Say “NO” Domestic Violence!!!
Domestic violence (also domestic abuse, spousal abuse, intimate partner violence, battering, or family violence) is a pattern of behavior which involves violence or other abuse by one person against another in a domestic setting, such as in marriage or cohabitation. Intimate partner violence (IPV) is violence by a spouse or partner in an intimate relationship against the other spouse or partner. Domestic violence can take place in heterosexual and same-sex family relationships, and can involve violence against children in the family or, in some U.S. states, violence against a roommate.
Domestic violence can take a number of forms, including physical, verbal, emotional, economic, religious, and sexual abuse, which can range from subtle, coercive forms to marital rape and to violent physical abuse such as female genital mutilation and acid throwing that results in disfigurement or death. Domestic murders include stoning, bride burning, honor killings, and dowry deaths.
Domestic violence affects men, women, and children. In the United States, 35.6% of women and 28.5% of men have experienced some form of domestic violence (including rape, physical violence, or stalking) by an intimate partner in their lifetime. Globally, however, a wife or female partner is more commonly the victim of such violence. In some countries, wife-beating is often seen as justified, particularly in cases of actual or suspected infidelity on the part of the woman, and may be supported by laws. Recent research has also shown there to be a direct and significant correlation between a country’s level of gender equality, and actual rates of domestic violence. Both partners may also engage in abusive or violent behavior, or the victim may act in self-defense or retaliation. Whereas women who experience domestic violence, at least in the developed world, are often openly encouraged to report it to the authorities, it has been argued that domestic violence against men is most often unreported because of social norms and pressure against such reporting; those that do often face social stigma regarding their perceived lack of machismo and other denigrations of their masculinity.
Domestic violence occurs when the abuser believes that abuse is acceptable, justified, or unlikely to be reported. It may produce intergenerational cycles of abuse in children and other family members, who may feel that such violence is acceptable or condoned. Awareness, perception, definition and documentation of domestic violence differs widely from country to country. In abusive relationships, there may be a cycle of abuse during which tensions rise and an act of violence is committed, followed by a period of reconciliation and calm. Victims of domestic violence may be trapped in domestic violent situations through isolation, power and control, cultural acceptance, lack of financial resources, fear, shame, or to protect children. As a result of abuse, victims may experience physical disabilities, chronic health problems, mental illness, limited finances, and poor ability to create healthy relationships. Victims may experience psychological problems, such as post-traumatic stress disorder. Children who live in a household with violence often show psychological problems from an early age, such as dysregulated aggression which may later contribute to continuing the legacy of abuse when they reach adulthood. Domestic violence often happens in the context of forced or child marriage.
Intimate partner violence
The term intimate partner violence (IPV) is often used synonymously with domestic abuse or domestic violence, but it usually refers to abuse occurring within a couple relationship (marriage, cohabitation, though they do not have to live together for it to be considered domestic abuse).
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines intimate partner violence as “… any behaviour within an intimate relationship that causes physical, psychological or sexual harm to those in the relationship.”
To these forms of abuse, the WHO adds controlling behaviors as a form of abuse. Intimate partner violence has been observed in heterosexual and same-sex relationships, and in the former instance by men against women and by women against men.
Traditionally, domestic violence (DV) was mostly associated with physical violence. For instance, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary definition, domestic violence is: “the inflicting of physical injury by one family or household member on another; also: a repeated / habitual pattern of such behavior.” Domestic violence is now more broadly defined, often but not always including “all acts of physical, sexual, psychological or economic violence“that may be committed by a person who is a family member or a person that has been an intimate partner or spouse, irrespective of whether they lived together.
In 1993, The United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women identified domestic violence as one of three contexts in which violence against women occurs. The Declaration defines domestic violence as:
Physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring in the family, including battering, sexual abuse of female children in the household, dowry-related violence, marital rape, female genital mutilation and other traditional practices harmful to women, non-spousal violence and violence related to exploitation.
In 2013, the UK government released a new definition regarding domestic violence. They defined it as “any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 and over who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality. This can encompass, but is not limited to, the following types of abuse: – psychological – physical – sexual – financial – and emotional.”
Child maltreatment, sometimes referred to as child abuse and neglect, includes all forms of physical and emotional ill-treatment, sexual abuse, neglect, and exploitation that results in actual or potential harm to the child’s health, development or dignity. Within this broad definition, five subtypes can be distinguished – physical abuse; sexual abuse; neglect and negligent treatment; emotional abuse; and exploitation.
Elder abuse is, according to the WHO: “a single, or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust which causes harm or distress to an older person”.
Domestic violence can take many forms, including physical aggression or assault (hitting, kicking, biting, shoving, restraining, slapping, throwing objects, battery), or threats thereof; sexual abuse; controlling or domineering; intimidation; stalking; passive/covert abuse (e.g., neglect); and economic deprivation. It can also mean endangerment, criminal coercion, kidnapping, unlawful imprisonment, trespassing, and harassment.
