Domestic violence can be defined as the emotional, physical, economic, psychological or sexual abuse among people who have close relationship. It occurs when a family member, partner or ex-partner attempts to physically, economically or psychologically over-controls the other. It affects spouses, children and other people living together in a family circle.
It can be meted by husband to wife and vice- versa, parent to child and vice versa. It also emanate from people living together either from the extended family or even if they are not related. The violent activities include intimidation, harassment, and damage to property, threats, verbal insults and financial abuse.
The United Nation framework for model legislation on domestic violence states, ‘all acts of gender-based physical and Psychological abuse by a family member against a member in the family, ranging from simple assault to aggravated physical battery, kidnapping, threats, intimidation, coercion, stalking, humiliating verbal use, forcible on unlawful entry, arson, destruction of property, sexual violence, marital rape, dowry or related violence, female genital mutilation, violence, related to exploitation through prostitution, violence against household workers and attempts to commit such acts shall be termed ”Domestic Violence.
” However, this definition does not give the complete meaning of what domestic violence really is. This is because the extents of activities which can be called abuse differ from one culture to another and from one country to another. For example in most of the African cultures, men dominate women and even to more extent of husbands physically battering their wives in the name of disciplining them and yet it is not considered an abuse. Parents give corporal punishment to their children and the older siblings whip their young siblings. On the centrally, the westerns do not condone any of the above cited activities.
The law provides that the perpetrators of such activities should be prosecuted. Therefore it is difficult to define precisely what domestic violence entails. Nonetheless we all agree that it happens and it is really and affects all races of the world. ‘Domestic conflict is the largest single cause of violence in America’ according to FBI. The U. S. Dept. of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics, ‘Violence against Women’ Survey Report January 1994 fund that nearly 2 in 3 female victims of violence were related to or knew their attacker.
This shows that domestic violence is very rampart and this is not only in America but in every society since there are those ‘grey elements of domestic violence’ which go unreported. The American National Domestic Violence Hotline has received more than 700,000 calls for assistance between February 1996 and December 2001 according to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, December 2001. This probably shows the intensity of this problem. Even though the statistics collected between the year 1976-2004 indicate that the trend of domestic violence in America is on the decline, the figures are still high.
Therefore it does not matter who it happens to or who metes it to another, but it is such a ghost that needs to be fought against by all people. Before one seeks to fight domestic violence he ought to have a thorough understanding of its root cause and the victims. The data below by FBI, Supplementary Homicide Reports, covering the period between 1976-2004 show the number of males and females killed at home in America. The figures show that at least 64,329 people were killed between this period, 23506 of them being male and 40823 female. An indication that probably women are more prone to acts of domestic violence than men.