- Problem Statement
The purpose of this paper is to investigate a social problem that affects women more than men. In this case, the paper seeks to investigate the case of intimate partner or domestic violence. It seeks to give an opinion on the issue today in terms of what should be a stand and level on the social problem. As such, the paper seeks to describe the problem; its causes from a theoretical standpoint and what should be done to address it. The paper is divided into three parts of the problem statement, causes and the opinion. On the description section, the paper explains about the historical cases of domestic violence its trends over time, causes, effects and its stand today.
On the theoretical section, the paper explains the factors leading or causing domestic violence from a theoretical perspective such as the relevant theories applicable to the problem. The last section includes the opinion, where I give an opinion on the remedies to domestic violence. The opinion is based on the theoretical approach to domestic violence in addition to views from the description of the problem. As such, the opinion section includes what should be done in the future to remove the barriers that prevent eradication of the problem and how the causes and cases may be minimized. This study, therefore, entails a detailed examination of domestic violence, its causes and my opinion.
- Description of the Problem
Domestic violence may be defined as a form o9f control by one partner over the other who are in a dating, marital or already in a relationship. It takes the form of physical, sexual, emotional, economic abuse, threats in addition to isolation (Bragg, pp36). Domestic violence is common across all cultures, countries and different age groups. It affects people in diverse levels of socioeconomic, educational and religious backgrounds. Though the habit is common, it tends to affect women more, especially those with fewer economic resources.
There are many perspectives and myths as to the causes of domestic violence such as patriarchy, and that domestic violence affects many other factors relating to women. Patriarchy relates to power and control, and though this may be a basic factor, it is not the only main contributor to domestic violence. It is hard to detect if one is being abused early since a partner may seem to be generous and attentive, protective but later turn out to be frightening, issue threats and even controlling.
At first, the abuse involves isolated happenings with the partner may be apologizing and promising not to repeat aging in the future. However, early signs may include a quick romance that ends early, the partner wanting to be with you always and over possessive and jealousy as a result of seeing the other partner with others. In addition, it may include attempts of isolation where one isolates the other in masking of loving behavior, overreacting to minor incidents, blame gaming and coercion into doing things that one isn't comfortable.
Domestic violence may take and use various tactics such as entitlement behavior and psychological tactics. Physical tactics may include slapping, use of weapons, kidnapping, biting among others. In addition, sexual tactics may take the form of rape and coercion into sexual practices that one has not assented to ,subjecting a person and treating him or her like a sex object, assaulting children and engagement into extramarital relationships to hurt the other person (Bragg, pp48). Other tactics may be emotional in nature such as refusing to talk to someone, screaming, public harassment, movement control of an individual, and accusations of infidelity in a bid to justify one's abuse norms.
Though there are many people who are subjects and victims of domestic violence, victims continue to stay in those relations of abuse. Several factors have been fronted as to the reasons why victims continue to stay put regardless of the effects and continued abuse. Among the factors include fear by the victims. Victims of domestic violence especially women receive a lot of threats from perpetrators of the violence such as being killed in case they decide to end their abusive relationship. In cases that victims decide to abandon the relationship, in some cases, perpetrators make true their claim of killing by following the movements of their victims (Bragg, 61).
Furthermore, earlier cases of domestic violence reach current victims who are too scared to undergo the same case of brutality if they leave. As such victims continue to suffer in their abusive relationships. Moreover, many victims tend to stay put due to the feeling of guilt and shame. This is whereby, the victims believe that they are the ones to blame for the abuse and do not want the cases to be known to family members and the public. As a result, since cases of violence have revolved around women, women do not want to disclose their struggles in violence since they think it will be viewed as a norm that they are the cause.
Moreover, some women as victims of domestic violence do not have any means of income and are financially dependent on their abusers. They do not have jobs or the relevant skills to sustain them in a competitive environment and needs such as basic healthcare, education for their children, housing among others. They are thus constrained by their dependency to remain in abusive relationships. In addition, others stay put in their relationships as a result of hope that their abusive relationships will come to an end at some point if they become what their partner wanted them to be (Bragg, 61). As a result, others believe their partners' promises that they will change and not abuse them by focusing on the positive side of the perpetrators and not a negative.
Last but not least, cultural barriers contribute to victims not leaving their abusive relationships. This is through lack of cultural sensitive and recommendable services for victims who are not the majority in a particular region or sector such as the African Americans, Asians among others. Victims, therefore, feel that there is a lack of adequate platform to articulate their grievances and even if they do, they will not get a fair hearing (Bragg, 61). They thus tend to shirk off and remain silent ion their woes. Some cultures support superiority of men over men and require women to be submissive to men. This is common in most African setups where the man is the say-so in the family and women should not question the authority of men.
The effects of gender-based violence in the form of domestic violence are wide and may lead to behavioral and emotional impacts. Such include, anger, depression, suicide and emotional withdrawal. Immediate effects of domestic violence include miscarriages and early delivery and physical injuries such as fractures, bruises among others. Long term effects may include gynecological problems, depression, homicide and gastro-intestinal complications that are associated with stress (World Health Organization, pp75).
As a fact, most of the cases of domestic violence lean more towards women than men. This is illustrated by the statistic that approximately 85 to 90% of domestic violence are women with females being victims of intimate partner violence at five more times than men, according to 2003 research statistic (Bragg, pp37). This is further articulated by the fact that domestic violence makes up of about a quarter of violent crime against females compared to 3% of violent crimes against males. Regardless if a country is developed or not developed the cases of physical abuse against women are rife.
