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It is widely understood that most estimates of the commonness of domestic violence are understated. The pressures of negative society attitudes toward victims, feelings of shame, and fear of retribution from the person responsible for add to low levels of disclosure of domestic violence. Statistics from public agencies such as police, courts, and counseling and accommodation services are another source of information. However, these can only provide information about people who come to public attention; many victims never contact such agencies.

Some agencies do not collect statistics on domestic violence, and those that do define and record domestic violence in different ways. The Women’s Safety Survey in 1996 surveyed approximately 6,300 women about their experience of actual or threatened physical and sexual violence. Based on the survey results (Pence, 2003), they estimated these results. Of women who had been physically assaulted in the 12-month period, 58% spoke to a friend or neighbor, 53% spoke to a family member, 12% spoke to a counselor, and 4. 5% spoke to a crisis service organization.

Only 19% reported the incident to police, and women who experienced violence by a current partner were least likely to have reported the assault, while women who were assaulted by a stranger were more likely to report to police. 18% had never told anyone about the incident. Even when they do not observe the violence, children are usually aware that it is occurring. They are alert to the obvious tension, fear and distress in their parents. Their home, instead of being a place of security, is characterized by cruelty and fear. The longer the situation goes on the harder it is to undo its damaging effects on children’s development.

Witnessing family violence is much more than physically observing the violence. (Pence, 2003) All of these behaviors can lead to developmental problems in children that can happen at any age. Violence soon becomes a learned behavior and can be reproduced in other aspects of their life, such as school, dating, and other interpersonal relationships. These changes can be life-long and affect many other people than just the abused person. Both child abuse and violence against women are extremely damaging to the institution of marriage and family.

It can tear family apart, beyond any repair, and destroy the lives of all who are involved. Discussion Domestic abusers have a very unpredictable behavior. This makes abuse situations even worse because of this. According to Hughes, “The abuser acts unpredictably, capriciously, inconsistently and irrationally… He perpetuates his stable presence in their lives – by destabilizing their own. ”(Hughes, 2000) Ways to avoid these unpredictable behaviors is to one, refuse to accept these types of behaviors, and also insist respect for your boundaries, needs, and personal belongings .

If you do not know the abuser that well, then be precautious on what information you give the abuser. The more the abuser knows about you the easier it is for them to find out personal things about you. As far as where you live, where you work, where your children go to school, and where you like to go to eat. If the abuser finds out this information about you, then hiding from the abuser can be difficult. The issue of threat is involved also. Sometimes domestic abuse goes on inside the home for a long time before the first call is made for help.

The abuser sometimes says to the victim, “if you ever call the cops on me, I will kill you. ” This makes the fear of the abuser even higher. They are scared of the abuser and also scared of seeking help. If an abuser makes this comment to you, then report to the police immediately and tell the officer exactly what the abuser said. The officer will then locate you and your family to a safe environment where the abuser will have no knowledge of where you are. The issue also comes up that it is not only women and children who are getting abused.

According to RADAR, the authors of the journal article, Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Abuse Reporting, “Domestic violence is a problem that affects both men and women. But our nation’s laws are based on a false assumption – that only women are victims of abuse. As a result, male victims are often refused service, and men’s civil rights are violated. ” (Wolfe et al. 2002) When police get the call for domestic assault, they already have the assumption that the woman is getting the abuse. That is not always the case though; men too get abused inside their homes.

This can be difficult for police to arrest the women abusers because they say to the police that they were defending themselves. Even though they were the ones beating on the men. The men usually have no say in the domestic abuse calls, unless there is significant damage done to the male. This can be discouraging for males, because they have no say in what actually happened. Unfortunately, domestic abuse is something that will probably go on for a long time to come. People just need to be aware of the signs of a potential abuser. Such as, emotional, behavioral, and physical signs.

Abusers tend to not be very irresponsible and do not have the ability to maintain a steady job. Physically abusers tend to be exhausted, physically sick, and have a high use of prescription medicine. Emotionally abusers tend to be anxious, restless, and irritable. (O’Leary, 2002) Being aware of these sign can maybe save your life. Also do not give too much information out to a new person. Get to know them first and then let them know of your interests. Domestic violence is a frightening situation. No one deserves to be treated in such a way. People need to start sticking up for themselves and get help at the first sign of abuse.

One possible solution to reducing domestic violence is to implement educational, community based programs created to reduce violence within the home. These programs will keep families posted and aware of particular items such as signs of potential domestic violence, victim hotlines, locations of domestic violence shelters/therapy, and procedures to go about reporting domestic violence. In addition, the community based programs would emphasize the fact that domestic violence is not something witnesses should ignore and view as a private matter within that abused home, but a matter in which should be acted upon.

Along with providing information and education of domestic violence in the community there is the possibility of instilling fear within a domestic violence perpetrator. This fear would make the potential perpetrator feel they are in the spotlight because they know that the community’s eyes are watching. Another possible solution for reducing domestic violence would be to use more censorship on television. Statistics show that children exposed to large amounts of violence, whether fiction or reality, they themselves grow up to be an adult who displays domestic violence characteristics or even commits domestic violence.

By removing television shows from time slots that are at high risk of children watching and by censoring out depictions of violence, there will be far less exposure to such acts. This solution does not just reach children but adults as well. Even keeping adults from watching domestic violence on television could potentially reduce the domestic violence adults commit. Parents do not understand that even though the child is not getting abused, just by them viewing these acts of violence can make them prone to violence. Or for them to become too scared to even go outside the house.

