Some agencies do not collect statistics on domestic violence, and those that do define and record domestic violence in different ways. The Women's Safety Survey in surveyed approximately 6, women about their experience of actual or threatened physical and sexual violence. Based on the survey results fig. Now we pose the question, why would a woman been brutally beaten, maybe even crippled, whose pregnancy is lost, or many other effects remain with a "loved one" who might beat her to death?
For some women, there is no way out. It is like the door is open but she cannot leave. She has no resources of her own, she needs to provide for her children, she is terrified of the police, and social workers are people who can declare you an unfit mother. The perpetrator has threatened to kill her if she leaves or if she tells and she knows no safe haven from him.
There is also no federal witness protection program for domestic assault victims. Some women hold onto hope for the chance of better times. The cycle of tension, abuse, relief, tension, abuse, relief has periods in which optimism is rewarded.
Hope for the ending of battering is realized and the relief experienced in the periods of peace is strong. We know there is nothing as powerful as relief from torture as a positive reward for desired behavior. For some battered women the thin thread of hope and the brief experience of relief reinforces her decision to stay. Child abuse can be physical -- shaking, hitting, beating, burning, or biting a child; emotional -- constantly blaming or putting down a child; excessive yelling, shaming; sexual- incest, any forced sexual activity, exposure to sexual stimulation not appropriate for the child's age; neglect-- a pattern of failure to provide for the child's physical needs, such as food, clothing, shelter, and medical care; a pattern of failure to provide for the child's emotional needs, such as affection, attention, and supervision.
In an abusive environment, children are often expected to behave as if they are much older than they are. Children are often "punished" for behavior they are too young to control. Abusive parents often do not know they have to teach the behavior they want the child to have. Sometimes punishing unwanted behavior is not enough, parents and guardians often abuse children in response to their own anger and unhappiness and it may have no relationship to what the child is doing at the time.
Male abusers are laden with fear about losing power. They won't stop there either. The pattern of abuse involves severe mental torture and humiliation--blaming, threatening, ignoring, isolating, forcing sex, monitoring phone calls, and restricting any form of social life. It is a vicious cycle of abuse, where the wife is almost literally chained to the husband.
Her self-esteem has been obliterated. She is financially, emotionally, and functionally helpless. She is incapable of reaching out for help for herself or for her children. At this point the abuse gets more routine; the abuser sites his partner's pathetic state as more reason to beat her. And the victim sinks deeper, and more beatings ensue. She has been infected with psychological-AIDS; she has no defense "immune system" to combat the disease of abuse.
For women, escaping an abusive relationship is VERY difficult. And the abuse usually doesn't stop at the discretion of the male. It is painfully clear that victims have little but two choices: Sadly, the latter is the easier one. Domestic Violence as a Health Issue The World Health Organization defines health as "a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity" In the Health of Women: A Global Perspective, Based on this, domestic violence against women is clearly a health problem.
In , the U. Physical violence is the most basic form of domestic violence, leading to extensive injury, unsuccessful pregnancies and even murder. These are deaths caused by a preventable social problem. Actual or threatened physical violence, psychological violence and the denial of physical and economic resources all have an enormous impact on women's mental health. These problems take many forms, all affecting women's ability to attain a basic quality of life for herself and her family.
Abuse is strongly associated with alcoholism and drug use in women Facts About Domestic Violence. It also can lead to "fatigue and passivity coupled with an extreme sense of worthlessness" Violence Against Women in the Family, These symptoms together remove any initiative and decision making ability from the victim.
This lethargy, coupled with economic barriers, makes escape from the situation very difficult. The lack of initiative also thwarts women's abilities to participate in activities outside of the home. High levels of stress and depression are also extremely common mental health problems for victims of family violence, often leading to suicide Facts About Domestic Violence. In the United States, one quarter of suicide attempts by white women and one half of attempts by African American women are preceded by abuse In the Health of Women: The World Bank's analysis found domestic violence to be a major cause of disability and death among women; the burden of family violence is comparable to that of HIV, tuberculosis, cardiovascular disease or cancer Domestic Violence Against Women: A Global Issue, In industrialized nations one in five healthy days of life are lost to women age 15 to 44 due to domestic violence Fact Sheet About Domestic Violence Domestic violence "diverts the scarce resources of national health care systems to the treatment of a preventable social ill" Violence Against Women in the Family, Medical costs for the treatment of abused women total at least 3 to 5 billion dollars annually in the United States.
Battered women in the United States are four to five times more likely than non-battered women to require psychiatric treatment, and over one million women in the U.
Finally, families in the United States in which domestic violence occurs use doctors eight times more often, visit the emergency room six times more often and use six times more prescription drugs than the general population Facts About Domestic Violence.
A Socio-Economic Crisis Domestic violence against women is not an individual or family problem. It is an important social issue. Using the Systems Theory as a theoretical framework helps show the resonating effect of such violence.
The family unit is one of many sub-systems. Together, all these different sub-systems make up the one big system i. The human body serves as a good example: This will have an effect on the whole body itself society.
Although the family unit is only one among the many sub-systems, it is considered to be the most important of them all--the heart, if you will. Since the family unit is responsible for the socialization of children who will later go on to participate in other sub-systems, than it is logical to assume that a deterioration in the crucial family unit can result in a deterioration within other sub-systems, and of course, the entire system itself. As mentioned above, the sub-system of health care is feeling the pressure.
Something as preventable as domestic violence against women is diverting funds from an already under-funded health care system.
There are people out there who need serious medical treatment, but will never, or at the very most, will get insufficient treatment. Monies allocated to the medical treatment of abused women 3 to 5 billion dollars annually diverts much needed funds from such already under-funded institutions as education, law enforcement, social services etc.
Therefore the possibility exists that adults of the future will be sparsely educated delinquents; crime will be on the increase; and important social services won't be able to look out for the welfare of the people--such as shelters for abused women.
The result is long term decay within the entire system, which will add further to the decay within the family, which will cause the entire vicious cycle to continue.
Thus an epidemic of violence within the family of orientation is a primary cause of psychological disfunction--in specific, violent conflict resolution--which is responsible for the breakdown of the entire social order. And in at least half of the wife abusing families, the children were battered as well.
As mentioned initially, violence within the family "family becomes the breeding ground for other social problems such as substance abuse, juvenile delinquency, and violent crimes of all types. All other institutions revolve around it. If the sun were to blow up the entire galaxy would go with it. Conclusion Domestic violence against women must be perceived as a socio-economical problem rather than a private issue imbedded within family -- a domestic issue which can be easily ignored.
It must receive appropriate attention from the various institutions within our society as an issue affecting the overall standard of living. It is not only a women's issue, but also a problem that threatens the harmony within our communities. Facts About Domestic Violence, "http: Koblinsky, Marge, et al, In the Health of Women: A Global Perspective, Westview Press, 7. Koblinsky, Marge, et al, Violence Against Women: The Missing Agenda, Westview Press, 8.
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