Domestic Violence: Causes and Consequences
This article aims to examine the phenomenon of the domestic violence with an emphasis on the domestic violence against women. Domestic violence is the range of coercive sexual, psychological and physical acts against adolescents and adult women from their former or current partners. The reason that led this article to be written is the fact that when we refer to the family, we always have the perception that we talk about a safe environment, characterized by feelings of love and solidarity. However, domestic violence is a sad reality and is a violation of human rights. In addition, the private nature of family matters is largely responsible for the acceptance of the view that the society can not intervene in domestic violence cases.
Characteristics of domestic violence
The general characteristics are the isolation of the victim and the perpetrator, the difference in power and the impact on the victims.The main forms of domestic violence are:
- physical violence
- verbal/psychological violence
- sexual violence
- economic deprivation
- social isolation.
Moreover many excuses accompany the phenomenon of domestic violence and contribute to its extension such as:
- Family matters
- Offenders have common characteristics (ex. addictive substances)
- Women are exaggerating and they cause violence situations
- Women who remain in an abusive relationship are paranoid
- Violence occurs in dysfunctional families
In situations of domestic violence not only do women suffer but also children, either as witnesses to scenes of violence or as victims. Research shows that children, whose mother was abused, are victims of verbal, physical, psychological or sexual abuse. Moreover, abused women have high possibilities to abuse their children. Children who are victims of domestic violence often show psychosomatic problems and other disorders. They are more vulnerable to delinquency and they often tend to be perpetrators. Parents who as children were witnesses or victims of domestic violence, have a tendency towards violent behavior and they face difficulties to adjust in the family that they create. Parents, who continue to abuse on their children, seem to disconnect their feelings from the memories of their own abuse. The “disconnection” mechanism is very important for the transfer of the abuse to the next generations. Parents are shown to have high levels of idealization, inconsistency and tendency to escape when they are asked to describe their childhood memories.
Profile of abused women
- Low self-esteem
They believe that their role as wives, housewives and mothers is giving them self-worth. They rely on traditional attitudes regarding the family and also they support stereotypes of women’s role in the society.
- Passive behavior
They tolerate humiliation and accept responsibility for the violent acts of their spouses.
- Feelings of insecurity and worthlessness
They avoid to take the responsibility of their actions because of the fear of failure.
They tend to believe that their abuse is their fault.
- Psychosomatic symptoms
They have strong stress reactions and psychosomatic illnesses.
The perpetrator’s profile
- Low self-esteem
They believe that through violent behavior they can prove that they are worthy.
- Old-fashioned perception of their role
They tend to believe in the superiority of men and their traditional role within the family.
- Lack of self-control
They can’t admit that their behavior is violent and also they can’t evaluate the negative affect of their action to the victims.
Why there is the fear of escape?
A question that often arises relates to the reasons why abused women do not give up on their husbands. Fear, insecurity, emotional entanglement are just some answers to that question. They are afraid not only the consequences and the reaction of the husband but also the possibility that their family will not support them. They rationalize the situation by saying that children need both parents to grow properly. It is important to understand the cycle of violence because it will allows us to interpret how the abused women turn into victims and how they acquire the feeling of weakness or why they do not try to escape from that sick situation.
The Cycle of Abuse
Initially there are mild intensity violence incidents and the abused woman is trying in various ways to control it. Such behaviors are characterized by subjunctive mood and polite behavior to their partners. The woman makes her partner to believe that his anger is excusable in order to avoid to escalate the tension. But in case he will become more angry, then she blames herself because she feels she failed to keep the peace at home. She denies that his behavior was not reasonable. She accepts his reactions instead and she believes that she deserves that behavior. In other words, she refuse the anger, which leads to excuses such as he might be upset at work, he might be tired, etc.
In a second phase the incident of violence is characterized by beating which can cause serious injuries and lead the woman to death. In the beginning, the offender is aware to some extent of his actions, but later on it is possible that he can’t control his anger. At this point the woman considers that she can not control the behavior of her husband at all.
Finally, there is a drop in violence and intensity and the peace is welcomed by both sides. The husband expresses his tender feelings, excessive kindness, care, love and affection to his wife, then apologizes, cries, admits that unacceptable act and promises not to do it again. This is the most ‘catastrophic‘ phase because it creates dependence on her partner. This is the phase that she is now the victim. The woman believes that the behavior of her partner is true and that his violent attitude was the result of other factors.
Don't play his game. Play yours.— Rachel Caine
How to act in case of an abuse incident
- Go to the police station in your area and ask for protection.
- Request from the officers to record the abuse incident in the book of the police department incidents.
- Ask for a forensic examination and try to get a copy of it.
- Take photos of the wounds and bruises on your body. Photos can be used as evidence of abuse.
- Do not hesitate to go to the hospital and ask for an examination and ask them to record the incident as "abuse".
The incidents of violence and crimes are increasing lately due to the economic and social crisis, which inevitably contributes to the change in lifestyle and it constantly reproduces the fear of victimization. The adequate training to people regarding how to deal with such situations is mandatory because domestic abuse is a social phenomenon that concerns everyone. Such situations need to be treated by vigorous actions. The abused person should understand the existence of the danger and it is mandatory to find the courage to seek help and support in people who could be trusted. There are also the relevant services, operating in every country and they can provide a complete support (legal and psychological support) in such cases. Nothing justifies the violence. There are many ways to overcome this problem. Act!