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Domestic or intimate partner violence is a form of abuse where a person controls his/her spouse either through verbal or physical assault (Herman, 2015). It is a global phenomenon affecting all nations and is witnessed in families. Abuse can either be physical like a sexual assault, psychological or emotional. Although women are the not only victims of domestic violence, they account for a higher percentage followed by children, the elderly, and men in that order (Cosh & Carslaw, 2016). Studies show that about 10 million people across the globe have suffered from domestic violence, and 33% of women compared to 25% of men have been victims. Domestic violence is one of the leading causes of family breakups and injuries particularly on women ranging between 18 and 45 years of age (Berns, 2017). Statistics show that about 20% of all violent crimes are family related and 18% of them involve a weapon. What is horrible is that presence of guns increases the risks of homicide by about 500%, and almost 12,000 women are killed each year due to domestic violence. Other than family breakups, domestic violence negatively impacts mental health plus the wellness of a person (Berns, 2017). Victims of domestic violence have experienced physical, emotional as well as psychological damage leaving them with bruises, fractured bones and post-traumatic stress disorders which affect their overall wellbeing. This paper identifies and discusses the socioeconomic and psychological factors leading to domestic violence starting from an international perspective down to Australia. It also analyses the consequences of domestic violence.
Socioeconomic factors and how they influence domestic violence.
Alcohol and drug abuse are the leading causes of domestic violence in Australia and contributes to about 72% of physical assaults. According to a 2010 domestic violence survey done in South Wales, alcohol was the leading cause of domestic assaults with a rating of 41%. This figure has escalated to about 65% in the remote areas of the state. Victorian data also shows a steady shift in the rate of alcohol-related domestic violence incidents from 12 to 24 incidents per 10,000 people over a ten year period. The risks of violence increases in a family when alcohol is involved causing injuries and breakups. Children are most affected during domestic violence, and in the end, they risk being neglected, abused or being emotionally disturbed (Cattaneo, & Goodman, 2015). In addition, alcohol leads to domestic murders. As per the Australian Institute of criminology, about 43% of all homicides reported between 2004 and 2006 were alcohol-related. Such a rate is much higher for the Aboriginal Islanders where the intimate partner deaths as a result of alcohol are 13 times more than that of non-indigenous Australians (Hanmer & Itzin, 2013). Sadly, a majority of these victims are women
Almost 75% of the world’s illiterate adults are women, as per the report evaluating progress towards gender equality (Jahanfar et al., 2013). The study also shows that for people of 65 years and above, 19 % of men are illiterate compared to their female counterparts with a higher margin of 30%. It is assumed that education illiteracy especially that involving a woman is a key factor that causes domestic violence. As uneducated women are viewed being less productive economic wise, it is the same way they are seen to have little bargaining power in the family (Howard et al., 2013). Individuals with little or no education are at higher risks of being victims of domestic violence than those that are literate. In addition, those with education literacy are to an extent victims of domestic assault; the difference is that the level of incidence is low. Since education is an essential tool in contemporary society, the level of education a person receives determines his/her lifestyle in the society. Income is also linked with education level (Johnson, 2016). A person of high education literacy can secure good employment and receive great rewards in terms of salary. As a result, the dependency on others lessens thus lowering the cases of domestic violence.
The relationship between gender and domestic violence remains to be complicated. Norms within a society shape the different behaviours and roles of males and females. Social expectations dictate fitting behaviour for men plus their counterparts. Differences in gender roles between a man and a woman at times create inequalities thus empowering one gender on behalf of the other (Leavitt & Fox, 2014). In most societies, women are seen as subordinate to men and that they have a lower status. The latter makes men in charge of everything and have greater decision power. Gender inequality has a significant and wide-ranging impact on society. For instance, it can lead to gender inequalities in health as well as access to health care, employment opportunities, promotion, political representation as well as education to mention just a few. Differences in gender increase the risks of gender violence by men against women (Pallitto et al., 2013). For example, there is a traditional belief that men have the mandate to control women. Such thinking makes women vulnerable to domestic violence. Statistics show that between 15% and 75% of women are targeted for domestic violence in their lifetime with a high percentage reporting their husbands as the culprits. Health consequences of domestic violence causes emotional distress, physical assault and health problems.
Studies show that a majority of people involved in murder-suicides suffer from mental illnesses. A 2009 literature also show that between 19% and 65% of people that commit murder-suicide suffer from depression and other mental illnesses. High rates of depressive symptoms are visible in specific populations at risk for domestic violence (Letellier & Island, 2013). A person can be depressed because of deteriorating health condition or financial hardships thus expressing anger to their partners in forms of violence. Stress can also lead to depressive symptoms and cause destruction. However, by recognising that depression cause domestic violence, people should make some changes in their living conditions that will prevent depression from re occurring (Root & Brown, 2014). Overall, the consequences of depression like assault require a firm commitment from the other partner and the society at large which involves freeing the victims of depression from destructive intergeneration cycles of abuse as well as depression.