Physical abuse is abuse involving contact intended to cause pain, injury, or other physical suffering or bodily harm. It includes hitting, slapping, punching, choking, pushing, throwing objects, burning and other types of contact that result in physical injury to the victim. The victim may be abused by several perpetrators: for instance the victim may be held down by a person so that someone else can assault the victim. The victim may be locked in a room or tied down.
Acid attacks, also seen in domestic violence, occur when acid is thrown in anger or vengeance at the victims, usually at their faces, burning them, and damaging skin tissue, often exposing and sometimes dissolving the bones. This can result in long-term blindness and permanent scarring of the face and body.
Denying the victim needed medical care, depriving them of sleep or other necessary functions, forcing the victim to engage in drug or alcohol use against their will, or creating any physical harm are all forms of physical abuse. It can also include inflicting physical injury onto other targets, such as children or pets, in order to cause emotional harm to the victim.
In recent years, strangulation in the context of DV has received significant attention. It is now recognized as one of the most lethal forms of DV; yet, because of the lack of external injuries, and the lack of social awareness and medical training in regard to it, strangulation has often been a rather hidden problem. As a result, in recent years, many US states have enacted specific laws against strangulation.
Both women and men have been killed as the result of domestic violence. IPV homicide, however, makes up a greater proportion of all female homicides than it does male homicides. For instance, in the United Kingdom, 37 percent of murdered women were killed by an intimate partner and for men, 6 percent were killed by an intimate partner. From 40 to 70 percent of the women murdered in Canada, Australia, South Africa, Israel and the United States were killed by an intimate partner. The World Health Organization states that globally, about 38% of murders of women are committed by an intimate partner.
In the Middle East and other parts of the world, planned domestic homicides, or honor killings, are carried out due to the belief of the perpetrators that the victim has brought dishonor upon the family or community. According to Human Rights Watch, honor killings are generally performed against women for “refusing to enter into an arranged marriage, being the victim of a sexual assault, seeking a divorce—even from an abusive husband—or (allegedly) committing adultery,” or exhibiting behavior perceived to have dishonored the family. In some parts of the world, where there is a strong social expectation for a woman to be a virgin prior to marriage, a bride may be subjected to extreme violence, including an honor killing, if she is deemed not to be a virgin on her wedding night due to the absence of blood.
Bride burning or dowry killing is a form of domestic violence in which a newly married woman is killed at home by her husband or husband’s family due to their dissatisfaction over the dowry provided by her family. The act is often a result of demands for more or prolonged dowry after the marriage. Dowry violence is most common in South Asia, especially in India. In 2011, the National Crime Records Bureau reported 8,618 dowry deaths in India, but unofficial figures estimate that there are at least three times more dowry deaths.
Ritual scarification of children is practiced among various societies. Some view this practice as child abuse: for instance UNICEF considers ritual scarification of children as a “harmful traditional practice”.
The dynamics of physical abuse in a relationship are often complex. Physical violence often occurs after a period of months or even years of other forms of abuse, such as threats, intimidation and controlling behaviors such as restrictions of the other person’s self-determination, through isolation, manipulation and placing of limits on personal choices and freedoms.
Sexual violence, or sexual abuse, is defined by World Health Organization as any sexual act, attempt to obtain a sexual act, unwanted sexual comments or advances, or acts to traffic, or otherwise directed, against a person’s sexuality using coercion, by any person regardless of their relationship to the victim. It also includes obligatory inspections for virginity and female genital mutilation. Aside from initiation of the sexual act through physical force, sexual abuse occurs if a person is unable to understand the nature or condition of the act, unable to decline participation, or unable to communicate unwillingness to engage in the sexual act. This could be because of underage immaturity, illness, disability, or the influence of alcohol or other drugs, or due to intimidation or pressure.
In many cultures, victims of rape are considered to have brought ‘dishonour’ or ‘disgrace’ to their families and face severe violence, including honor killings, from their families and relatives. This is especially the case if the victim becomes pregnant.
Female genital mutilation is defined by the WHO as “all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.” This procedure has been performed on more than 125 million females alive today, and it is concentrated in 29 countries in Africa and Middle East.
Sexual abuse in the family can take the form of incest between an adult and a child, which is a form of child sexual abuse. In some cultures, there are ritualized forms of child sexual abuse that often take place with the knowledge and consent of the family of the child, where the child is induced to engage in sexual acts with adults, whether or not in exchange for money or goods: for instance in Malawi, some parents arrange for an older man, often called “hyena”, to have sex with their daughters. The Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse is the first international treaty that addresses child sexual abuse that occurs within the home or family.
Reproductive coercion (also called “coerced reproduction”) are threats or acts of violence against a partner’s reproductive rights, health and decision-making; and includes a collection of behaviors intended to pressure or coerce a partner into becoming a parent or ending a pregnancy. Reproductive coercion is associated with forced sex, fear or inability of negotiating condom and contraceptive use, fear of violence after refusing sex, and abusive partner interference with access to healthcare.
