What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence is violence or other abuse in a domestic setting, such as in marriage or cohabitation. Domestic violence is often used as a synonym for intimate partner violence, which is committed by one of the people in an intimate relationship against the other person, and can take place in heterosexual or same-sex relationships, or between former spouses or partners. In its broadest sense, domestic violence also involves violence against children, teenagers, parents, or the elderly. It takes multiple forms, including physical, verbal, emotional, economic, religious, reproductive, and sexual abuse, which can range from subtle, coercive forms to marital rape and to violent physical abuse such as choking, beating, female genital mutilation, and acid throwing that results in disfigurement or death. Domestic murders include stoning, bride burning, honour killing, and dowry death.
A 2014 study reports that although the reported sexual violence rate in India is among the lowest in the world, the large population of India means that the violence affects 27.5 million women over their lifetimes. However, an opinion survey among experts was carried out ranked India as the most dangerous country in the world for women.
Globally, the victims of domestic violence are overwhelmingly women, and women tend to experience more severe forms of violence. They are also likelier than men to use intimate partner violence in self-defence. In some countries, domestic violence may be seen as justified or legally permitted, particularly in cases of actual or suspected infidelity on the part of the woman
Domestic violence often occurs when the abuser believes that abuse is an entitlement, acceptable, justified, or unlikely to be reported. It may produce an intergenerational cycle of violence in children and other family members, who may feel that such violence is acceptable or condoned.
Types of Domestic Violence:-
All domestic violence are not equivalent. Differences in frequency, severity, purpose, and outcome are all significant. Domestic violence can take many forms, including physical aggression or assault (hitting, kicking, biting, shoving, restraining, slapping, throwing objects, beating up, etc.), or threats thereof; sexual abuse; controlling or domineering; intimidation; stalking; passive/covert abuse and economic deprivation. It can also mean endangerment, criminal coercion, kidnapping, unlawful imprisonment, trespassing, and harassment.
- Physical Abuse:
It is a violence which is intended to cause fear, pain, injury, other physical suffering or bodily harm. Physical violence can be the culmination of other abusive behaviour, such as threats, intimidation, and restriction of victim self-determination through isolation, manipulation and other limitations of personal freedom. Denying medical care, sleep deprivation, and forced drug or alcohol use, are also forms of physical abuse.
Strangulation in the context of domestic violence has received significant attention. It is now recognized as one of the most lethal forms of domestic violence; yet, because of the lack of external injuries, and the lack of social awareness and medical training in regard to it, strangulation has often been a hidden problem.
During pregnancy, a woman is at higher risk to be abused or long-standing abuse may change in severity, causing negative health effects to the mother and foetus. Pregnancy can also lead to a hiatus of domestic violence when the abuser does not want to harm the unborn child.
Acid attacks, are an extreme form of violence in which acid is thrown at the victims, usually their faces, resulting in extensive damage including long-term blindness and permanent scarring.
Bride burning or dowry killing is a form of domestic violence in which a newly married woman is killed at home by her husband or husband’s family due to their dissatisfaction over the dowry provided by her family. The act is often a result of demands for more or prolonged dowry after the marriage.
- Sexual Abuse:-
Sexual abuse, is defined by World Health Organization as any sexual act, attempt to obtain a sexual act, unwanted sexual comments or advances, or acts to traffic, or otherwise directed, against a person’s sexuality using coercion. It also includes obligatory inspections for virginity and female genital mutilation.
In many cultures, victims of rape are considered to have brought dishonor or disgrace to their families and face severe familial violence, including honor killings.This is especially the case if the victim becomes pregnant.
Incest, or sexual contact between a related adult and a child, is one form of familial sexual violence.[ In some cultures, there are ritualized forms of child sexual abuse taking place with the knowledge and consent of the family, where the child is induced to engage in sexual acts with adults, possibly in exchange for money or goods.
Reproductive coercion are threats or acts of violence against a partner’s reproductive rights, health and decision-making; and includes a collection of behaviors intended to pressure or coerce a partner into becoming pregnant or ending a pregnancy.
Marital rape is non-consensual penetration perpetrated against a spouse. It is under-reported, under-prosecuted, and legal in many countries, due in part to the belief that through marriage, a woman gives irrevocable consent for her husband to have sex with her when he wishes.
- Emotional Abuse:-
Emotional abuse is a pattern of behavior that threatens, intimidates, dehumanizes or systematically undermines self-worth. According to the Istanbul Convention, psychological violence is “the intentional conduct of seriously impairing a person’s psychological integrity through coercion or threats”.
Emotional abuse includes minimising, threats, isolation, public humiliation, unrelenting criticism, constant personal devaluation, coercive control, repeated stonewalling and gaslighting. Stalking is a common form of psychological intimidation, and is most often perpetrated by former or current intimate partners. Victims tend to feel their partner has nearly total control over them, greatly affecting the power dynamic in a relationship, empowering the perpetrator, and disempowering the victim.