Domestic violence is an aggressive and violent behaviour within the four walls of house, typically involving spouse or partner. Though traditionally it has been assumed that it is occurs only against women and prevails amongst the lower class of society, this is not true. On the contrary, both male and female are subjected to domestic violence and it occurs across all strata of society.
Few facts and figures –
- 1 in every 3 women faces violence in her lifetime and the abuser is generally a family member.
- Domestic violence is a leading cause of injury to women, more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined.
- Around 10 million children fall prey to domestic violence annually.
- About 92% of women surveyed, mentioned reducing domestic violence and sexual assault as their top concern.
- Based on reports from 10 countries, 55-95% of women who had been physically abused by their partners had never approached a NGO, police or shelter for help
- More than 40% of victims of domestic violence are males.
Domestic violence can be of various types like
- Physical- Pushing, pinching or pulling hair and slapping using a weapon, etc.
- Sexual- It includes rape or forcing the victim into unwanted intercourse, forcing the victim to have an abortion, engaging in extramarital or other sexual relationships, practising unnatural sex.
- Emotional/Psychological – Using derogatory language, insulting, criticising, screaming, humiliating or blaming the victim.
- Threats/Intimidation – Destroying victim’s personal property; forcing the victim to engage in illegal activities; intimidating the victim physically or threatening acts of homicide or suicide.
Various factors contribute to domestic violence. Factors found to be associated with intimate partner and sexual violence occurs within individuals, families and communities and wider society.
- Exposure to abuse/violence during childhood.
- Lower education level and low moral values.
- Personality disorder or mental illness, depression.
- Use of alcohol or drugs.
- Low self-esteem, achievement or income or unemployment.
- Emotional dependence and insecurity.
- Desire for power and control in relationships.
- Relationship factors such as martial conflicts, tensions, instability or divorce, economic stress and unhealthy family relation.
- Societal factors like – traditional gender norms, belief that only women are abused and declining help to male victims
- Sexual violence can be a result of belief in family honour, sexual purity, ideologies of male sexual entitlement and inequality between genders.
Domestic violence takes tolls on health of victim, has adverse effect on children and causes tremendous economic and social loss. Government across the world are taking steps to prevent and end domestic abuse. Various Laws and Acts are passed, shelters for battered are set up, and toll free help lines are started, provision for women employment etc, however, these can be effective only if the victim seeks help and takes firm decision against the abuser.