Domestic Violence and its impact on society

Domestic Violence and its impact on society

In order to address the issue of domestic violence, one has to define it and look at the issue from various cultural ramifications.

Domestic Violence or Domestic abuse is the violation of another person verbally, physically, emotionally, economic or psychologically. It is also referred to as intimate partner violence. Such behaviours include threats, physical beatings, emotional abuse, withholding privileges, blaming, promoting negative rumours about one's partner or enforcing inappropriate sexual demands. This clarification is so important otherwise people think domestic violence relates only to physical abuse. According to the United Nations, it is a pattern of behaviour used by one partner in order to gain control over another. Anyone can be a victim of domestic abuse regardless of economic background or educational standing, sexual orientation or religious inclination.

Physical Abuse: This is easy to recognise though the victim sometimes tries very hard to disguise this aspect and in some cases making excuses for the perpetrator. Some cultures believe this is an 'act of love'. Such thinking needs education and better orientation. Physical abuse of another or of their properties is demeaning and should not be tolerated in any culture. Lives have been lost while one partner is trying to prove to the other that they are in control. No human being should ever exert control over another. We are all equal before God.

Emotional and Psychological Abuse: This is where one partner undermines the other through name-calling, verbal abuse, withholding affection, isolation. Isolation is one of the powerful tools of the abuser. I say this 'powerful' because the abuser makes the abused feel 'they are being protected' from danger or contamination from other influences. The abused may prevent the abused from meeting friends or other members of the family by appearing to be concerned about the victim. The victim feels loved by protectionism which is a form of isolation tactics.

Economic Abuse: One partner makes the other feel they are not financially literate enough. The abuser will takes measures to ensure they withhold money from the abused. If you constantly need permission to go out or take the necessary steps, you may be suffering from emotional abuse. Sometimes children are being used in order to keep you down. No one likes to be separated from their children. In some cultures, if you decide to pluck up the courage to leave an abuser, you'll be told 'you can leave but you can't take the children with you'. The victim becomes powerless and surrenders to further abuse.

Sexual Abuse: This is not just asking for sex when the other is not ready but involves demanding that the victim perform sexual act for money or disregard their feelings. It may also involve withholding from the other in order to punish them.

Other aspects of domestic violence or abuse can be FGM -female genital mutilation, practised in some cultures. This is an act that is also being eradicated due to some concerted efforts by various international bodies.

Domestic Violence is now being taken seriously internationally especially has COVID has further made it worse as a result of so many factors. All countries should afford this position in the country's budget. If a section of the society suffers, all suffers.

Different countries have organisations that deal with issues of Domestic Violence, regardless of how little the help is, it is important for victims to cry out and seek appropriate help. Remember violence against another is a crime and it needs to be treated so. Do not shield and protect the abuser. If you belong to a religious sect where men are highly regarded and women relegated, seek help elsewhere as you may a victim of religious abuse where scriptures are misquoted in order to make the man a god.

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