Domestic abuse

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Domestic abuse is not a single form of maltreatment but a combination of all abusive behaviors which include sexual, emotional, psychological, financial, physical, and verbal. It is prevalent among all groups regardless of race, religious beliefs, income level, sexual preference, marital status, or age.Though domestic abuse occurs in both men and women, it is much higher in women than in men.

Contents

Why should I be aware of this?

There can be long lasting traumatic effects from repeated domestic abuse. The effects can take the form panic attacks, hyper vigilance, sleep disorder, suicidal tendencies and psychosomatic symptoms. Victims experience shame, depression, anxiety, embarrassment, guilt, humiliation, abandonment, and an enhanced sense of vulnerability. In extreme cases it leads to death or serious injuries.

Domestic abuse and health

In a survey carried out in 10 countries by the World Health Organization reports that women suffering abuse from intimate partners face serious health consequences, including pain, dizziness, gynecological and mental health problems, which persist after the abuse has stopped. Miscarriage or induced abortion are also likely possibilities. The survey was carried out among women in Bangladesh, Brazil, Ethiopia, Japan, Namibia, Peru, Samoa, Serbia and Montenegro, Tanzania and Thailand. Rates of domestic abuse varied between 15% of women in Japan to 71% in Ethiopia. Less than half the women surveyed are reported to have sought the help of law enforcement authorities. [1]

Domestic abuse and social and cultural effects

Domestic abuse dates back from the time when men considered women as their property. Though it is considered a crime, domestic abuse of women continues as it has remained ingrained in social culture. Certain religions contributed to the belief that women have submissive role within the family, giving man a reason to dominate a woman.

Traditionally victims of domestic abuse remained with the abuser because the law provided lettle means to protect them. They are also driven by the fear of being alone.

Complaining to the police and getting the abuser arrested hardly solves the problems as they are more vicious on getting released.

Other social factors

  • Most victims feel extremely isolated and are too ashamed to tell anyone that they are abused.
  • A woman may also stay on in a relationship in the hope that things will improve.
  • The self-esteem of most women get so eroded following constant abuse that they no longer have confidence in themselves.
  • Many women believe that real fulfilment comes from being a wife and mother or that divorce is wrong. They may also be encouraged to stay in the relationship by family members or religious leaders.
  • Many stay back for the sake of their children

Domestic abuse and its effects

Domestic abuse can tend more towards verbal and emotional and mental abuse. This form of abuse leaves the victim with a low self esteem as well as, emotional scarring. In verbal abuse the abuser constantly belittles the victim by mockery, criticism and intimidation, often in front of others, as a result of which the victim begins to feel herself worthless. When this happens there is a psychological, emotional, and, or mental effect on the victim who begins to feel insecure and insufficient.

Common myths

  • An abused woman can easily leave
  • Only women in poor families face abuse
  • Alcohol is the main cause of men becoming violent
  • The behavior of abused women must have provoked the perpetrator
  • Certain women find violent men attractive
  • Abusers were themselves subjected to abuse
  • Domestic violence is not so common

What can I do about it?

Whenever we see any sign of domestic abuse anywhere we should should not pretend that the problem doesn't exist. Here are some ways you can help:

  • Be with the person you know is getting abused just to break her isolation. Help her to explore options.
  • The abuser won’t appreciate your involvement. So safety for both is a priority
  • Help build her self-esteem by highlighting her good qualities.
  • Look for domestic violence services who can help or provide suggestions as to other actions you might take.

References

  • Domestic abuse: Trying to survive
  • Relationships - Domestic violence

Source

  1. WHO Multi-country Study on Women's Health and Domestic Violence against Women