Domestic Violence: IPA- Intimate Partner Abuse- International day for the Elimination of Violence against Women
The bare facts
As reported by the UK Independent Newspaper, (November 2012), on average per week 2 women lose their lives as a result of domestic violence. The figure is startling and cannot leave anyone unperturbed. Anyone, that is, who is not a perpetrator of this criminal offence. Tragically, as women are becoming more empowered and somewhat less afraid to speak up about this and denounce, it is becoming more apparent that this behaviour is not as uncommon as was assumed in the past.
Why does this happen?
The actors involved in this macabre show
The issue of domestic violence or, as it is becoming known, IPA (Intimate Partner Abuse), is an extremely sensitive and complex issue and there are many actors to be reconciled.
- The perpetrators, who, for reasons only known to themselves and psychologists of human behaviour, are guilty of all crimes related to physical, emotional, psychological and sexual abuse. These are often spouses, ex-spouses, lovers, ex-lovers and sometimes fathers to the children involved, or witnessing the abuse.
- The victims themselves, the women and often the children, who are sometimes even in denial themselves, out of fear or emotional dependency or both. These women and children are often blamed by the perpetrators themselves as having instigated the crime committed, as having 'brought it upon herself' in some way. In extreme cases some women ironically are emotionally brain-washed into believing they are to blame for the abuse they are suffering. This is a very grey, controversial area requiring much research and sensitive investigation.
- Family members and friends who witness or are aware of the abuse, who can either support or undermine the victim. Or even ignore the facts.
- The police force itself, often the first on the scene of the crime, and much of what then follows boils down to the attitude of a particular officer or officers on duty at the time of a report or plea for help is made.
- The judicial proceedings and the courts of law which make their decisions based on facts, evidence, testimonials from all actors involved.
- Diverse aid organisations working endlessly to provide advice, refuge-housing and psychological and legal aid for women and children in fear.
Why does this happen?
Is it still "a man's world"?
The social issue of what has come to be referred as 'domestic violence' by far exceeds the scope of this humble article. But, as a victim myself, to some degree, of domestic violence, I feel impelled to draw attention to the fact that this undercover, insidious violence is not being high-lighted enough and serious notice is not being taken. Statistics of the prevalence of this criminal show that progress is being made, but the statistics are still alarming. It is the duty of our lawmakers to address the issue head-on, and implement measures aimed at eventually eliminating this shameful, inhumane act. I cannot help but wonder why this item does not receive full press and media coverage continuously. Why is this not an issue in the foreground of governmental debate, with as much coverage as other vital issues such as unemployment, industrial growth, education and health care? Could it be because we are in "A man's world", in spite of the relatively few brave women who have managed to break through into the inner sanctum in the las 200 years?
Undoubtedly there are many male law-enforcers and lawmakers dedicated to the fight against this crime and who work endlessly to eradicate it. Undoubtedly there are many males in all levels of society and at all levels of policing and judiciary who find this behaviour in their fellow man unthinkable and repugnant. Of course this must be the case. This begs the question of why are we, as a society in general, seeming to be losing the battle against "domestic" violence.
25th November has been designated by United Nations as the International Day of the Elimination of Violence Against Women
The date was chosen to commemorate the death of the three Mirabal sisters. These sisters became political activists against the dictator Rafael Trujillo, who had ruled the Dominican Republic as a dictator from 1930 to 1961. Because of their opposition and their growing participation in attempts to depose Trujillo of his power, he ordered the death of the three sisters (one of whom rejected his sexual advances) on the 25th November, 1960.
A book entitled 'In The Time of the Butterflies' by Julia Álvarez tells the tragic story of the three sisters, two of whom were killed because of their opposition to Trujillo. One sister lives on to make sure the lives and deaths of her two sisters have some purpose today.
In 1999 the United Nations designated this day as a day to contribute to social awareness of this curse in today’s modern society.
It is astounding and horrific to think that world leaders are unable to find solutions to much of the violence being committed constantly around our globe. We are all only too aware of wars being waged and the hatred that there is in the world. How can there be any solution to ideological wars when it is proven that women are being mistreated by men in every country of the world, without exception?
Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, stated in 2007 that “Violence against women continues to persist as one of the most heinous, systematic and prevalent human rights abuses in the world. It is a threat to all women and an obstacle to all our efforts for development, peace and gender equality in all societies.”
A great tragedy. When will it end?
Read the tragic story of the three Mirabal sisters and their protest of the Dominican Republican dictator, Rafael Trujillo.
Thousands of women are hospitalized every year and, because of fear, lie about the cause of their injuries. Many more cover up the injury, hiding their bruises. Thousands of women live in fear of reprisals if they denounce their aggressor. Thousands of children witness this abuse and must remain silent. Some of these children are young boys who will grow up to continue the pattern of violence or psychological abuse of females. Some of these young girls will grow up and continue the pattern of submission and guilt.
If all we can do is support these small attempts to promote awareness of the issue, to prove to these violators of human rights that we know about them and that they won’t go unpunished, then we can all add a drop of water to the immense ocean of awareness and liberation.
Women must be encouraged to denounce, denounce and denounce when they believe they are being abused. Abusers must be seen to be treated with contempt and repugnance.