- Deaths through injuries
Women and girls lead difficult lives because of exposure to domestic violence. Girls are forced to drop out of schools because of pregnancies arising from rape cases. Others conduct sexually transmitted diseases. Women lead stressful lives because their husbands are not willing to cooperate with them.
The belief that they should be submissive to men is a disadvantage to women because they cannot engage in decision-making. Men think that women cannot make sound decisions and therefore take control over everything in the household.
Women do not have say also on sexual matters. Deaths and injuries caused by intimate persons are common among women. Many pregnant mothers miscarry their babies because of exposure to stressful conditions. Other men beat their wives to the extend that they need medical attention.
Finally, divorce and homelessness are caused by domestic violence. Many families have broken up if one partner is abusing the other. Women leave their homes to search for peace in other areas like towns. Domestic violence has negative impacts to the well being of families as well as development of the society (Renzetti & Bergen, 2005).
Domestic violence is abusive behavior that an individual goes through in a intimate relationship. The main victims of domestic violence are women even though homosexual relationships put men at a risk of becoming a victim.
Violence against women should be avoided because its effects are severe. Domestic violence increases mortality rate of many countries by causing deaths of wives, children and unborn babies. Other victims commit suicide because of psychological and emotional stress.
Violence against women is linked to occurrence of certain diseases like ulcers that cause death if untreated. Since domestic violence is a global matter of concern, necessary measures should be taken to ensure that it is completely eradicated in all societies.
This can be achieved by taking strict measures against spouses found mistreating their partners and children. Living in a domestic violence free area will improve the standards of living of wives (Shipway, 2004).
Aron, A., Aron, E. & Coups, E. (2011). Statistics for the behavioral and social sciences: A brief course. New Jersey, NJ: Pearson Prentice-Hall.
Buzawa, C. & Buzawa, E. (2003). Domestic violence: The criminal justice response. New York, NY: Sage.
Cefrey, H. (2008). Domestic violence. Washington, DC: The Rosen Publishing Group.
Renzetti, C. & Bergen, R. (2005). Violence against women. New Jersey, NJ: Rowman & Littlefield.
Shipway, L. (2004). Domestic violence: A handbook for health professionals. New York, NY: Routledge.
Soileau, M. (2008). Domestic violence: The forgotten victims. New York, NY: Xulon Press.
Summers, R. (2002). Domestic violence: A global view. London: Greenwood Publishing Group.