Domestic violence has been acknowledged to be a rapidly growing concern all over the world during the last 20 years, and as a result, countries around the world are working on developing strategies to stop the violence and provide more mechanisms to protect women, men, and children who are battered and abused every day. For example, according to a subset of 94 police departments in Canada in 2002, approximately one-quarter (27%) of all victims of domestic crimes were victims of their close family member. Among all family violence victims, 6-in-10 (62%) were victims of violence at the hands of their husband or wife.
The domestic violence statistics are frightening, according to Mental Health Journal “… 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” (Newton). Without a shadow of the doubt, domestic violence has an adverse effect on society, and before it is too late, some actions should be taken into matters.
According to the dictionary definition, domestic violence is an “abuse committed by a wife, a former spouse, a fiancée, a boyfriend or girlfriend, and a cohabitant upon another individual.” Statistics show that an act of domestic violence occurs every 15 seconds somewhere in the United States. That figure translates to over 2.5 million victims per year. (HHS) The horrifying thing about the domestic abuse is that it is affecting the lives of a victim her/himself as well as the people who surround her/him in the household.
Domestic violence has many forms, including sexual abuse, physical violence, mental abuse, intimidation and frightening, or threats of violence. (Wikipedia) To my mind, the simple truth is that people abuse because they can get away with it. In most cultures, men have more power than women, in some cultures and religions, age grants you power. And of course, if there is an imbalance in the power distribution is sure to come.
Domestic violence has recently driven a lot of attention from various women organizations who are willing to protect the wives that are being beaten and psychologically abused by their husbands. The topic of family or domestic abuse has even become a primary focus of modern feminism, particularly regarding «violence against women».
However, for too long, domestic violence has been an only women’s issue, as women have always been considered to be weaker and more vulnerable than men. But domestic violence should not be viewed as a female issue only, because if in 2002 more than three-fourths of spouse violence homicide victims were female nowadays the number of intimate partner homicides of men is much sharper. (American College of Emergency Physicians)
Domestic violence occurs in all cultures and countries, to people of all races, ethnicities, and religions. Both men and women experience domestic violence and even occurs in same-sex and opposite-sex relationships. It’s been proven by statistics that the domestic abuse appears on the same level in well developed and wealthy countries as well as in poor and less developed regions of the world.
A good example of the widespread of domestic violence in Canada that is considered to be one of the wealthiest and most developed countries. Domestic violence became a significant health concern in Canada. Its effects are seen in all areas of healthcare, and medics have a role to play in detecting and supporting the victims of domestic violence. There have been guidelines developed by professional organizations across the country stating how to deal with this problem.
The numbers are horrendous, the analysis of police-reported family-related violence against older adults in Canada has discovered that rates have increased between 1998 and 2002 significantly. Rates against older females increased by 42% (from 38 to 54 victims per 100,000 females) while rates for older male victims increased by 30% (from 30 to 39 per 100,000 men) during this five-year period. (Brzozowski, Jodi-Anne)
The response to domestic violence is typically a combined effort between law enforcement agencies, the courts, social service agencies and probation agencies. However, a lot of cases of domestic abuse are not reported, and that is why this issue is so hard to resolve. (Wikipedia)
Witnessing the domestic violence at home has a great effect on children. When they see or hear an abusive dialog or witness the actual act of physical abuse, they experience the aftermath and sensation that the young soul is not ready to suffer. Even when the parents believe the children are unaware of what is happening, the children can often have detailed information about the events. Where the wife/partner is being abused, the children are also likely to be abused themselves. This applies first of all to the emotional abuse where the child’s self-esteem is battered by being shouted at, being called names or being told that he/she is not good enough. Quite apart from possible physical involvement or direct physical abuse, these mental actions have a harmful, deep and often long-lasting effect on the children.
Many children who witness the abuse of their mothers, fathers or other family members start themselves demonstrate significant behavioral and mental problems such as fear, excessive crying, low self-esteem, and nervousness. It has been proven that boys who observe acts of domestic violence at home during their young age are more likely to beat their female partners as adults than boys raised in nonviolent homes. The way the child is affected depends on the individual child, his/her age, and gender, how much they are involved in the abuse and how strong his/her personality is. Although research in this field is still largely lacking, it is generally agreed “Domestic Violence or Abuse is highly relevant to the child’s present and future well-being.” (Brzozowski, Jodi-Anne)
Finding the reasons or causes of domestic violence is rather tricky. There is never one reason for domestic violence, but it usually begins with one person needing to control another person. It starts with verbal insults then over time escalates into physical violence. Abusers are usually the people who feel the need to control because of low self-esteem, difficulties in managing anger, dissatisfaction with the life or career, extreme jealousy, and other strong emotions. But no matter what the reason for the beginning of the abuse is, domestic violence is an inappropriate violation of the human rights that cannot stay unnoticed.
Before we can stop the domestic abuse, it is essential to understand just what domestic violence is and what it is not. Domestic violence is not about love and one of the partners having problems; it is simply about the imbalance of power and control. There are no excuses for the abuser, and one should not try looking for some, because one should feel bad for a person who attempts to control another through threats, actual use of physical violence, physical attack, and verbal or mental abuse. To create peace in our communities, we need to change the social norms and regulations that allow domestic violence to exist in the modern world simply. Domestic violence happens because we let it happen and it will stop right when we say it must stop.
Every sector of society is affected by the domestic violence because each family is a little individual cell of a social body and only if all the cells are functioning right the body can flourish. I think we all should try to find the solution to this “deadly” path that the domestic abuse is taking and each person has a critical role to play in doing so.
Brzozowski, Jodi-Anne, Family Violence in Canada: A Statistical Profile 2004, Statistics Canada, Canadian Center for Justice Statistics, published by authority of the Minister responsible for Statistics Canada Minister of Industry, 2004
Newton, C. J., Domestic Violence: An Overview. TherapistFinder.net Mental Health Journal (http://www.therapistfinder.net/journal/). February 2001.
Wikipedia – free encyclopedia, Domestic Violence, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domestic_violence.
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Domestic Violence Fact Sheet, http://www.athealth.com/consumer/disorders/DomViolFacts.html#3
American College of Emergency Physicians, Domestic Violence http://www.acep.org/webportal/PatientsConsumers/HealthSubjectsByTopic/Violence/domviolence.htm
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