Mental health problems do not cause domestic violence but increase the risk of abusive patterns. Mental disorders affect all sectors of a person’s life including personal relationships (Malchiodi, 2014). A new research from Britain shows that the cases of domestic violence are more pronounced among people with mental health conditions than in the general population. The study also shows that mentally disabled women are three times more likely to go through domestic violence. Also, those with PSTD are eight times more likely to go through the same than those without any mental health condition (Oram et al., 2013). The cases are similar to men. These studies show that domestic violence can result in mental health problems and persons with mental health conditions are vulnerable to it. PTSD affects millions of people across the globe and occur in people that have gone through life-threatening situations like domestic violence. However, the highest incidences of PTSD are among victims of battering or rape, particularly the women (Pallitto et al., 2013). More essential, victims of domestic assault are the victims of mental disorders.
Jealously in marriages is a definite issue people hear about and it determines if a relationship will be healthy or unhealthy and result to abuse/violence (Root & Brown, 2014). Episodes of domestic violence are due to jealousy as well as accusations of infidelity. A high number of cases of homicidal as well as the harmful effects of domestic violence are from pathologically jealous husbands against their female partners (Root & Brown, 2014). Men are capable of acting out of rage as well as express powerful emotions more violently than females. Jealousy kills a thoughtful relationship piece by piece especially when it becomes an obsession. The more a person gets obsessed with something, the more imagination takes over distorting reality as well as rational thinking. Jealousy can lead to domestic violence and eventually psychosis (Straus, Gelles & Steinmetz, 2017). Therefore, one should note that domestic violence not only expresses itself physically but emotionally. Jealousy is an emotional feeling, and sometimes it can be more painful than being battered. Cheating in a relationship can cause envy and lead to domestic violence as the other person feels less important (Straus, Gelles & Steinmetz, 2017). However, it does not necessarily mean that jealousy can be real that a person is cheating on his/her partner, so it would be ideal to understand the other person and take necessary actions if the perceptions are true.
The consequences of domestic violence are more than a person may think, as victims of violence along with their families and friends can be affected. Regarding intimate partner violence, there is enough evidence of the negative impact on children (Berns, 2017). The society can suffer economically, regarding the use of resources as well as productivity of a person because of fear and injury. However, understanding the ramifications of violence is vital for planning as well as implementing strategies to deal with such implications. On the other hand, victims of domestic violence exhibit psychological symptoms that are common to the person suffering from trauma or PTSD. Children in families where domestic violence occur are at great danger of physical as well as sexual assault (Johnson, 2016). They can develop high levels of aggression and antisocial, along with fearful and inhibited behaviours.
Domestic violence has been a world phenomenon that has affected people particularly the women since time immemorial. The problem is aggravated by issues such as socioeconomic factors and psychological factors leading to great ramifications for the victims such as broken marriages, sexual assault, fractured bones, and PTSDs to mention just a few. To counteract this problem, there should be gender parity in all fields and strict laws put in place to deal with the perpetrators of domestic violence. As some of the victims of domestic violence do not report cases of assault, they should adopt others ways like education which can make them dependable in life which is a major cause of domestic violence.
Berns, N. S. (2017). Framing the victim: Domestic violence, media, and social problems. Routledge.
Cattaneo, L. B., & Goodman, L. A. (2015). What is empowerment anyway? A model for domestic violence practice, research, and evaluation. Psychology of Violence, 5(1), 84.
Cosh, A., & Carslaw, H. (2016). Domestic violence and abuse. InnovAiT, 9(7), 404-412.
Hanmer, J., & Itzin, C. (2013). Home truths about domestic violence: Feminist influences on policy and practice-A reader. Routledge.
Herman, J. L. (2015). Trauma and recovery: The aftermath of violence--from domestic abuse to political terror. Hachette UK.
Howard, L. M., Oram, S., Galley, H., Trevillion, K., & Feder, G. (2013). Domestic violence and perinatal mental disorders: a systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS medicine, 10(5), e1001452.
Jahanfar, S., Janssen, P. A., Howard, L. M., & Dowswell, T. (2013). Interventions for preventing or reducing domestic violence against pregnant women. Cochrane database of systematic reviews, (2).
Johnson, M. P. (2016). Con?ict and Control: Symmetry and Asymmetry in Domestic Violence. In Couples in conflict (pp. 125-134). Routledge.
Leavitt, L. A., & Fox, N. A. (2014). The psychological effects of war and violence on children. Psychology Press.
Letellier, P., & Island, D. (2013). Men who beat the men who love them: Battered gay men and domestic violence. Routledge.
Malchiodi, C. (2014). Breaking the silence: Art therapy with children from violent homes. Routledge.
Oram, S., Trevillion, K., Feder, G., & Howard, L. M. (2013). Prevalence of experiences of domestic violence among psychiatric patients: systematic review. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 202(2), 94-99.
Pallitto, C. C., García?Moreno, C., Jansen, H. A., Heise, L., Ellsberg, M., & Watts, C. (2013). Intimate partner violence, abortion, and unintended pregnancy: Results from the WHO Multi?country Study on Women's Health and Domestic Violence. International Journal of Gynaecology & Obstetrics, 120(1), 3-9.
Root, M. P., & Brown, L. (2014). An analysis of domestic violence in Asian American communities: A multicultural approach to counselling. In Diversity and complexity in feminist therapy (pp. 143-164). Routledge.
Straus, M. A., Gelles, R. J., & Steinmetz, S. K. (2017). Behind closed doors: Violence in the American family. Routledge
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