Domestic Violence

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Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is defined as a behavioural pattern in a relationship that is used to increase or uphold authority and command over a family member. However, domestic violence is commonly directed toward spouses or partners, thus, the article will focus with these people as victims. Domestic violence is a type of abuse that involves physical or emotional trauma. The problem is often overlooked, excused or denied.

Abusers used the guilt, fear, shame and intimidation feelings of the abused to maintain control and power. They may also threaten or hurt their partner or those surrounding their partner. It can happen to anyone, whether in a heterosexual relationship or same-sec couples, within all ages, economic levels and ethnic backgrounds.

Forms of Domestic Violence

There are different forms of domestic violence.

  • Physical abuse
    • Most obvious danger
    • Causes physical harm to partner
  • Sexual abuse
    • Form of physical abuse
    • Forces and imposes upon sexual activities
  • Emotional and psychological abuse
    • Most severe consequences
    • Destroys self-worth and leads to anxiety and depression

Signs and Symptoms of Domestic Violence

Most people will be in denial that their relationship has domestic violence. When one feels that they to constantly be careful of their words and actions to avoid a fit from their partner, the relationship is possibly abusive.

  • Physical abuse
    • Damages property when angry, such as punching walls, throwing objects, kicking doors, etc.
    • Pushes, slaps, bites, kicks, chokes, pinches or grabs his/ her partner
    • Threatens to hurt partner with weapons
    • Traps partner in the home and disallowed from leaving
    • Uses physical force in sexual situations
  • Sexual abuse
    • Views partner as objects
    • Wanting partner to dress in sexual way without consent from wife
    • Forceful or uses manipulation to engage in intercourse or perform sexual acts
    • Demands intercourse when tired or after a physical beating
    • Ignores feelings regarding sex
  • Emotional and psychological abuse
    • Constant humiliation of partner
    • Calls names or insults partners
    • Continuous criticizing
    • Always jealous and accuses of infidelity
    • Monitors actions and friends
    • Expects to ask permission
    • Threatens to hurt partner or anyone in the family

Cycle of Domestic Violence

Abusive relationships tend to fall in a common cycle of violence that if it is not stopped, may go on and worsen through time.

  • Abuse: vicious, destructive or belittling behaviour
  • Guilt: feelings of guilt from fear of getting caught and facing consequences but not about action
  • Excuses: tries to rationalize behaviour and might even blame partner for action
  • “Normal” behaviour: acts as if nothing happened and does everything to regain control over the relationship, promises to change and offers gifts
  • Fantasy and planning: fantasizes about abusing again
  • Set-up: creates a situation where the partner can be abused again

How to Manage Domestic Violence

Partners do not frequently report their abusive spouses because they are usually deep in the cycle. If domestic violence is suspected in any relationship, speak to the person, as this may just save a life.

  • If a friend is suspected of being in an abusive relationship, express concern and offer help.
  • Identify the needs of the abused. If there is a need for medical care, bring the person to a doctor.
  • Break the cycle of domestic violence.

The key to faster recovery is early recognition. Violence becomes more severe and frequent over time. Although it may not occur often, first aiders may respond to emergency situations that consist of domestic violence. St Mark James programs offer First Aid Courses that are made available to all to learn proper approach and support to victims of domestic violence.

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