Domestic violence is a crime that is heard about almost everyday. People being stalked, harassed, or even killed by their significant others for reasons that remain unknown. Usually people only hear about the women, their children as well if they are involved, but men are victims of domestic violence as well. It is not okay no matter race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. People are still stuck in these abusive relationships until this day. Nowadays, it is getting worse. People are losing their lives to intimate partners who are supposed to love them. Domestic violence has a mental, physical, and emotional effect on the victims.
Domestic violence is defined as a pattern of behaviors used by one partner to maintain power and control over another partner in an intimate relationship. (Domestic Violence Hotline website) It has no name and it does not discriminate. It could be women, men, children, or even elderly of any race or sexuality. Domestic violence is not just between intimate partners. Children and elderly are victims of domestic violence as well. These behaviors include economic deprivation, threatening, any behaviors that would arouse fear or the feeling of being intimidated, sexual abuse, and physical abuse. These actions would have a life long lasting effect on its victims.
Domestic abuse could have a mental effect on a victim. It would cause them to question things that should never be questioned. It would cause them to not even be able to sleep at night because their minds always bring them back to the times of abuse. That is if they even got out of it alive or at all. Victims endure this feeling called Gaslighting. Gaslighting is when your emotions, words, and experiences are twisted and used against you, causing you to question your reality. (Urban Dictionary) It is as if the perpetrator is causing them to question whether or not the abuse is even happening or if it is just all in their heads. This feeling could make these victims feel as if they have to stay in this abusive relationship because they do not know whether or not the abuse is even real. It is like they have no way of proving that what happened to them actually happened. Domestic abuse can lead to mental illness for the victims. These include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, low self esteem, suicidal thoughts or attempts, and substance abuse.
Domestic abuse could also have a physical effect on the victim. Most times, domestic abuse is either physical or sexual. The effects of this include scars, bruises, broken bones, chronic fatigue, shortness of breath, muscle tension, involuntary shaking, changes in eating and sleeping patterns, sexual dysfunction, and menstrual and fertility issues with women. These effects last a lifetime. That is if the victims make it out alive. Some domestic violence victims lose their lives during these situations. They try and seek help, but they are overlooked unless they have physical evidence. They could walk in a police station with scars and bruises covering their bodies, but the minute they accuse their lovers it is as if they turn a blind eye to it. They only act as if they care when the victims go missing or their bodies are found. These innocent people are being failed daily as they continue to cry out for help and are being ignored.
Domestic violence has an emotional effect on victims. Abusers are placing fear in their victims. This includes yelling at them, threatening them, and harming them in order to make sure the victim knows that they are not in charge of anything. They act on these behaviors in hopes of gaining control over their victims, and they have. Victims who are survivors experience some emotional effects as a result of their abuse. These include feelings of unworthiness, hopelessness, discouragement about the future, inability to trust, unmotivated, and doubting their spiritual faith. The victims who survived these abusers are now unable to live their everyday lives. They walk the streets constantly looking over their shoulders as if their attacker is after them again. They can not sleep at night because of flashbacks of their abuse that plague their minds. They can no longer trust anyone out of the fear that they are going to hurt them just like their past abuser. They can no longer believe that everyone is not out to hurt them. These feelings follow them the rest of their lives.
Children are affected by these situations as well whether they witness the abuse or are the victims themselves. These children suffer mental, physical, and emotional trauma as a result of the abuse they endure as young children and as an adolescence. Their lives are forever plagued by the horror and trauma that they endured as they were growing up. They are supposed to be growing up in loving homes, but they are forced to either allow themselves to be beaten or watching it happen to a loved one. The worst cases are when children are forced to watch their father kill their mother. Back in December of 2019, my cousin murdered his girlfriend and then killed himself. He had two daughters, one with an ex wife and the second with the current girlfriend. As the girlfriend was correcting him, he got very angry and lashed out at her with a machete. He hacked her to death as both of his daughters were standing at the end of the staircase in horror. He then left home, and drove down the street where he killed himself in his car. The oldest girl was able to go back with her birth mother, but she could never be the same again after witnessing her father murder her step mother. The youngest daughter, however, was left without her mother and her father. One killed the other and then killed themselves. Now imagine how this girl’s life is going to go. A five-year-old having to live with the fact that she has no parents. She won’t be able to ever trust another person ever again, that’s if she doesn’t go into a huge state of depression.
A lot of these children are males. Studies show that, “Overall 68 percent of male felons have reported some form of victimization before the age of 12 either physical abuse, sexual abuse, or neglect.” These young boys suffer some form of abuse and then they grow up to commit crimes. Most sexual offenders were victims of sexual abuse as young children. In the movie “Mississippi Damned” 15-year-old teenager was raped and molested by a family friend who presented the abuse to him in the form of a trade. He would pay for the boy’s basketball fees if the boy agreed to perform sexual actions on the man. The man continued to sexually abuse the boy to the point where the boy grew older thinking that it was okay. The boy then raped his niece who was a couple of years younger than him and he grew up to be a child molester. Moral of the story is, this young boy’s innocence was taken from him and he grew up thinking that it was okay and normal because no one told him differently. That is the mentality of many child rapists and molesters. They grew up being sexually abused so they continue the chain on into their adulthood. The young girls who experience domestic abuse grow up not being able to trust. Young girls are beaten and even raped by their fathers. Sometimes the mother in the one allowing it all to happen. There are some incidents where mothers allow grown men to rape their daughters in exchange for drugs. This has a huge effect on the minds of these young girls. They grow up not being able to trust anyone. Believing that everyone is out to hurt them. They have this wall built around their hearts in hopes of not letting anyone get too close to them to hurt them. Some girls use this to search for love. They obviously do not have the love that they desire and need at home so they go searching for it everywhere else. This opens new doors for them to be hurt and taken advantage of. These children who are affected by this grow up without knowing what love is so they search to find it in all the wrong places. Yet, we question why these children are the way that they are.
Domestic abuse is taking away lives as the years pass us by. Men, women, and children are badly affected by these horrendous situations everyday. We need to bring awareness to this situation. As the years go by, we start to hear more and more about victims of domestic violence who have lost their lives. We can not sit by and allow these things to continue to happen. Those who are victims need to take a stand against this. We need to offer love, support, and help to those who are victims but have not been able to make it out. We need to do more. Come up with more ways that we can help these victims get out alive and protect them from possibly being hurt by these people ever again. We also need to offer our love, support, and help to those who are doing the abusing. If they are doing this, they obviously have a reason. They may not be a good reason, but it is a reason. Whether it is to gain control, release anger or other emotions, or anything else that could be a reason for their actions. These abusers could have been abused in their past and could just be continuing a chain that they don’t know that they can break, or they are just forcing someone else to feel the pain that they felt when they were being abused. We can not judge them for their actions. We must find the cause for it.