domestic violence as a threat to the welfare of the society

Domestic violence refers to the physical, emotional, economic or sexual abuse exercised over a person by his or her intimate partner or on other family members such as children (Chapin 2009). It is a common vice in the society which most of the times go unreported thus the need to create awareness and the necessary platforms that would enable the victims to report cases and receive justice. Women are the most affected by this form of violence though a significant number of males have also reported cases of violence. Domestic violence may result to serious body injuries on the victims body especially where physical abuse is involved which may consist of beatings, pushing or rape and in worst cases death may occur (Chapin 2009). This essay is an evaluation of domestic violence as a threat to the welfare of the society and which should be addressed through the various legal systems so as to ensure that relationships are based on mutual respect for one another and also to protect human rights against abuse.

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Domestic Violence

According to The National Crime Victimization survey, approximately 1900 deaths were reported in the year 2000 as a result of domestic violence in America (Vaknin 2003). From this figure, women victims comprised the highest number of close to 1500 victims. This however does not reflect the actual figures due to the fact that most of the victims do not report the crimes committed against them due to factors such as fear, lack economic power to challenge their abductors in court etc (Vaknin 2003). The attitude held by people that marriage and relationship affairs are private thus leaving the responsibility to the couples to solve their own differences, is also a factor that makes it almost impossible to solve this dilemma. This is because it makes the victims adjust to the vice instead of reporting or going for help from their friends, due to the fear of being rejected and disrespected. As such, the most important action that should be given first priority is to educate the society on the importance of respecting human rights as well as making a clear definition of what domestic violence entails. In addition, the highest number of cases involved the African American women. In the observations made, it was noted that majority of the victims opted to remain in the abusive relationships rather than file for divorce. This has in some cases been attributed to the family back ground within which a victim is brought up. This is due to the fact that whereas male children are given leading roles and authority, the female child is in most of the times brought up knowing that she is supposed to serve and respect the males in her surroundings. As such, they form a submissive approach towards their male companions who may take advantage to oppress them.

The security departments such as the police have also been noted to be reluctant in the way they handle cases that are reported to them involving domestic violence (Chapin 2009). Most of the cases end up unattended such that no help is availed to the victims. This enhances repetitive cases due to the knowledge that violent persons have that they cannot be apprehended. Some situations end up more worse after reporting whereby a victim is punished by a partner for reporting them to the police. This instills fear in the victim such that any occurrences afterwards would not be reported due to the lack of trust in the police (Chapin 2009). This therefore requires an establishment of special police branches to deal specifically with cases of domestic violence on gender basis so as to prevent the possibility of gender bias while investigating the cases. The officers should also be given further training to empower them with the necessary skills for solving such cases. Where poor performance among the officers is reported, appropriate punishments should be administered in order to maintain the effectiveness and the integrity of the police as well as to accomplish their goal which is to serve and maintain law and order.

According to statistics, approximately 2000 people in America alone died from cases related to intimate domestic violence in the year 2005 (Chapin 2009). In another report delivered from a survey of National Violence against Women, approximately 22% and 8% of women and men respectively experience domestic violence at least once in their lifetime (CDC 2009). The consequences of these occurrences on the economy cannot be underestimated as the victims may incur heavy loses on treatment as well as the possibility of incapacitation which may deny them the opportunity to serve in their professional fields thus slowing down the economic growth. In relation to this, it is estimated that over $ 8 billion are spent in correcting damages that are as a result of domestic violence (Chapin 2009). This is a high expenditure that can be invested in other sectors which are more productive or towards facilitating better health care by improving the already existing medical services.

As such, the issue of domestic violence should be addressed accordingly to prevent the damage which occurs on victims which may include and not limited to depression, mental illness or HIV infection as well as death. In order to be able to solve this issue, the possible causes should be identified and dealt with them though there is no justifiable reason as to why cases of violence should occur. Such causes include for example drunkenness whereby a partner commits the crime under the influence of alcohol due to lack of proper judgment, drug abuse, cultural beliefs whereby a certain gender is discriminated against for example in matters concerning wealth and political empowerment as well as their rights to make decisions pertaining to sex (Bankroft 2003). In some societies, the primitive notion that men are superior to women is an obstacle that should be dealt with since it is used to justify their actions such as sexual harassment whereby it is mutually acceptable for a man to punish his wife in case she refuses to have sex with him. Under such circumstances, the woman will always be oppressed by the male dominance. The mostly affected gender is the females who are always seen as inferior to men such that they are denied the right to own property thus making them vulnerable and more like servants than equal partners in family businesses. Due to this, they continue to suffer in the hands of their partners without necessarily informing the authorities for appropriate action to be taken (Bankroft 2003). Lack of economic empowerment also deters their ability to hire lawyers to represent them in cases which may help them to get compensation for the damages inflicted on them.

