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Domestic violence according to many definitions is considered a pattern or consistency of behavior(s) towards any individual in any kind of relationship which is used to acquire and retain a form of power and control over another person. Domestic violence varies in many different forms and the abuse can be physical, sexual, and psychological and also it can be an emotional abuse. These abuses cause fear in the lives of the abused individuals. The abused individual will show signs of fright, intimidation, terror, physical injury and many more. These are few of the signs that can point to someone being a victim of domestic violence. According to the office on violence against women, domestic violence is seen as a consistent pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship. Also this office believes that domestic abuse and violence can happen to about anyone which can in turn lead to more devastating damages to the victim. This issue is a very important issue that sometimes can be overlooked and ignored and proper help are not being received by the victims. There are many different groups and services that are available for these victims in hope to help them get out of these abusive and violent relationships. A lot of emphasis has been made on the fact that maybe domestic violence only happens to females, but there have been issues where these violent abuses have come upon males and children as well. Many males who experience domestic violence tends to keep quiet and don’t report it because they believe that as a male, such action shouldn’t be happening to them. Many suffer in silence for a long time before any form of intervention is received to help them get out of the situation. Children as well are common culprits of domestic abuse either from their parents or potential caregivers. Many of these children have learned a coping mechanism that helps them deal with the abuse and they sometimes don’t report it to authorities. It is now up to the teachers and outside sources to intervene for some of these children in order for them to receive adequate and appropriate help at the right time before it becomes too late.
Domestic violence doesn’t have a required age or race stamp on it, it can definitely happen to any person of any race, age, religion, gender or even sexual preferences. This act of crime happens to people of all background with no bias to education or financial status. Domestic violence and abuse within families is considered to be a national crime in our society in today`s world. Many people argue that the idea of domestic violence has become over inflated and whether or not it should result in punishment and severe reprimanded. Domestic violence is an act that shouldn’t be tolerated by any individual and should be punishable by law. According to the National Criminal justice reference services, most domestic violence abuse occurs among intimate partners. “Those with whom the offender had a relationship as a current or former spouse or boyfriend or girlfriend” (NCJRS Abstract). Many of these violent abuses can be quite damaging and sometimes can even lead to permanent damages and death.
Social Cognitive Theory which was written by Bandura talks about behaviors, cognition of the individual and other major events and environmental factors. The one important factor that seem very crucial to this theory based on Bandura`s theory is the individual`s ability and strength to identify similar behaviors in domestic violence cases and also learning ways of dealing or overcoming that particular situation. Based on this strength that the individual has, self determination and realization can be better accomplished without waiting too long. In cognitive theory, many different plans and techniques can be used to help victims of domestic violence have the courage to speak up against their abuser by using all the available means and sources around them. This can also build on the ideas of anticipating outcomes, and learning from observation of acts that might eventually lead to an abuse. .
Domestic violence can be seen from another perspective and theory which is the social learning theory. Many will ask the question; what is social learning theory and how does it relate to domestic violence? According to the great theorist Bandura, he believed that it quite impossible for an individual to learn everything that needs to learned on their own without any social and outside help. His theory went on further to argue that people learn new behaviors and information by observing and watching other people. This act is known as observational learning and it can be used to explain a lot of behaviors that individuals display.
Based on this theory, it can be seen how positive behaviors can be reinforced and vice versa with a negative one. In cases of domestic violence, many of the victims and the abusers at one time in their life have probably observed violent behaviors in which they ended up imitating later on in life. For example, a young boy who grew up seeing his father abusing his mother might end up growing up to be an abuser as well. For these abusers, it becomes a power issue for them and if there are no repercussions for their actions or the victim does not object, they tend to continue without any form of remorse. These bad habits tend to continue in a cycle and passed down from one generation to another.
Looking at domestic violence from a behavioral perspective, theorists have argued the fact that any traumatic event can have a significant influence on a person`s behavior. In regards to domestic violence, many negative behaviors have been associated to this abuse and it effect can be seen physically and emotionally. A young child who is exposed to constant violence at home might act out at school or resolve to solve issues with his peers with violence. These behaviors are learned by observing and seeing what is being done constantly in their environment.
As bad as this issue is, many people are ignorant to the signs and symptoms of a person experiencing domestic violence. Many ask the question, how do you know? What are the signs? Well there isn’t just one sign. There is no easy way to tell if a person suffers from abuse or violence but there are many ways and signs to detect if individual is going through a violence either at home or anywhere else. There are physiological signs and also physical signs.
PHYSICAL SIGNS: There are many different physical signs that points to domestic violence or any kind of violence in an individual, they are:
Broken tooth or mouth injury
Black eye or facial bruises and cuts
Genital area injuries( these are often covered up so it can be seen0
Most of these physical injuries are caused by bite marks from the abuser, cigarette burns, and other recognizable indoor weapons like belts, shoes, or any other available objects that can be used to cause pain on the victim.
