Domestic Violence and Abuse

Domestic violence can be referred to as an attempt by an individual either a spouse, in a relationship or a family member to gain power or control over the other . It results in death, serious injury, and chronic medical and mental health issues for victims, their children, the elderly , their communities and is regarded as a serious social evil.

Domestic violence occurs in adult or adolescent intimate relationships where the abuser and the victim are currently or have been previously dating, cohabiting, married or divorced. They may be heterosexual, gay, or lesbian. They may have children in common or not. The relationships may be of a long or short duration. Here, the trauma faced is repeated rather than a singular event , and the effects of the trauma are emphasized due to the intimate nature of the relationship between victim and abuser. Since the victim’s daily routine is known, they can continue to exercise considerable physical and emotional control over the victim’s daily life. Also, his relationship with the victim gives him social, if not legal, permission to use such abuse. Hence the victims of domestic violence must also deal with the barriers to separation from the perpetrator created by the complexity and strength of an intimate relationship. In addition to the devastating effects, there is growing evidence that sometimes violence within the family becomes the breeding ground for other social problems such as substance abuse, violent crimes etc. In order to most effectively and efficiently respond to the individuals experiencing domestic violence, the counselors and therapists must not only understand the nature and analysis of domestic violence, but also understand how violence against intimates affects the victims, abusers, children and community as a whole.

Domestic violence is represented in form of threats, insults, sexual assaults and emotional abuse. The types of abuse or assaults endured include: Physical Abuse – (shoving, slapping, punching, kicking, throttling, biting and assault with sharp objects, guns, knives or any other dangerous weapon) , Sexual Abuse – ( Rape, attempted rape, indecent assault, on-going verbal abuse with sexual slurs such as bitch, whore, slut etc.) , Emotional, Verbal and Psychological Abuse -(the constant insults, ridicule or name calling , repeated threats of violence or death to cause emotional pain and anxiety) , Economic Abuse – ( Selling of shared property e.g. property, livestock without the consent of a victim , accessing a joint bank account for personal use without the consent of a victim) , Intimidation -(sending written or verbal death threats to a victim , sending beheaded dolls, small coffins, dead flowers or dead pets to a victim) , Harassment -(Repeatedly watching a victim outside or near his / her house, workplace, school or business premises or any place where she happens to be, repeatedly phoning a victim or causing any other person to phone his/her whether or not the caller speaks to a complainant) , Stalking – ( constantly approaching a victim and asking or demanding to talk to a victim against his/her will , damage to property may include acts of: breaking a window to gain entry into a victim’s house, cutting, breaking or damaging in any other manner shared furniture, unauthorized entry into the victim’s residence such as using a duplicate key to gain access may also constitute domestic violence.)

Despite numerous laws enacted to minimize domestic violence, the issue is still deeply rooted in the society. Hence, we must all raise our voices against this immorality and work towards eliminating domestic violence and make the world a better place to live in.

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