For instance, in Kenya, 42% of 612 women surveyed in a single district reported having been abused by a partner, with over a half of those admitting being regularly beaten by their partners. In India, 45% of men admitted to abusing their women physically, as per a 1996 survey of 6902 men while in japan, 59% of 796 women surveyed in 1993 admitted to being physically abused by their partners (Innocenti Digest, pp5). Also, according to a study by Ali and Gavino, 2007, 97.5% of women reported to being verbally abused and 80% being physically abused by their husbands in low socio-economic communities of Karachi.
- Causes of Domestic Violence
Several theories have been put ahead in an attempt to discuss family violence that includes domestic violence.
- Control theory
According to this theory, individuals have needs to obtain and maintain power and control within a relationship. The abuser in this case is motivated by the power and control that he or she can exert on others may be in a family setup. As such more powerful members of the family such as the husbands and fathers use threats and force to ensure that others, who in this case are wives, comply with their desires or directives (Fife, pp9). In addition, abusers may use diverse forms of intimidating victims such as coercion, isolation, economic abuse and denial of personal liability or blame to ensure that they maintain control. As a consequence, victims modify and adapt their behavior gradually to match the abuser control and also in order to survive and avoid continued abuse.
- Social Learning Theory
Social learning theory investigates the presence of inter-generational transmission of violence. The theory articulates that, when growing up, a child receives feedback from other people such as parents, regarding their behaviors and from such feedback builds standards that they use to judge behavior. In addition, they seek out models which match their set standards and therefore children who grow up in abusive families may become violent (Fife, pp11). As such, the children will imitate the abusive behavior and therefore risk repeating those behaviors in future relationships.
Moreover, boys who grow up or were nurtured by fathers who used to abuse their wives are at a higher risk of abusing their wives than those who were brought up by non-abusive fathers. Young adults who observed and also experienced abuse when growing up are more likely in the future to be in abusive relationships either as an abuser or as a victim.
- Object Relation Theory
Object relations theory addresses the importance of early life and how someone is nurtured to contribute to his or her later emotional health life. According to this theory, lack or insufficient nurturing during infancy and childhood leads to one having difficulties maintaining healthy self-esteem, be able to control their emotional feedback and also manage anxiety. As such, adult perpetrators of intimate partner violence are closely related with families where violence was experienced in addition to experiencing parental rejection (Fife, pp6).
Persons or individuals who later in adult life become victims of violence and continue in such relationships, do so because of internal defenses that they developed when they were young in abusive set ups. Such defenses were to help them during early development as a result of being neglected or being in an inconsistent relationship with a primary caregiver.
- Dependency Relations Theory
According to this theory, victims of abuse are dependent on their abusers, an assumption that may not hold in all circumstances. For instance, children remain dependent on their abusers because they are smaller and weaker than their abusers and cannot be able to support themselves. On the other hand, spousal abuse may be as a result of economic dependency and explains why some women continue to stay in abusive relationships (Fife, pp16). Women, who are mistreated, in some cases, are not financially independent and thus have no or little income to sustain them if they decide to quit an abusive relationship. In addition, some of them fear that they might bring shame to their families were they to divorce and thus choose to stay put.
As per the theoretical perspectives explained above, there may be several ways that may be geared towards addressing the problem of domestic violence. Such include:
- Empower Women
As seen above, one of the reasons that abusers (husbands) gain control over their victims (wives) is because the victims are dependent on them. Such dependency in a big way is financial. To address this front, the government and other institutions should empower women economically, socially and financially. One way to empower them economically is by enhancing their access to education so that in the future they will also be competitive in the job market and hence place them at par with men. In addition, empowerment may include providing them with subsidized loans to help the lowly educated improve their economic wellbeing and reduce dependency on their male counterparts or partners.
- Efficient and Fair Justice Systems
Some women fear that, by seeking justice at the corridors of justice, they may not get a fair hearing and also fear that they may put their families into shame. If the courts are efficient and there is fair and equal representation of women in the courts, women would feel free to articulate their grievances, knowing that they would get justice. In addition, stricter penalties should be put in place for those found culpable of domestic violence in order to deter or reduce future occurrences of violence against women.
- Appropriate Parental Nurturing
Some of the adult abusers and victims in domestic violence are ones who grew up observing violence in their families as stated by social learning theory. This, therefore, calls for the parents being the right role models and inserting the right kind of behavior in their children so that they may imitate that which is positive from them.
Fife, Rose S. Family Violence: What Health Care Providers Need to Know. Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning, 2012. Print.
Women Mental Health: Evidence based review. Geneva: World Health Organization, 2000. Print
Domestic Violence Against Women and Girls. Florence, Italy. Innocenti Digest, 2000. Print.
T. S. Ali & Bustamante-Gavino. Prevalence of and Reasons for Domestic violence Among Women of low socioeconomic Communities in Karachi. Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal, Vol. 13, No. 6, 2007.
Bragg, H. Lien. Child Protection in Families experiencing Domestic violence. Child Welfare Information Gateway, 2003. https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/usermanuals/domesticviolence/domesticviolencec.cfm.[Accessed on 2014].