Domestic violence is sometimes referred to as intimate violence. It is a physical and an emotional harmful act between husband and wife or between other individuals in intimate relationship with an intention to cause harm, by having control over the household. This includes any behaviour that, frightens, intimidates, terrorises, manipulates, hurts, humiliates, blames, injures or wound someone.
Domestic violence can happen to anyone regardless of race, age, sexual orientation, religion, education and culture (Office for victims of crime, Domestic Violence Victimization, 2002). It can happen to couples, who are married, living together or who are dating. Domestic violence affects people of all socioeconomic background and education levels. The violence could be emotional, physical or sexual.
Domestic violence is common all around the world, though it is not distributed evenly across the world, in accord with population or social background. Awareness perception and documentation of domestic violence differ from country to country and from era to era. Estimates show that only about a third of cases of domestic violence are actually reported.
The people affected by domestic violence.
Like we stated Domestic violence can happen to anyone regardless of race, age, sexual orientation, religion and culture. Outline below a people who fall victim to Domestic violence;
• Women are more affected when there is violence. In 48 countries, based on surveys from around the world, 10% – 69% of reported cases of physical assault are by an intimate male partner (WHO: 2002), though women have been subjected to violence against men argumentatively in self defence. An analysis of ten separate domestic prevalence studies by the Council of Europe Consistent Findings; 1 in 4 women experience domestic violence over their lifetimes, and between 6 – 10% of women in USA suffer domestic violence in a given year. (Council of Europe, 2002).
• A 2006 study shows that women in the United States commit domestic violence against men. 33% more often than men do against women and women commit severe domestic violence twice as often as men. (R. Lauer, p.452)
• Children are also abused and neglected by their parents and other caretaker everywhere in the world. Estimated 57,000 children were killed in 2000 (WHO: 2002). Children in single parent home face a high risk to these varieties of violence. In a study of juniors and seniors in a mid-western high school, Roscoe & Callahan (1985), reported that 43% of the adolescent said they had experience some kind of physical violence in their homes. Studies show that child abuse occurs in 30-60% of family violence cases that involves families with children. (J.L. Edleson, Violence against Women, February, 1999).
• Elderly people also share the same form of abuse like that of the children.
The views about domestic violence in regard to psychological, social, culture, religion and economics.
• Psychological – In a violent environment, a child who grows up in a violent home accepts it as normal by imprinting to his/her mind and may develop the idea that is what makes him a man. A child’s exposure to the father abusing the mother is the strongest risk factor for transmitting violent behaviour from one generation to the next. (American Psychological Association, 1996).
• Economic view- violence in homes restricts girls’ education opportunities and limitation of women in workforce, and hours lost due to injury caused by domestic violence. This activities cost the nation on health services, law & order, prison, probation and welfare.
• Religion – The Islam Sharia Law, does allow husbands to beat their wives though to a certain extent that it does not cause her physical harm and that, if caused may determine the husband to face charges accordingly (Qur’an). Though Muslim countries in the Middle East has the religious law that protects women, the Human Rights Watch found that up to 90% of women in Pakistan were subject to verbal, sexual, emotional or physical abuse within their homes and 80% of women surveyed in rural Egypt said that beating were common particular if the women refuse to have sex with the husband. Up to two-thirds of women in certain communities in Nigeria’s Lagos State, say that they are victims of domestic violence and also one study found out that half of Palestinian women have been the victims of domestic violence.
• Culture – Different societies have different moral beliefs and that their belief is deeply influenced by their culture (Cultural Relativism). Example; Legal Aid Clinic of the international Federation of Women lawyers in Ghana revealed that wife beating to some extent is an acceptable norm of the society. Ghanaian women take beating from their husband as a form of discipline rather than domestic violence or wife battering.
• Social and economic indicators show that the rate of violence is higher among African American than white families. Hampton & Gelles (1994) Found that African American wives were 1.2 times more likely to experience minor violence and 2.4 times more likely to experience severe violence than were white wives. Domestic violence is often found in families experiencing unemployment, financial hardship or similar difficulties. Likewise, in the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, the United Nations and its member countries stated that domestic violence as one of the crucial social ways by which women are forced into lesser positions compared with men.
Domestic violence is basically a personal violence committed by one member or formal member of a house-hold against another. Domestic violence is common worldwide though it is not distributed evenly across the world in accord with population or social background. Different countries views on domestic violence depend on their rationality, social, culture, religion and economics.