Domestic Violence against Women

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Domestic Violence against Women Domestic violence against women refers to structural acts of aggression, sadism, pain, and oppression that are gender-based resulting to physical, psychological, and sexual harm, and suffering to women.
Coercing, arbitrary deprivation of liberty and threatening to engage in actions causing harm and suffering either in public or private to women also constitute gender-based domestic violence. According to Black, Basile, Breiding, Smith, Walters, Merrick, Chen, and Stevens (2011), gender-based roots of violence and aggression should be recognized as crucial social mechanisms leading to women being forced to positions of subordination compared to their male counterparts (p.
7). Physical, emotional, sexual, and psychology harm towards women encompass violence occurring in the family, general community, and that perpetrated by the State. Intimate life partners and family members are also major contributors towards domestic violence.
They often engage in acts of abuse including beating, strangling, kicking, slapping, arm twisting, stabbing, burning, and choking, as well as threats using weapons and objects. According to Khan (2000), female genital mutilation and wife inheritance should also be recognized as traditional forms of domestic violence as they harmed and caused suffering to women (p.
2). A focus on domestic violence will prove that all types of gender-based violence against the female population should neither go unnoticed nor taken lightly as they affect women, children, families, and the larger community.
Types of Domestic Violence against Women Walker (2008) states, “It occurs in all parts of society, regardless of geographic location, socio-economic status, age, cultural and ethnic backgrounds (p. 1).” Thus, domestic violence against women does not discriminate. More so, the effects of domestic violence are devastating as they adversely affect female victims’ social, psychological, emotional, and economic capacities either in long or/and short basis. The effects are also experienced by families, children, and the larger community. There are various behaviors that lead to different types of domestic violence against women.
Physical abuse refers to direct actions of assault on a female body. Khan (2000), states Ït also includes traditional practices harmful to women such as female genital mutilation and wife inheritance (p.
2).” These actions may or may not involve the use of a weapon or object to cause pain and suffering. Actions putting women in danger including careless driving, locking them out, deprivation of sleep, abuse of pets in the presence of the female owner, and isolation also contribute towards domestic violence against women.
Physical abuse is recognized as the major type of domestic violence experienced by women globally as it causes physical, emotional, and psychological harm and suffering to the victims. More so, it is used as a form of violating women’s social and civil rights as physical abuse is perpetrated by men trying to control women by degrading and causing them to fear for their lives and safety.
Thus, extreme jealousy and possessiveness, intimidation, humiliation, constant name calling, belittling, and criticism coupled with false accusations and blame should be acknowledged as physical abuse leading to domestic violence against the female population.
According Hazen and Soriano (2005), sexual abuse refers to any form of sexual degradation perpetrated against women without their consent causing them pain and humiliation (p. 12). This type of domestic violence against women is often perpetrated by men who try, pursue, coerce, or force women to engage in sexual activities that are degrading, painful, and humiliating. This type of domestic violence often causes major harm and suffering to women as it is the most difficult aspect of abuse and the female population does not find it easy to discuss and seek help.
For example, women who have been forced to perform sexual acts against their will are victims of domestic violence. When a man pursues sexual activities when the woman is neither willing nor fully conscious should also report as they are victims of domestic violence. Women hurt and assaulted during sex causing pain to her genitals including the use of objects anally, orally, and intra-vaginally are also victims of domestic violence. Sexual abuse as a type of domestic violence also includes coercing a woman to engage in sex without protection leading to either sexually transmitted diseases or/and unplanned pregnancies. Sexual abuse is often accompanied with constant criticism and name calling to degrade the female gender. Women facing this type of domestic violence either in public or private should report to seek treatment and justice.
Walker (2008) also asserts that verbal abuse is also a form of domestic violence. It refers to use of words that are constantly putting down and humiliating women in private and public platforms (p. 1). This type of domestic violence also involves attacks based on clear themes that are focused on the female population. The themes applied during verbal abuse attack women’s body images, levels of intelligence, sexuality, and capacities as wives, mothers, or sisters among other roles played by the female population in the community. According to Renzetti (2009), emotional abuse involves blaming women for all the problems (p. 8). It also involves comparing women with either men or each other to constantly undermine their self-confidence, esteem, and worth. This type of domestic abuse often encourages the victims to withdraw their interests and engagements resulting in silence and sulking.
