Domestic abuse refers to a series of behavior that involves the willful use of violence and ill-treatment by one person against another in a domestic setting such as family and marriage as a show of power and control. It involves acts of violence and negative behavior like threats, sexual and physical assault, battery, mental abuse, intimidation, and isolation to control the other person. Not necessarily being entirely physical can also take psychological bearing through repeated degradation and manipulation of the individual to the extreme levels of self-detriment. The devastating emotional, physical and psychological effects of domestic violence can cut across generations and a victims lifetime, whether inflicted directly or indirectly
Victims of domestic abuse especially women suffer adverse bodily and mental problems as a result of domestic abuse. Battering is the primary causes of injury in any case of domestic violence the injuries being immediate effects of the abuse. The consequences of an intimate spouses action may have lingering implications for the abused mentally (Larsen, 2016). The emotional and psychological agony that is inflicted by battering tends to be more costly to treat in the short term than bodily injuries. Most of these physical injuries sustained often appear to cause medical difficulties as the victim grows older especially in women. Arthritis and hypertension have been identified by victims of domestic violence as directly caused by acts of domestic abuse experienced earlier in their adult lives.
The victims of close and intimate partner violence experience raised levels of stress which can aggravate any chronic health conditions they may already have. In case they separate from their abusive partner, they remain at a high risk for mental health issues like depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. These victims also face a greater risk of self-medication with drugs and might escalate to more difficult long-term issues. Men who have been subjected to abuse have reported higher intoxication rates. On the other hand, both men and women who witness this kind of violence report also higher drug use. Domestic violence where the man is the victim also has advanced drug use and intoxication.
Another long term effect is that traits such as coercion, verbal and physical abuse are most often used by those who witnessed violence in their homes. The rate of wife abuse and extreme violence, kicking, punching, assault with objects is significantly higher for the men who witnessed violence by their parents most particularly if the mother was abusive. Because of abuse, many women are often forced to flee their homes most of the time with nowhere to go. If this happens when the woman is still married to the abusive partner homelessness makes it possible to live normally and maintain employment. In the long run, this can lead to prostitution.
The coercive and controlling behavior that characterizes domestic violence has a significant impact on how the victim of abuse will be inclined to function socially, during and even after the abusive relationship. If the individual is financially dependent on his or her abusive partner, any thought of leaving the relationship is accompanied by the fear of being broke and homeless.
Poverty and homelessness are connected to the offensive act of isolating a close partner from friends, family, colleagues and any other place they can look for social support. In ordinary cases, one with strong connections will look to peers or relatives for assistance. However, this can be impossible in the event of isolation since these connections fade and in the end, people who experience domestic violence tend to feel that they are alone in their struggles. Abusers tend to cut off their victims support networks so that it becomes tough to leave the abusive relationship. In other instances, the victims friends and family are turned against him or her on purpose.
Domestic abuse causes injuries and mental issues that can cause the sufferer to take time off work, and this can end up in them losing their jobs as a direct result of abuse. Because of the injuries and or mental health issues that domestic abuse causes, many victims take time off work leading to loss of employment. Victims who end up depressed find it difficult to go out or socialize, keep a job which always worsens the domestic abuse cycle. If the victim has suffered from the extreme long-term abuse, they are likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and will suffer from insomnia, nightmares, flashback, unpleasant memories, anxiety and clinical depression, eating disorders and sexual dysfunction. Even if a survivor makes it successfully out of an abusive relationship, the scars of the relationship influence in a great way future intimacy.
Children who witnessed parental violence are found to experience physical and health problems, drug abuse, marital conflict, violence and even other crimes outside the family setting. This is a long-term effect on a child who witnesses domestic violence. These kids are also associated with periods of depression and increased stress.
When a mother undergoes abuse, the children may feel the guilt of not being able to protect their mother and may be neglected as the mother deals with associated trauma. This short-term effect hits the family immediately after an episode of domestic abuse (Holt, Buckley, & Whelan, 2008). Since children are emotionally connected to the parents, they also get hurt when their parents are assaulted. Sometimes they can be forced with dealing with stress, fear, and uncertainty at an early age. They grow up thinking it is okay to hurt people and be hurt in return, perpetuating the domestic abuse cycle.
Children who witness domestic abuse tend to exhibit emotional problems, crying excessively and be withdrawn and shy. The children grow up not trusting adults and with difficulty in making friends and are not able to concentrate fully on schoolwork because of excessive absenteeism (Larsen, 2016). With no one to turn to for moral guidance in how to deal with altercations, the children might resort to violence at home and school as a tool to solve problems. This puts the children at a greater risk of thinking about or running away from home, developing suicidal tendencies or committing a crime acts. It can be as juvenile or later in life as adults.
In cases where the abuse has accelerated, and there is no one to provide for the children actively, they get impoverished as they grow. Boys who grow up seeing their father battering their mothers, they are more likely to inflict violence on others as adults. Girls, on the other hand, grow up able to tolerate the abuse and not speak about it compared to girls who did not witness violence growing up.
Holt, S., Buckley, H., & Whelan, S. (2008). The impact of exposure to domestic violence on children and young people: A review of the literature. Child Abuse & Neglect, 32(8), 797-810.
Larsen, M. M. (2016). Health Inequities Related to Intimate Partner Violence Against Women. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-29565-7
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