Domestic violence are two of the most highlighted cruelty in the Catholics’ point of view. These are household-related violence that the big victims are always the children. The hodgepodge of domestic violence and child abuse in different countries today is really disturbing. All aspects of the society – which starts from the smallest unit, that is the family, to the church and even to the government sectors – are all keen on finding solutions on how to eliminate, or at lest minimize the causes and effects of continuously increasing rates of domestic violence.
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However, as of now, it seems that the only way to survive is to have a strong self-encouragement to outwit the oppressor. But is this really effective for protection against domestic violence happening around?
With today’s generation of people’s fascination with movie heroes like superman, batman and spiderman to save the land from tyranny increases, the thirst for justice about it also go sky-high. Man’s admiration for those superheroes was uncontrolled that the only thing that can be done is to hope and expect for some leaders who can solve these kinds of problems. Some people think that dilapidation of great leaders today will surely go along with the increase of domestic violence and child abuse because they think that the rules and law that governs each nation will not be implemented properly if without the efforts of their own leaders.
C.J. Newton (2001) defines domestic violence as “isn’t just hitting, or fighting, or an occasional mean argument. It’s a chronic abuse of power. The abuser tortures and controls the victim by calculated threats, intimidation, and physical violence. Actual physical violence is often the end result of months or years of intimidation and control.”
Creating a cycle of violence, the origin behind the intended actions is the manifestations in the societal conditions such as poverty and greed for power and control. Some experiences like in most countries, violence against women is caused by patriarchal domination of men. Statistic shows that an estimate of 3 million women is physically abused by their husband or boyfriend per year according to the Commonwealth Fund. Others are accounted to childhood problems that was not solved overtime, mental illness and authoritarianism (Commonwealth fund, 1999). With this data alone, it can be realized that domestic violence seems to be historically repeating within the family. Those who were once victimized by their own families or loved ones have the tendency to victimize their own kids and/or loved ones. This then gives an idea that domestic violence is also psychological problem in nature which makes it more challenging to solve, hence the continuous increase in the numbers of victims and oppressors.
In America alone, there are 6,000 families recorded where men often abused their wives and children (Strauss, Gelles and Smith, 1990). Other worth-noting statistics include:
- There are at least one in every three women around the world who has been ‘beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime and what is most disturbing is the fact that most often than not, the abuser is a member of her own family’ (Heise, Ellsberg and Gottemoeller, 1999)
- In the United States, it is estimated that physical violence occurs in 4 to 6 million intimate relationships every year (Rodriguez, Bauer, McLoughlin, Grumbach, 1999)
- Also, based on records there’s one-third of every adult women experiences at least one physical assault by a partner during adulthood. More so, it is estimated that four million ‘American women experience a serious assault by an intimate partner during a 12-month period’ (American Psychological Association. Facts About Family Violence)
- Lastly, researches reveal that ‘2 million to 4 million US women are assaulted by a domestic partner every year. Twelve million women (25% of the female population) will be abused in their lifetime. Up to 35% of women and 22% of men presenting to the emergency department have experienced domestic violence’ (Massey, 1999)
It should also be noted that the prevalence of this problem is likely to originate in the economic condition of the families. Low-income families are prone to loss control of anger because they are starving and there are no sources of income to buy food. This involves bickering between the husband and wife on where should one can get money for their own sustenance. Eventually, the husband use their own strength and power to control over their wives to maneuver the tension with their own family to seek help either by begging or in some cases women with no choices are selling their own flesh (coined as “prostitution”). This also involves hitting and sexual harassment of women. Patriarchal domination really coincides with domestic violence. This is usually widely seen in Asian countries where poverty is widespread.
Disturbing and alarming, it cannot be denied that men and women (children and adults) are witnessing an act that is very unfair. People should respond to this problem not only relying to the leaders but also to one’s own effort to eliminate the problem. It will be of great bliss if there are lots of people who are helping the victims to express their long-endured pain. This problem deserves public attention and resources because it can kill everyone and systematically be a cycle to every generation. National and local governments should put an attention to this by forming a special task force. Task force shall constitute a wide array of persons who themselves experienced such agonies and torture. This also includes psychiatrist and psychologist to help the mentally incapacitated.
The long ordeal of every victim is extremely painful unless he or she can break the culture of silence through their own strength and struggle. Domestic violence has different forms and can really obliterate the mental, emotional, physical and social aspect of every human being. In order to defend one’s suffering, there are a lot of institutions that will reach the victims. There are now various websites which can serve as effective ways to seek help, others include 24-hour crisis line, support groups, education program, counseling services, housing program for women and for children to move whenever there are violent and threatening acts, giving livelihood projects to women and to children in order for them to have their own income and boost their own confidence. However, these are impossible if not supported financially by private institutions and the national and local government, people should act and help reach out for the victims. It’s time to put an end and need to think of solutions and possible imaginations to overpower such tendencies of violence. Signature campaigns, online information dissemination, broadcasting, advertisement through media, postings blogs, outreach program, community immersion and education are great answers to step forward for the abolition of this problem.
Now, with domestic violence continuously occurring, do people really have a choice? Yes, there is a choice by combating and breaking the culture of silence and cycle of violence; this will give immediate relief and proactive services that will move the sufferers or the victims to better, safer and healthy directions.
- C.J Newton. (2001) “Domestic Violence: An Overview.” Find Counseling Network. Web.
- American Psychological Association. Facts About Family Violence. American Psychological Association Web Site.
- Heise, L., Ellsberg, M. and M. Gottemoeller. (1999) Ending Violence Against Women. Population Reports, Series L, No. 11. Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, Population Information Program.
- Massey, J. (1999) Domestic Violence in Neurologic Practice. Archives in Neurology.56:659-660.
- Rodriguez, M., Bauer, H., McLoughlin, E., and K. Grumbach. (1999) Screening and Intervention for Intimate Partner Abuse: Practices and Attitudes of Primary Care Physicians. JAMA, The Journal of the American Medical Association.282:468-474
- Strauss, Murray A, Gelles, Richard J., and Smith, Christine. (1990). Physical Violence in American Families; Risk Factors and Adaptations to Violence in 8,145 Families. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers.
- The Commonwealth Fund, (May 1999) Health Concerns Across a Woman’s Lifespan: 1998 Survey of Women’s Health,.