What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence is any violent or aggressive behavior that takes place within the home; it typically involves abusive behavior toward a spouse or a partner. It can take place in a heterosexual or same-sex relationship that may also extend to the children.
Domestic violence can affect men, women and children but the wife or female partner is more often victimized with such abuse. Some countries, especially those that have witnessed women committing acts of infidelity, consider domestic violence as a justifiable act and may even be codified into law.
This abusive act takes many forms – physical abuse, emotional abuse, spiritual abuse, sexual abuse and verbal abuse. Common examples of domestic violence are marital rape, female genital mutilation, battering and disfigurement. The presence of domestic murders is also prevalent in some areas of the world and it includes bride burning, dowry deaths and stoning.
Different Forms of Domestic Violence
Physical Abuse. This involves physical contact that is intended to cause physical pain, suffering or injury to the victim. The abuser uses force such as hitting, shoving, grabbing, biting, shaking, choking and/or forcing drug or alcohol use. Some perpetrators may even make use of harmful weapons such as a gun or knife. Physical abuse may not result in an injury that requires immediate medical attention, which results to the incident being unreported.
Sexual Abuse. This type of domestic violence involves forcing the victim to have unwanted sexual interaction with the abuser. The perpetrator may conduct unwelcome sexual comments or advances that cause the victim to feel uncomfortable. It may also come in the form of attack against a person’s sexuality through coercion or sexual traffic such as obligatory inspections for virginity or female genital mutilation. During sexual abuse, a victim’s bodily integrity is violated; some of the most common examples of this domestic violence are rape, prostitution, human trafficking and demeaning sexual acts. Moreover, any act that limits a woman’s reproductive rights is also considered as sexual abuse in some countries. Preventing to use contraceptive methods and forcing abortion are considered illegal by some laws.
Psychological Abuse. This is interchangeably referred to as emotional abuse; it is characterized by intimidation, threats and even isolation. Abusers often instill fear to their partners through menacing behavior that may lead to damages in property, constant supervision or controlling behavior that hinders the victim from enjoying his or her freedom. Perpetrators may also threat their victims with injury or perhaps harm the victim’s family or loved ones; they may tell the victim that they will be killed if they try to leave the relationship. Some abusers also isolate their victims from other people; controlling the people whom the victim can interact with. They may also ‘damage’ their victims’ self-esteem through constant criticism, name-calling and other emotionally abusive acts.
Economic Abuse. The abuser makes or attempts to make the victim financially dependent on him or her. His or her intimate partner prohibits the victim from working or getting further education. The victim also may experience extreme controlling behavior by the partner with their financial matters. In some cases, the abuser exploits the economic resources of the victim leaving the latter empty handed. The main motive of economic abusers is to incapacitate their intimate partners from the ability to support oneself; diminishing the victim’s ability to acquire resources and assets. If you are forced to sign documents or sell things, then you are also suffering from economic abuse. Victims of this type of abuse are usually individuals who lack knowledge and education; some mothers and children in India suffer from malnutrition because the father withholds their access to food and other resources.