PHYSIOLOGICAL SIGNS: Being able to identify that a person is a victim of some form of abuse can be quite tricky especially when there are physical signs to back it up. But there are other signs that can be used to determine if someone is an abuser of a victim. In the case of the abuser, they are normally overly controlling and can be quite intimidating especially to the victim. An example will be a woman not allowed to talk when asked a direct question in the midst of other people, (like at a party). The victim of domestic violence may constantly appear very fearful, quite and distant towards outside sources in fear that someone might find out which can in turn cause more trouble for them. Some signs that a victim might show are:
Alcohol and drug abuse( this will be a form of numbing away the emotional and physical pain the victim endures)
Apart from the above physical and physiological signs that a person is experiencing violence, there are other ways to detect as well. These victims tend to develop a lot of unexplained medical issues that sends them to the hospital quite often. They often complain about various medical issues that can really be justified by the doctors. These can be seen as an avenue to cry out in order to receive both physical and psychological help. Examples of these medical issues are:
Neck and body pain
Vaginal pain (in female victims)
It is very important and crucial f=to watch out for these signs because a person`s life can be saved just by being attentive and vigilant.
Now this lead us to the next big question, what cause domestic violence? There have been many different theories, ideas and even research that are based on finding out exactly what cause’s domestic violence. And up to date, there are many different reasons that can be said are the causes. Domestic violence can start gradually or it can be sudden. When a person feels the need to control another person especially in a partnership relationship, this can lead to domestic violence. Some of these abusers are individuals dealing with low self-esteem, anger issues, emotional issues, jealousy, and inferiority complex. In cases where the man abuses the woman, some of these men feel and believe that they have the right to control their women based on their traditional believes that men are the leader and controller of the home. Another cause that has been verified by studies conducted is the act of violent behaviors witness by the abusers. Basically what this means is that many of these abusers learn their violent behaviors from their family members, or they were victims themselves. A lot of children who witness this horrendous act sometimes learn to adapt and believe that violence is the only way to solve or resolve any problems or issues they might encounter in life. For example, young boys who see their father disrespect their mom are more likely going to grow up thinking that’s the way women are suppose to be treated. And this goes both ways as well, some of the young girls who experience and witness violence abuse on their mother most likely end up becoming victims as well when they get older. Apart from learned behaviors and personal experiences, other causes can be linked to domestic violent. The use of drugs and alcohol can lead to domestic violence as well. Many people lose their ability to control their action after getting high or intoxicated and this can lead to physical abuse on their partners or children.
How do we prevent this ongoing widely spared issue in our society? Prevention of domestic violence must be reached before the abuse have taken place rather than after because then it becomes more effective. Examples of the different ways to prevent domestic violence are:
Get the police involved if you suspect or have evidence of domestic violence
Become a spokesperson against this violent act
Be supportive of anyone you might suspect is in a violent relationship
Be a volunteer at local shelters for domestic violent victims
Promote domestic violence awareness
Educate people especially young children about how violence is never acceptable in any situation
These are just few of the many ways that domestic violence can be prevented and abusers can get the proper and immediate help that they require.
Domestic violence is a major issue in our society that studies has shown that it leaves a long lasting effect on its victims. Domestic violence cause a lot of emotional, and mental health issues in the lives of its victims that it can take years of therapy and counseling session before a person is back to their normal self. Some victims find it very hard to recover from the abuse and this affects them in all aspect of their lives. They lose their jobs, can’t function properly which in turn leads to poverty and eventually homelessness. In young children that witness domestic violence, most of the boys grows up to be abusers themselves and the girls might end up being victims of domestic violence.
Domestic violence as discussed earlier is an issue that has taken a high note in the society and all measure are being taken to ensure that the victims of these abuses receive the help they need. According to the National Network to End Domestic Violence, great publication has been given to this issue especially against women. It has even gone to the extent of reaching out to domestic abuse victims outside the United States. Last month, NNEDV applauded Attorney General Eric Holder for creating the Violence against Women Federal and Tribal Prosecution Task Force. This task force will work hand in hand with federal prosecutors in prosecuting abusers of victims in Indian country. This great awareness not only shows the importance of tackling the issue of domestic violence, it also shows that the higher ups are beginning to see that without proper intervention, there might be damages that can’t be fixed.
Domestic violence is an ongoing issue that continues to brew every single day. Many victims are being neglected or are not receiving adequate help due some neglect from the society and the authorities. Many uncountable deaths are the results of domestic violence cases that were left untouched or noticed and the number keeps growing every day. With much awareness and exposure, the death rates from this abuse can possibly be reduced in significant amount. Domestic violence is not biased. It has no age or stamp requirement. It can happen to just about anyone. Studies have shown that majority of the victims of a domestic violence are females and the rest are males and children. Either men children or women, this is an issue that shouldn’t be ignored at all. Perpetrators should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. Victims should be given proper help to help recover and move on with their lives.
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