This is one of the rarely discussed issues which happen in many homes. It happens when one person in a marriage causes fear, guilt or shame to the other person in order to intimidate and control him or her. One may think of physical abuse as the only type of domestic violence. However, domestic violence also includes emotional and psychological abuse. Sexual violence is also a form of domestic violence which happens when one partner forces the other to participate in a degrading sexual activity.
Domestic violence occurs without discrimination. It can occur across all ages, races and ethnic groups. Although women are mostly the victims in domestic violence, men are sometimes also the victims. In most cases, when men are the victims, it is swept under the carpet as it is a taboo for men to be abused by women in many cultures. It is however unacceptable regardless of whom the victim is.
Domestic violence starts from threats to verbal abuses and with time develops to physical abuse. It affects your self-worth and makes you feel helpless and hopeless. Emotional abuse can cause anxiety and lead to depression. You should accept that you are in an abusive relationship before you can seek for help.
To be able to tell if you are in an abusive relationship, ask yourself if you are afraid of him or her when you are together, or you feel that you are always wrong in whatever you are doing for him or her. You should also ask yourself if you feel helpless whenever he or she is around. Additionally, you should ask yourself if your partner humiliates you or tries to belittle you and your opinions all the time or sees you as part of his or her property rather than a human being.
How it impacts your child
Domestic violence has many negative impacts on your child. The life threatening events can cause traumatic stress to your child. This destroys the child’s sense of security and safety. Exposure to traumatic events can make your child suffer from lack of sleep and nightmares. Domestic violence can drive your child into substance abuse.
Studies show that children who are exposed to domestic violence may suffer from juvenile delinquency and are more likely to drop out of school. They are also likely to have problems in their relationships in their future lives.
Small children from homes where domestic violence happens also have a tendency of self-blame, guilt, and are always worried. They have a low esteem and always think that they must have done something wrong. They may also have concentration and sleep problems.
Domestic violence is something that is unacceptable and should be stopped through all means as its impacts are reflected in the whole society. Since family is the basic unit of the society, a society where domestic violence is a norm is a violent society.
Joseph .S .Volpe, 1996, effects of Domestic violence on children and adolescents: an overview, available online At: http://www.aaets.org/arts/art8.htm
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