Under these circumstances, the woman is left to fight for her own rights in her own home, a factor that has contributed to worse situations that result to death (Shwartz 2004). An example is a man who every day comes home drunk beats his wife and chases her out of the house at night without caring where she would go or the dangers that she would be exposed to. This is a heinous act which due to the society’s discriminative attitude towards women leaves her with no other option but to spend the night in the cold since no one would be generous enough to provide shelter to a woman who does not ‘respect’ her husband. This goes on for a long time until one day she gets fed up with the physical abuse. As usual, the husband comes home drunk and beats his wife but this time he is surprised because instead of the usual ease with which he commits the act, his wife retaliates by taking a knife and stabbing him on the chest after which he falls down dead (Shwartz 2004). Whereas people may argue that the woman is on the wrong, it would be true to say that many unplanned cases of this nature do happen in the society, due to the reluctance of the various legal institutions to apprehend criminals who cause harm to their spouses. In addition, not all instances of violence end this way. There are times when cases of violence lead to the actual death of the victims either intentionally or by accident which may occur in the process of committing the act.

To prevent cases of domestic violence, various initiatives should be undertaken to ensure that new cases do not develop, while also managing the already reported cases. Such initiatives should be for example creating awareness among the vulnerable groups so that they can recognize their rights after which they would be able to know when they are being subjected to violence. This is due to the fact that many people do not know their rights and as such, they usually follow what their customs dictate and what is universally acceptable within their communities (Bankroft 2004). Due to this, to them it would appear to be normal for a partner to demand for sexual favors as well as to control and dominate over the other. The society at large should be educated on the dangers and consequences of domestic violence so as to influence their way of thinking and approach towards the weaker sex.

By doing so, some barbaric custom beliefs that promote domestic violence would be dropped thus creating a favorable environment for people to cohabit. In societies that do not support divorce, it is common to find cases of domestic violence especially on women due to the fact that they are married for life and as such, they do not have the liberty to terminate their relationships once they turn violent. As such, divorce should be considered as a solution to the crises or as a preventive measure against recurrent cases of violence (Chapin 2009). This would clear the conscience of the victim in case he or she decides to walk away from a relationship which could result to greater damages for example death. This would be significant especially in those societies where women are perceived to be more or less like property especially due to the issue of bride price. In such cases, a good wife is recognized not by her character but through her ability to obey and respect her husband and expect little or nothing in return.

Conclusion

Domestic violence refers to the physical, emotional, economical or sexual abuse that a person can inflict on his intimate partner as well as his other family members. In this context, any act that may result to the displeasure of a partner for example forced sex, beating and denial of access to family funds or the right to express discontent can be termed as domestic violence. In places such as America where these cases are reported, women are identified as the most vulnerable to this act. However, various statistics taken by various institutions for example CDC and Bureau of Justice Statistics show that men equally are victims of domestic violence though not at a higher rate than women. Not only does this form of violence cause mental and physical disorders but also may result to the death of victims. As such, strict measures should be taken to punish offenders. Women should also be empowered economically so as to enable them defend their rights against abuse by their male companions. By doing so, they become independent such that they do not necessarily have to stay in relationships that are violent just because the men are supporting them. It has also been noted that sometimes the police lack the will to help the victims of domestic violence thus making it difficult to control the vice. As such, proper training should be conducted in order to enhance the effectiveness with which such cases are handled. More police departments should be created for dealing with specific cases involving such crimes. In addition, those officers who mistreat or fail to attend to reports from victims should be punished either by relieving them of their duties or taking them to court. This would help to counter the reoccurrence of violence which is based on the reluctance of the police to apprehend criminals.

References

Bankroft L. (2003) Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men,

Berkley Trade Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2009) Intimate Partner Violence Can Lead to Serious Injury, Retrieved 09 November, 2009

From <http://www.cdc.gov/Features/IntimatePartnerViolence/>

Chapin J (2009) Domestic Violence Beliefs and Perceptions across the Lifespan, the

International Journal of Humanities, 7(1), 49-58

Shwartz D. (2004) Whose Face Is in the Mirror? The Story of One Woman’s Journey from the

Nightmare of Domestic Abuse to True Healing, Hay House

Vaknin S. (2003). Domestic Violence Statistics, Retrieved 14 November 2009

From <http://www.buzzle.com/editorials/7-24-2003-43341.asp>

 

 

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