In some cultures, marriage imposes a social obligation on women to bear children. In northern Ghana, for example, payment of bride price signifies a woman’s requirement to bear children, and women using birth control face substantial threats of violence and reprisals. The WHO includes “‘customary’ forms of sexual violence, such as forced marriage or cohabitation and wife inheritance” within its definition of sexual violence, as well as forced pregnancy. Wife inheritance, or levirate marriage, is a type of marriage in which the brother of a deceased man is obliged to marry his brother’s widow, and the widow is obliged to marry her deceased husband’s brother. Sexual violence also occurs between spouses or partners. Marital rape is non-consensual sexual intercourse or penetration perpetrated by a person against his or her spouse. Marital rape may be experienced through patterns of physical abuse, force, or demeaning sexual behavior by the perpetrator. It is under-reported, under-prosecuted, and is still legal in many countries, partly because of a myth that sex between married partners, whether consensual or not, cannot be rape. For centuries non-consensual sex in marriage was not considered a crime because it has been held historically that by marriage a woman gave irrevocable consent for her husband to have sex with her any time he demanded it. Feminists worked systematically since the 1960s to criminalize marital rape.
In 2006, a study by the United Nations found that marital rape is a prosecutable offense in at least 104 countries. Once widely condoned or ignored by law and society, marital rape is now repudiated by international conventions and increasingly criminalized. The countries which choose to ratify the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, the first legally binding instrument in Europe in the field of violence against women, are bound by its provisions to ensure that non-consensual sexual acts committed against a spouse or partner are illegal. The convention came into force in August 2014.
Where marital rape is legal, or otherwise not prosecuted in practice, women are instructed before marriage that sex with the husband is their absolute duty, that they do not have the right to ever refuse it, and that it is considered the right of the husband to take it by force, if “necessary”. In Lebanon, for instance, while discussing a proposed law that would criminalize marital rape, Sheik Ahmad Al-Kurdi, a judge in the Sunni religious court, said that the law “could lead to the imprisonment of the man where in reality he is exercising the least of his marital rights.”
Emotional abuse (also called psychological abuse or mental abuse) can include verbal abuse and is defined as any behavior that threatens, intimidates, undermines the victim’s self-worth or self-esteem, or controls the victim’s freedom. According to the Istanbul Convention, psychological violence is “the intentional conduct of seriously impairing a person’s psychological integrity through coercion or threats”.
Emotional abuse can include threatening the victim with injury or harm, telling the victim that they will be killed if they ever leave the relationship, isolating them from others, and public humiliation. Controlling behavior includes monitoring the victim’s movements, or restricting their access to financial resources, employment, education or medical care. Constant criticism, devaluing statements, and name-calling are emotionally abusive behaviors. It may also include conflicting actions or statements which are designed to confuse and create insecurity in the victim. These behaviors also lead the victims to question themselves, causing them to believe that they are making up the abuse or that the abuse is their fault. Perpetrators may alienate a child from a parent or extended family member by teaching or forcing them to harshly criticize another person. Stalking is a common form of psychological intimidation, and is most often perpetrated by former or current partners.
People who are being emotionally abused may feel that their significant other has nearly total control over them. Isolation damages the victim’s sense of internal strength, leaving them feeling helpless and unable to escape from the situation. Victims often suffer from depression, which puts them at increased risk of eating disorders, suicide, and drug and alcohol abuse.
Verbal abuse is a form of emotionally abusive behavior involving the use of language, which can involve threats, name-calling, blaming, ridicule, disrespect, and criticism. Less obviously aggressive forms of verbal abuse include statements that may seem benign on the surface that are thinly veiled attempts to humiliate, falsely accuse, or manipulate others to submit to undesirable behavior, make others feel unwanted and unloved, threaten others economically, or isolate victims from support systems.
Economic abuse is a form of abuse when one intimate partner has control over the other partner’s access to economic resources. Economic abuse may involve preventing a spouse from resource acquisition, limiting the amount of resources to use by the victim, or by exploiting economic resources of the victim. The motive behind preventing a spouse from acquiring resources is to diminish the victim’s capacity to support his/herself, thus forcing him/her to depend on the perpetrator financially, which includes preventing the victim from obtaining education, finding employment, maintaining or advancing their careers, and acquiring assets. Forcing or pressuring a family member to sign documents, to sell things, or to change a will are forms of economic abuse.
In addition, the abuser may also put the victim on an allowance, closely monitor how the victim spends money, spend victim’s money without his/her consent and creating debt, or completely spend victim’s savings to limit available resources. When an allowance is broken or there is a disagreement about the justification for any money spent, the abuser may punish the victim with physical, sexual or emotional abuse.
In parts of the world where women depend on husbands in order to survive (due to lack of opportunities for female employment and lack of state welfare) economic abuse can have very severe consequences. Abusive relations have been associated with malnutrition among both mothers and children. In India, for example, the withholding of food is a documented form of family abuse.
SAY “NO” TO DOMESTIC VIOLENCE!!!
Source and credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domestic_violence