Children are helpless when it comes to domestic abuse, as they have not enough power to defend those selves and are often too scared to approach anyone for help. According to the National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse (NCPCA), the authors of the journal article, Domestic Violence and Child Abuse, “Child abuse has become a national epidemic. More than one million children are confirmed each year as victims of child abuse and neglect, and every day a minimum of three children dies a result. ” (Gelles, 2000) Children do not need this type of attention. They need loved, not beaten. What can a child do, to deserve abuse?

They do nothing to deserve it. Children can be emotionally affected by domestic violence. O’Leary states, “Domestic violence frequently includes child abuse. Children may be persecuted and endangered as a way of punishing and controlling the grown-up victim of domestic violence. Or they may be wounded accidentally when acts of violence take place in their presence. Often episodes of domestic violence expand to include attacks on children. ”( O’Leary, 1989) Domestic violence occurs in all segments of our society regardless of religion, race, class, sexual orientation, or educational level.

The exact numbers of reported domestic violence cases varies greatly, the statistics range from 188, 000 to a whopping 60 million reports of abused women per year. These estimates are based on what the National Coalition against Domestic Violence “hears” from various shelter programs . The higher estimates are adjusted for under reporting. More focus is put on women as victims of abuse because they are affected the most (Pence, 2003). The difference in numbers is determined by the definition used by whoever is collecting the data. The definition of abuse varies between agencies and groups.

Some define domestic violence as one person in an intimate relationship who uses sexual, physical, and emotional abuse to gain power and maintain control over the person (Wolfe et al. 2002). Other people include the raising of your voice in an argument, one person being in control over making important decisions in the relationship, and throwing objects (not distinguishing between a hammer and a pillow) as well as battering in the definition of domestic violence. Why do women stay in this assault domestic relationships? Most abusive relationships begin like any other relationship- with love.

Many batterers are often very charming and popular men who keep their terrorizing, controlling behaviors within the family behind closed doors. Battered women are in committed relationships and have often times built their lives around the relationship . They hope for change. Their abuser will acknowledge the error of his ways; he’ll break down, cry out the despair, and concede the need for dramatic change by promising never to abuse again; hope is often born anew for the victimized woman. It is difficult for a woman to leave an abusive relationship for many reasons.

Men who abuse are often highly possessive and excessively jealous, they isolate their significant others to maintain the power and control of their violence. Many battered women lose their support systems as a result of the isolation. Many women stay in the relationship because of economics. It is not unusual for the batterer to control the money in the household, thus making saving money for the basic survival needs associated with leaving the relationship very difficult. Batterers put up many barricades when the victim does decide to leave the relationship.

If they have children the oppressor may be intimidated to seek custody of their children; to withhold support monies; to interfere with her employment; to try to turn the children and family members against her; to threaten to kill her or other family members; or to threaten to commit suicide if she leaves . Children who live in a home where there is domestic violence are impacted in a variety of ways. Some may not see the abuse happen, but all children living in a domestic abuse environment can feel the tension in the home (Wolfe et al.

2002). Each child may react and display the effects of domestic abuse differently. Some may be disruptive and exhibit poor school performance, become aggressive, show anxiety, or may become withdrawn . Other children may take on the parental roles of taking care of siblings, protecting them and being authoritative. Overall, children who grow up witnessing domestic violence display significantly more behavioral problems and less social competence than children from non-violent homes. Conclusion

Domestic violence, as defined by the Office of Victims of Crimes (O. V. C. ) is the psychological or emotional abuse of one current or former intimate or family member by another. (Hughes, 2000) Victims of domestic violence suffer from a multitude of physical and mental injuries that can range from broken bones and bruises, to low self esteem and even death. In 1998 alone more then one million people were victims of violent crimes committed by an intimate partner. On top of that in 1999, 32% of all female murder victims were killed by their intimate partner.

Despite these disturbing facts, domestic violence continues to be one of the most overlooked public health issues and epic social problems of our time. As serious and overwhelming the task of reducing the domestic violence may seem, it can be done. First we must increase the public’s awareness to catapult domestic violence firmly into the consciousness of the nation as a true social problem in need of action. Then we must stigmatize the act of domestic violence so negatively as to effectively increase the certainty and severity of punishment.

The way we will accomplish these two proposals will be with one solution, a public awareness and add campaign. The proof of the power of adds campaigns to mold public opinion are every where. The mere fact that advertisements surround us no matter where we are or what we are doing can be proof enough that advertisement works; after all do you think that any company would spend millions of dollars for a thirty second time slot during the super bowl if advertising didn’t work? References Pence E, Paymar M. Education Groups for Men Who Batter: The Duluth Model. New York, NY: Springer, 2003

Wolfe DA, Jaffe P, Wilson S, Zak L. Children of battered women: the relation of child behavior to family violence and maternal stress. J Consult Clin Psych. 2002; 53:657-665 Hughes HM. Psychological & behavioral correlates of family violence in child witnesses & victims. Am J Orthopsychiatry. 2000;18:77-90 O’Leary KD, Barling J, Arias I, Rosenbaum A, Malone J, Tyree A. Prevalence and stability of physical aggression between spouses: a longitudinal analysis. J Consult Clin Psychol. 2002;57:263-268 Gelles RJ, Straus MA. Intimate Violence. New York, NY: Simon ; Schuster; 2000

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