Domestic violence is defined as “the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another”. “It is a pattern of behavior that includes abuse or violence that a spouse uses to control the behavior of the other person”.
It is used by one person in a marriage or relationship to control the other. It includes physical violence, sexual violence, psychological violence and emotional abuse. Seek for Help.
Domestic violence can result in physical injury, depression, suicidal thoughts, psychological trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder (PSTD) or even death. It can affect one’s thoughts, feelings, behaviours and can significantly impact one’s mental stability. The devastating physical, emotional and psychological consequences of domestic violence can impact generations.
Children in homes where there is domestic violence are more likely to be abused and neglected. They know about the violence and may have emotional and behavior difficulties causing problems in their lives, future and the society.
Unsuspecting children from healthy and stable homes are not safe either. They may fall victim of molestation, harassment, bullying, may be maimed or murdered by children with family problems.
There is increasing number of single parents, child abuse, street children, juvenile delinquency, youth and gang violence, suicide, substance abuse, rape and other societal problems. The society at large suffers the consequences of domestic violence. No one is directly immune or remotely safe from this scourge.
It is an epidemic affecting individuals regardless of age, economic status or gender. Both men and women can be abused. It is prevalent but most cases go unreported. Many men suffer abuse in silence because of the stigma of the perceived weakness of any man who admits to falling victim of a woman.
In the face of provocation, there is the need for the man to control his emotions and physical actions, the police will arrest the offender who may or may not be the person who initiated the abuse. Seek social support. Seek for Help.
Domestic violence is different from common marital or relationship problems. It is not always determined in the early stages of a marriage or relationship if one person will become abusive. Abusers may seem wonderful and perfect initially gradually becoming more aggressive and controlling. It may begin with verbal abuse, threats, name-calling, distrust, possessiveness, jealousy, suspicion and can build up into other violent acts. It intensifies over time.
Warning signs to recognize, prevent or stop domestic violence include:
Belittle and demean you, criticize you, yell at you and put you down
Telling you that you are a bad parent
Take away your child/children
Get angry so easily
Tell you that you can never do anything right
Act one way in front of other people and another when you are alone
Threaten to hurt you
Threaten to hurt or kill your child
Cry so easily to whip up emotions and cover up their tracks
Persistent insults, humiliation, criticisms to destroy the victim’s self-worth.
Looking at or acting in ways that scare the person they are abusing
Embarrassing or shaming the victim with put-downs
Threaten to destroy you financially
Attempt to coerce you into criminal activity
Accusing the victim of cheating
Threaten to kill you
Pressuring or forcing the victim to use drugs or alcohol
Stalking the victim or monitoring the victim’s every move in person or through victim’s phone, internet or other devices and means
Intimidate you with guns, knives or other weapons
Shove you, slap you, choke or hit you
Use of force, kick, stab or shoot the victim
Keep the victim from working or going to school
Makes all the decisions
Forcing sex with others
Prevent you from making your own decisions
Act jealous of your family, friends, co-workers
Read your mail, go through your purse and other personal papers
Interfere with your seeing your family and fiends
Verbal abuse, threatening act or word, berating language
Showing oppressive possessiveness or jealousy
Restricting your spending or controlling your finances
Threatening harm to themselves or others as a way to punish you
Threatening to expose embarrassing personal information to others
Stop you from seeing your friends or family members
Control what you do, who you talk to, where you go
Destroy your property or threaten to kill your pets
Often drink or use drugs
Insist that you use drugs or alcohol
Violence is taught by example. The abuser may have a background of violence having grown up in an abusive environment. The root causes of spousal abuse/intimate partner violence may include behaviours learnt in the abuser’s childhood used in the abuser’s family as a means of maintaining control.
This may lead to the continuation of a generational cycle of abuse and violence for the abuser who grew up in an environment where control was maintained through verbal threats, intimidation and conflicts escalate into physical violence. A person who was raised with abuse and violence may have very little self-worth and poor self-esteem.
Other causes may include suspicion, insecurity, provocation, infidelity, toxic in-laws, mental illness, criminal history or tendencies, alcohol and drug abuse. Other risk factors are economic difficulties, job loss, prolonged unemployment, financial dependence, lack of genuine love and the issue of the headship of man and household chores
The key to preventing domestic violence is to stop it before it starts by creating a supportive environment for families and strengthening family protective factors. Additionally, encouraging positive and respectful behaviour in relationships and promoting healthy relationship skills.
Partners in healthy relationships respond to problems by talking things out together or seek for help. You can resolve issues respectfully and positively in your marriage without resorting to tendencies of controlling, abusive behaviours and the need to dominate the other.
Conflict is a normal part of life. Verbal disagreements and arguments happen in every healthy relationship and marriage. Positive communication is the key to resolving conflicts and arguments in a healthy and respectful manner.
Couples can create supportive, respectful and healthy family environments by attacking problems and not their partners. They can cooperate to resolve issues and find solutions together. If a partner cannot get the other spouse to listen, they can seek help. This should be done early to prevent the problem escalating, resentment setting in, becoming bigger issues. Read More
If you are prone to violent behaviour, in times of difficulties, overcome negative thoughts. Replace these with thinking positively. Gain control over your emotions and control how you respond to emotional triggers and provocative acts. Deal with the situation in a positive manner by adopting alternative ways of communication and expressing anger and frustration in non-violent ways.
Engage in self-reflection, find your true self and listen to yourself. Imbibe empathy and continue to show love, concern and tenderness to your children. These will eventually culminate in positive outcomes for children and stop abuse and violence for everyone.
Domestic violence intensifies over time posing a danger in severe cases. The survivor should not expect the abuser’s actions will change it will rather escalate. Seek police help. Social or institutional supports, legal protection through a protection order of the court to protect yourself from further abuse or threats of abuse. Seek for Help.
Violence escalates when a survivor terminates, seeks help, tries to leave or separates from the relationship. This can place a survivor at a greater risk for further abuse and violence. It intensifies because the abuser feels a loss of control over the victim. Abusers frequently continue to stalk, harass, threaten and try to control the victim after the victim escapes.
When exiting the relationship develop a safety plan. Determine how to safely escape the abuser. It is even more dangerous where the abuser (or using other persons) forcefully ejects the victim from the marital home in order to shift them to a neutral ground. Seek help to stay safe. Seek for Help.