Domestic violence is phenomenal societal problems that are plaguing human society at the present times which victims are mostly women and children. They are usually victims of physical or sexual assault. Because women are prone to be victims of domestic violence, Feminist expressed concern about the widespread problem plaguing the present generation and struggle towards getting protection for women from the court.
Although, most of the offenses were hidden under family affairs, Carol Bolimer, Jennyfer Brandth, Denise Bronson, and Helen Hartnett, in their article, Domestic Violence Law Reforms: Reaction from the Trenches, say that, Feminists are gaining success in their efforts, as criminal justice personnel are now getting more objective investigative in handling domestic violence cases.
But despite of this hundreds of thousands of American women and children suffer domestic violence each year, studies have shown that sixty percent up to seventy-five percent of families fall victims to domestic violence every year; and this problem has already taken thousands of women’s lives.
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What is domestic violence? How can one determine that he or she is standing on that very dangerous ground? And what are the solutions to the problem, are some of the contents that this paper attempts to present.
Definitions of Domestic Violence
Domestic violence is defined as a continuum of behavior ranging from verbal abuse, physical and sexual assault, to rape and even homicide. Most of the cases of domestic violence are perpetuated by “men against women and their children” In C.J. Newton’s article, domestic violence “an overview,” he presented a United States Department of Justice report published in May 2000 through the National Crime Victimization Survey and the FBI data, defining domestic violence as “violent crimes by current or former spouses, boyfriend and girlfriend.
In their definition of violent, it includes lethal (homicide) and non lethal which they enumerated as rape, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, and simple assault. The report mentions more than one million crimes committed against persons by the current or former spouses.
Deborah Lockton, LLB, MPhil and Professor Richard Ward LLB, identified domestic violence as an act of physical and mental cruelty progressing from a slap or shore, to punch or kick, and to the more extreme manifestation of violence, in suffocation, strangulation, attempted murder and murder.”
Causes of Domestic Violence
Different group of people explained the causes of domestic violence, however, as one analyze the causes of the problem, they are similar in terms of gender roles which is fact has something to do with the cultural and historical origin of family. It is also noted that, changes in terms of roles contributed a lot in the existence of this particular problem.
According to feminism, one of the causes of domestic violence is the legal system which in their view is patriarchal on several levels. They argue that the law is “sexist in that it generally treats men better than women.” They emphasized that the criminal justice personnel prior to their effort to gain equal rights with men, treats domestic violence as a family matter and out of the reach of the legal system.
They also reveal that police would simply “take perpetrator for a walk to discuss keeping the little woman in line” and then return her home without further action.” Kristin L. Anderson says Feminist emphasized that domestic violence is “rooted in gender and power and represents men’s active attempts to maintain dominance and control” (Anderson, 1997). Feminist sociologist maintains that the main cause of domestic violence is the issue of gender and power.
Anderson pointed out that Feminist contend that this is a system of which men “maintain societal dominance over women.” Lockton and Ward say, domestic violence continues for years, before the victims take action which sometimes results to the death of either the victim or the perpetrator. But sociologist finds other causes of domestic violence. They suggested that cohabiting status, unemployment and socio-economic status rank as one of the causes of domestic violence (UNICEF).
They agreed that main causes of domestic violence pertain to unequal power relations. Family institution, where traditional control lies with husband as the head of the family, is seen as breeding ground for domestic violence too. Beliefs in male traditional superiority and other sanctions that do not recognize women’s and children’s legal rights in the society are also seen as causes of domestic violence plaguing human society worldwide. Nowadays, domestic violence includes physical aggression in which the perpetrator controls the victim by using fear and force. It occurs usually in traditional marriages or same-sex relationship especially when relationship is in the verge of collapse.
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