According to Ofstehage, Gandhi, Sholk, Radday, and Stanzler, (2011), perpetrators of domestic violence result to social abuse by systematically isolating the female victims from their friends and family (p. 2). For example, some perpetrators of social abuse either forbid or deny female victims an opportunity to visit extended family members, going out, meeting people, and fulfilling their social roles.
Others force women to move to new locations they know nobody and imprison them in the new home. It leads to economic abuse as the perpetrators take complete control of the victims’ financial capacities.
Renzetti (2009) claims, “Most of the research on batterers’ interference in their partners’ employment has focused on samples of women living in poverty’ (p.
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Renzetti (2009) claims, “Most of the research on batterers’ interference in their partners’ employment has focused on samples of women living in poverty’ (p. 3). For example, some male perpetrators provide the female victims with little to no allowance and take control of bank accounts to control their lives.
These types of domestic violence prove that forms of abuse harming and causing suffering against the female population involve violation of social, economic, religious, sexual, political, civil, and environmental liberties. Prevalence of Domestic Violence against Women
Twenty-eight percent of the female population across United States reported at least one incidence encompassing domestic violence in 2000 (Khan, 2000). Khan asserts. “28% of women (a nationally representative sample of women) reported at least one episode of physical violence from their partner (p. 5).” The United States Department of Justice reports between 1994 and 2010 affirm that four in five victims of domestic violence are women. Black, Basile, Breiding, Smith, Walters, Merrick, Chen, and Stevens (2011) affirm that historically and culturally, domestic violence against women has been perpetrated by men to cause physical, emotional, mental, and psychological pain in situational and motivational ways for decades (p. 2). Thus, domestic violence should be identified as a serious global issue violating women’s fundamental human and civil rights with the likelihood of causing serious injuries and deaths.
According to Catalano, Smith, Snyder, and Rand (2009), the statistics provided by the department on the prevalence of domestic violence against women affirm physical and sexual forms of abuse need to be addressed (p.
3). Thirty percent of women are victims of domestic violence perpetrated by an intimate partner. The intimate partners often rely on sexual and physical forms of abuse to violate women. More than thirty-eight percent of women have been murdered by their intimate partners for failing to report and seeking help (p.
4). Khan (2000), further claims forty-two percent of women who have reported being victims of domestic abuse confirm suffering from physical and sexual abuse. Although cases of domestic violence have been on the decline over the last two decades, at least thirty-six percent of women remain victims (p.
9). The overall crimes encompassing domestic violence against women since 1994 have led more than twelve million women in America to experience pain and suffering perpetrated by their partners. According to Black, Basile, Breiding, Smith, Walters, Merrick, Chen and Stevens, (2011), at least forty-seven percent of men beat their husbands more than three times annually.
Federal Bureau of Investigation statistics indicates more than thirty percent of women have been murdered by either their husbands or boyfriends with fifty-two percent being killed by either former or current intimate partners.
Fourteen percent of women in marriage report being victims of sexual abuse by being raped by former or current intimate partners (p. 3). The highest percentage concerning sexual abuse is however reported by women in marriage as more than fifty-four percent confirm their husbands constantly force, coerce, or threaten them to engage in sexual activities unwillingly.
They assert that, emergency departments record that at least thirty-five percent of women seeking medical attention are victims of domestic violence. They seek medical and non-trauma services in ambulatory-care internal clinics as they are injured, in need of prenatal care and psychiatric emergency services, mothers of abused children, and rape victims (p.
48). Thus, more than fifty-eight percent of women aged above thirty years have reported being victims of any domestic violence across the United States. Cycle of Domestic Violence against Women Through the White Ribbon Australia Factsheet, Walker (2008) asserts that power and control are the main factors sustaining the cycle of domestic violence against women. For physical and sexual forms of abuse facilitating domestic violence to occur, there is the use of intimidation, coercion, and threats (p. 3). Thus, perpetrators ensure women are intimidated to develop fear. The perpetrators use looks, gestures, and actions such as destruction or breakage of properties, abuse of pets, and objects to intimidate. Consequently, they can make or carry out threats that can hurt a member of the female population ‘threatening to leave her’ (p. 3). Others threaten to commit suicide or report the woman to welfare to cause physical and sexual pain.
