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Domestic Violence

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Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is a problem which continues to plague the nation, but through stricter law enforcement, improved hospital reporting technique, nationwide education and counseling, this problem can be reduced. Domestic violence has many names; family violence, battering, wife beating, and domestic abuse. All these terms refer to the same thing, abuse by a marital, common law, or a dating partner in an intimate relationship. Domestic violence is not limited to physical beating. It is any behavior that is intended to overpower and control another human being through the use of humiliation, fear, and physical or verbal assault. Domestic violence is a very important issue in today’s society because it has such a profound negative affect on the abused, mentally and physically. Verbal abuse can be just as damaging as physical abuse. Verbal abuse is words that attack or injure, that cause one to believe the false, or that speak falsely of one. Verbal abuse constitutes psychological violence (Evans, 81). There are more things that need to be done to help the abused and prevent it from happening further.

Even though domestic violence can be caused by either the male or female, the highest percent of domestic violence is caused by the male. It is hard to know exactly how common domestic violence is because people often don’t report it. But, according to a “National Violence Against Women Survey,” 22 percent of women are physically assaulted. Nearly 5.3 million partner victimizations occur each year among U.S. women ages 18 and older, resulting in two millions injuries (Infoplease 2). Thirty вЂ" three percent of women are victims of homicide (but

just 4 percent of men) are killed by spouse or often, ex spouses. Nationwide, the death toll from family violence is about 1,247 women each year (Macionis, 359).

Domestic violence has no typical victims. Domestic violence happens among people of all affects those of all levels of income and education. Women are most at risk in the safety of their own home than from violence on the streets. Some people believe that domestic violence (abuse) is a private matter to be dealt with by the family. But domestic violence is a crime and families have the right to be protected against it. Hiding it behind closed doors allows the abuse to continue, inflicting physical and emotional damage on family members. If nothing is done about it, the abuse usually gets worse, sometimes resulting in serious injury or death. Even if only one person is the target of the abuse, it still affects others in the family. Domestic violence hurts the whole family. Three to ten million children witness domestic violence each year in the United States. The greatest risk for children who live in violent homes is that they will be physically abused also (Sadler, A.E. 73). In thirty to sixty percent of families experiencing intimate partner violence, children are abused. Children who are exposed to violence are more likely to become both perpetrators and victims of domestic violence. Children often show symptoms associated with posttraumatic stress disorder and they are more likely to have cognitive and behavioral problems including depression, anxiety, suicide attempts and violence towards peers. Children are more likely to attempt suicide, abuse drugs and alcohol, run away from home, engage in teenage prostitution and commit sexual assault. Fortunately, children can often overcome the harm caused by witnessing abuse with interventions and the appropriate mental health services. However, without these interventions, the impact of childhood exposure to violence often lasts a lifetime. Adults who experienced adverse childhood experiences, including domestic violence,

are more likely than other adults to smoke, abuse drugs or alcohol, and suffer from depression and obesity. They are also at significantly higher risk for health problems associated with poor health behaviors, including cardiopulmonary disease, heart disease, diabetes and suicide attempts (Medline 1).

The first thing a person involved in a domestic violence relationship needs to do is seek help. Seeking help can be a difficult step to take, but it’s the first step towards a more peaceful family life. Deciding whether to involve the police or seek protection from the court can be difficult. The legal system may be intimidating, confusing and cannot guarantee your safety. You may even encounter risks such as; not being believed; not having the seriousness of the violence understood; your partner attempting to get even with you; or not getting what you need because you don’t know your rights. Still, the legal system has much to offer in providing protection. Knowing your rights and what’s available to you is an important part of planning for your safety. If you call the police, they must come to investigate. If the police find that your partner committed a felony against you or another family member, they must make an arrest. Felonies are the most serious of crimes, which could be a broken bone, or an injury from a weapon. If the police witness a violation being committed, they could make an arrest, but they are not required to. If you aren’t satisfied with the way the police are handling the situation, politely ask to talk to a supervisor. If talking with the supervisor doesn’t help, call a domestic violence program and ask them for help with dealing with the police (Matthews, 447-450).

Domestic violence is a major cause of physical and mental problems in women and children. These problems are likely to bring abused women and children to the attention of health care professionals. Health care providers therefore can play a vital role in detecting family violence

and preventing further damage. Doctors and other health care workers should screen their patients routinely for domestic violence, just as they now screen for conditions such as diabetes, cancer, and HIV/AIDS. In fifteen states, this kind of screening has been successfully used to identify and help victims of domestic violence. By not screening for domestic violence and inquiring about abuse, health care providers often fail to recognize or address the underlying cause of battered women’s health problems. Even when domestic violence results in injuries that were clearly inflicted by another person, health care providers too often treat and record injuries without inquiring about the cause. (Matthews, 311-314)

For almost a decade now, a host of national health care organizations



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