Domestic violence has become an increasing grave global issue, a disease which is spreading like a malignant disease in the society at an alarming rate. It is heartbreaking to see that women are threatened in a place where they should feel the safest and that too by the person with whom they should feel the safest. For years and years, we turned a blind eye trying to totally ignore the existence of domestic violence that is happening around us every day. Now we have reached at the stage of acknowledging its ugly presence and even protesting and condemning against it. Then we became vociferous too, so much so that domestic violence against women became “trending” in Twitter. There were protests also against this “trending” as violence is not something that should be considered “trending”.
It is very common to misconstrue any arguments or regrettable minor incidents happening out of jealousy, between a couple who are otherwise in love to be domestic violence. But there need to be presence of some key components to be labelled under the caption of domestic violence.
Many of us would not know what are the criteria to be designated under the classification of domestic violence?
Two key criteria are
1. The woman is in fear of the man, who is her partner and abuser
2. The man makes use of a pre-planned and methodical approach to strip the woman totally of her confidence, independence and any outside support that she might have to establish and ascertain his own control and power over her and the relationship.
Now that we have identified what exactly the term entails let us explore the roots.
1. Delay in identifying domestic violence. The woman is extremely busy trying to find excuses for her partner’s aggressive and controlling behaviour and therefore fails to realise her own torture. Usual reasons that women come up with for the abusive behaviour of their partners are “overprotective nature“, “jealousy that stems from love” and the really pathetic ” he needs a strong woman to help him overcome his demonic temper”. Statistics reveal that a woman on an average endures 35 assaults before realisation sinks in and then files a complaint.
2. In some cases the woman continues to stay even after realisation, because her self-esteem would be severely damaged, fear would have set in deep rooted in mind and a feeling of no hope outside the relationship creeps in.
3. For the man, this violent behaviour is not an overreaction but a tool to satisfy the innate desire to control the woman. Alcohol and drug dependence have been known to aggravate the behaviour, but there is absolutely no proof that alcohol or drug intake will cause such a behaviour.
4. The society does its bit by establishing gender roles; that women will meet the needs of men
The story continues when there are children involved. They too can be abused or they can be witnesses. In case of a male child the belief that women are not to be respected gets rooted in his mind. He will grow up thinking that violence is the only way to sort out all issues. If it is a female child it is highly likely that she gets abused by her partner in future as per statistical studies.
Increase awareness against domestic violence for early identification.
Encourage the victim to come out of the abusive life. Provide sufficient support after that and enhance the existing supportive network too.
Violence due to psychological disturbances should be treated by mental health services. Those induced by alcohol and drugs should be attended by medical intervention and psychological counselling.
Civil remedies include restraining orders, disposing automobile or house to the victim regulating access to children if any.
In many countries like Australia, where there has been dramatic rise in the incidents of domestic violence in the recent years. State and Federal governments have initiated the legislative process of criminalising domestic violence and ensuring better safety for women in their own homes.
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