Walker (2008) also asserts that perpetrators use emotional abuse, such as putting women down by making them feel bad, calling them names, making them feel they are crazy, and playing mind games (p. 3). This causes the victims to be humiliated and feel guilty. The use of economic abuse is a form of power and control applied by perpetrators seeking to prevent women from getting or keeping a job. This leads the women to ask for money from the perpetrator who can either give or deny them an allowance. This is despite taking all the money and failing to inform the women that they have access to family income.
According to Walker (2008), use of male privilege involves using power to control women by treating her like a servant (p. 3). Thus, men attributing to domestic violence result to making all major decisions by acting as the masters while treating women as insignificant human beings. Children are also used to make women feel guilty, worthless, and inflict pain and suffering. Some men also use children to relay messages to women aimed at causing emotional and psychological torture. Such perpetrators often make light of the domestic abuse being inflicted on the victim. They fail to take the victims’ concerns serious by denying that they are causing emotional and psychological form of domestic violence.
More so, they blame the victim claiming women are to blame if they experience physical, sexual, social, economic, and emotional abuse. According to Walker (2008), “Controlling what she does, who she sees and talks to, what she needs, where she goes’ (p. 3).” Isolation also controls what women can read while limiting their involvements outside the immediate family setting through the use of jealousy to justify actions undertaken by men to isolate the female population. This cycle proves that domestic violence in women is interpersonal aggression taking place in domestic settings, families, and intimate relationships when men cause physical, sexual, socioeconomic, and emotional suffering against the female population.
Impact of Domestic Violence against Women The European Union report authored by the European Commission (EC) (2010),
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Impact of Domestic Violence against Women The European Union report authored by the European Commission (EC) (2010), affirms that at least ninety-five percent victims of domestic violence suffer from mental and physical health (p.
49). Experiencing any form of violence greatly impacts how a woman feels about herself. It also impacts the relationships she maintains with people and the surroundings. Women acknowledge no one has the right to hurt, intimidate, or humiliate them and make them fearful.
They also acknowledge they should not develop feelings of guilt, shame, and fear as they can stop them from living their lives to the full potential. Victims of domestic violence against women develop feelings of guilt.
They fail to acknowledge that they are not at fault. As a result, they begin to believe that they need to hide their feelings. They fail to report any form of abuse they are subjected to as they do not believe there are people and organizations willing to help them and restore self-confidence, esteem, and worthiness as members of the female population.
According to Rinzetti (2009), impacts of domestic violence on mental health among women are diverse. Most of the victims suffer from depression, anger, self-hate and blame, and emotional numbness (p. 5). Consequently, they suffer from low or loss of self-esteem and confidence. This can lead to posttraumatic stress disorders coupled with the general sense of fear especially of men. Thus, they lack the confidence to go out in public, engage in intimacy or do anything likely to trigger memories of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse they have experienced. This often facilitates suicidal thoughts to develop the sense of worthlessness and lack of hope enhances.
According to Catalano, Smith, Snyder, and Rand (2009), behavioral impacts of domestic violence against women include eating disorders (p. 7). Some women result to risky sexual behaviors including engaging in sexual intimacy with several partners without protection as they need to feel loved and accepted. Risky sexual escapades, however, do not validate their gender or improve their self-esteem. As a result, they develop problems associated with drug and alcohol abuse. To address the adverse behaviors, they are required to visit doctors and seek treatment and therapy. They, however, avoid doctors leading to further psychological torture leading to either thoughts or acts of self-injury and suicide.
Seeley and Plunkett (2011) claim the impacts of domestic violence on women’s physical health are also diverse and detrimental. Foremost, the risks of sexually transmitted infections including HIV/AIDS, pelvic inflammatory diseases, and cervical cancer increase (p.
8). Some victims have trouble eating and sleeping due to nightmares. This increases stress levels and lowered the immune systems. More so, central nervous systems develop problems such as constant headaches and seizures which can damage nerves.
Others develop respiratory problems including asthma and shortness of breath and chest pains. Chronic pain syndrome, neck and back pains, high blood pressure, unwanted pregnancies, miscarriages, bruises, internal bleeding, broken bones, and cuts are also effects of domestic violence on women.
Socioeconomic impacts of domestic violence include accumulated medical and legal fees coupled with the loss of income. These impacts lead to stigma, discrimination, and social isolation. More so, women develop strained relations with their families and friends which can challenge their efforts to get medical, legal, and social assistance and services.
According to UNICEF (2006), domestic violence against women also impacts children adversely as more than fifty percent of the perpetrator’s assault and abuse them as well (p. 3). Conversely, some women who are victims of domestic violence begin to abuse their children. More so, some children are injured when their parents engage in violent acts. Thus, children who witness domestic violence suffer from physical, emotional, and social issues. For example, some engage in delinquent behaviors and violent crimes as adults. Others become bullies or victims of bullying in attempts to deal with social anxiety and awkwardness.
Resources and Treatment of Domestic Violence against Women The European Commission report (2010) asserts that raising awareness on domestic violence against women by providing information that can reduce levels of violence on the female population is the most useful resource and approach (p. 55). Thus, victims of domestic violence against women should provide the public with information that can be effectively applied to tackle the problem. Thus, a free-phone number for women facing domestic violence to use when seeking help and advice should be provided. Campaigns raising public awareness on domestic violence against women should be carried out globally.
Information that can help and encourage women who are victims of domestic violence should be published on the internet. Leaflets encouraging women who are victims to seek help and advice should also be distributed. Perpetrators of domestic violence against women should be identified, reported, and punished. As a result, existing laws should be properly enforced. Conversely, tougher laws preventing violence against women should be implemented. This will ensure offenders are reported without the female victims fearing for their safety as the existing laws are capable of punishing and rehabilitate perpetrators of domestic violence. The European Commission report (2010) states, “Variations over time in the EU15 reveal the same kind of trends seen for the other kinds of legislation under consideration, and the same Member States showing the greatest increases in the number of people who think their country has laws to rehabilitate offenders”(p. 108).
The report also asserts that it is also crucial for young people especially the male population to be taught about mutual respect (p. 141). This will ensure communities are built by males and females mutually respecting each other. Consequently, crimes facilitating gender-based violence will be reduced and prevented. More importantly, the police officers should be educated about women rights. This will ensure the police systems play an active role in ensuring women are protected and safeguarded from any forms of abuse and violence. It will also ensure the existing laws and tougher laws to be implemented in future are enforced to curb domestic violence against women effectively without any form of leniency. More so, this will encourage women to report forms of abuse to police officers without feeling guilt, fearful, intimidated, or humiliated as they can neither be blamed nor isolated for seeking help.
The European Commission report (2010), also advices women to acknowledge they should not live in abusive relationships as they take a tremendous toll on their physical, mental, emotional, socioeconomic, sexual, and psychological well-being (p. 130). As a result, health care practitioners including nurses, therapists, and gynecologists should maintain doctor-patient confidentiality. However, they should also discuss any signs of abuse and violence witnessed on a woman as soon as possible. This will ensure the recognition, crisis intervention, and referral process is not prolonged to provide the female victims with necessary treatment. Addressing domestic violence as soon as it occurs encourages women to seek help and advice before the impacts escalate leading them to avoid doctors despite feeling worthless and suicidal.
Conclusion Domestic violence against women should not go unnoticed as it affects the female population as well as their families and the larger community either directly or indirectly. As a result, procedures mitigating effects of domestic violence against women should be coordinated.
These include increasingly raising community awareness on the issue. This will advocate for organizations and coordinated partnerships to pass information on the issue and apply available resources in removing women from abusive environments.
Consequently, short, medium and long-term services helping women who are victims of domestic violence to deal with the physical, sexual, emotional, and psychological trauma can be sustained. These are vital in restoring self-confidence, esteem, and worthiness among the victims who need to build independence as equally capable members of the female population.
Consequently, mothers can be encouraged and enabled to seek help for themselves and their children to address trauma they have experienced due to domestic violence.