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Why To Treat Domestic Violence As If It’s Happening To You

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Picture this, you’re 16 and in an extremely abusive relationship. It was mentally, physically, verbally, and sexually abusive. You finally manage to get out but it doesn’t end. You’re stalked and threatened constantly so you go and do something about it. You show the police everything and give them proof but they do nothing. He gets a stern “talking to” and that’s it. He got “talked to” by one of his best friends who was a police officer in his town. Nothing got taken seriously for this case and it was brushed over. Domestic violence and abuse do not get taken as seriously as they should, especially in younger relationships.

Abuse can be recognized as many things besides just physical. It’s not always just violence violent. The types of abuse can be verbal, physical, emotional, sexual, and mental. It can be things such as insults like name-calling or talking down on another, interfering with their social and family lives, possessiveness, jealousy, creating restrictions and rules within the relationship, withholding intimacy. It can also be anything physical such as hitting or pushing, and threats of harm against the partner or themselves. Knowing all types of abuse helps to understand the true issue at hand. (Family.findlaw.com)

The main cause of abuse in relationships is the need for control. One partner, in most cases the male, needs to be in control and have the authority in the relationship. There is a very strong belief that they should take priority above everything else in their partner's life, they should have the power in the relationship and over the partner, and all around that it’s an okay way to be and they can get away with it. More big contributors to abuse are women are seen as objects through the media, dominance is becoming glorified, men are viewed to be the head of households including the decisions. Many abusers also do not have negative repercussions because they blame it on drugs, alcohol, being provoked, or mental issues. (Stoprelationshipabuse.org)

One of the big arguing points as to why abusers should not get very harsh punishments is things such as mental illnesses, anger problems, stress, genetic factors, provocation, or things such as drugs or alcohol. They tend to use all of these things as excuses to try to justify their actions and their behavior. By doing this they’re avoiding the problem and not holding themselves accountable for their actions. These types of things are often used in the abuser's defense, but the abuse is not caused by any of the problems previously listed. There are people who experience one of these factors or else they suffer from one or more and they do not act out in abusive ways because of it. (Stoprelationshipviolence.org)

Another factor as to why the abusers shouldn’t have such harsh punishments, or any at all, is because their partner had the opportunity to leave, many times. There are many reasons why people stay in abusive relationships. One of the biggest reasons is the feeling of being stuck or trapped. They feel stuck because they don’t know what will happen if they do actually leave. The abuser will often threaten to hurt their partner or themselves. They may also not have anywhere else to go and maybe financially unstable. Another big reason is they often begin to believe that this abusive behavior is normal. After dealing with it for so long and not knowing what a normal, healthy relationship is, it becomes harder to determine what is and what is not healthy. This is especially hard for victims that grew up in a situation where abuse was common. A few other reasons are the love they have for the person, having a family with them and not wanting to break up the family, religious or cultural reasons, disabilities where they are dependent on their partner, or language barriers that they could have if they are immigrants. (Thehotline.org) In a study conducted on bjs.gov, they looked into people who were victims of abusive relationships and found that only 47% were reported. That means that every year, more than half of domestic violence cases go unreported. (bjs.gov)

There are many misconceptions about domestic violence and abuse. One of the biggest beliefs is that it is uncommon. Domestic violence is often one of those things where you think of it as “out of sight, out of mind”, and if it isn’t happening to you it probably isn’t happening somewhere else to someone else. But in fact, as stated by an article published on the Cosmopolitan website, “One in four women, and 1 in 7 men, will experience relationship violence in their lives. From 2003-2012, domestic violence accounted for nearly a quarter of all violent victimizations.” More misconceptions are that you can’t love someone who abuses you, the violence only happens as basically a last resort or when someone is at their wits end, domestic violence is only physical, if you’re abused you should obviously leave the relationship, it isn’t something that you should call the police over, and both partners in the relationship hold responsibility in situations dealing with violent situations. A few other misconceptions include women and men are abused an equal amount, but also men are never abused and women never are abusive, it only happens to poor uneducated women, and drugs and alcohol are a cause for abuse (cosmopolitan.com)

Women make up the majority of people who are abused but it does happen to men too. In fact, according to statistics on NCADV.org, “1 in 7 men have been victims of severe physical violence (e.g. beating, burning, strangling) by an intimate partner in their lifetime.”, and “1 in 4 men have experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner. This includes a range of behaviors (e.g. slapping, shoving, pushing) and in some cases might not be considered ‘domestic violence.’.” (National Statistics, NCADV.org) Within these abusive relationships, men and women can play either part of being the abuser or the one who is abused.

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The impact of domestic violence does not stop at the ones involved. There is actually a large economic impact that is the result of it. When you total it up the number of days missed every year from the effects of abuse, you get eight million paid days that are missed. Between 21-60% of victims of domestic violence lose their jobs from reasons related to abuse and in the years from 2003 to 2008, 142 women were murdered by their abusive partner in the workplace. (NCADV.org) Intimate partner violence exceeds $5.8 billion every year and $4.1 billion of that is in direct medical and mental visits stemming from reasons of the abuse. As health care visits, the average number of visits per patient is 21.1 for physical therapy, 5.7 nights in the hospital, 4.4 dental visits, 3.2 with a physician, 3.1 outpatient visits, 1.9 in the emergency room, and 1.1 visits with a paramedic. (Domesticsheltars.org)

Victims of abuse suffer from a large physical and mental impact. There is a link with physical, mental, sexual, and reproductive health effects with intimate art near violence. The list of other things linked with this is huge and not limited to unintended pregnancy, miscarriage, stillbirth, neurological disorders, disabilities, post-traumatic stress disorder, cardiovascular diseases, and in some cases, even cancer. Victims of domestic violence are at a much higher risk of developing addictions to things like alcohol, tobacco, and drugs. (NCADV.org)

The effects of an abusive relationship can be very damaging to teenagers. They are developing emotionally and an unhealthy relationship can have many negative consequences. Youth.gov compiled research that was done on the correlations with dating violence and behaviors teens in them have. They are said to not do well academically or skip school because they feel unsafe, engage in nonsafe behaviors such as drugs, alcohol, smoking, or eating disorders, become depressed or attempt suicide, question sexuality, and go into unhealthy abusive relationships as an adult. The victims can also find it exceptionally hard to become intimate with a partner, become a productive member of a society, a good set of principles to guide behavior, and have an appropriate identity as an adult. (Youth.gov)

As for helping a friend who is an abusive relationship, the best way to go about it is with sensitivity and respect but to also go about it in a very cautious manner because it can be potentially dangerous for the both of you. Without doing this, they could not listen to the advice you give them and possibly result in them distancing themselves from your friendship. While helping a friend you need to be nonjudgmental as you possibly can and try to remember that a majority of the time they can’t just leave. Everybody is going to react to support and suggestions differently but the last thing you want to do is make them feel ashamed of what they are putting themselves through. Firmly telling them what to do and bossing them around can lead to them feeling even more controlled because it’s pushing them to do something that they aren’t ready to do yet. Instead, you can ask what you can do and offer help. Suggest resources and making a plan if they were to ever leave. Offer support instead of trying to rescue them. (Psycologytoday.com)

In a survey conducted on survey monkey, out of 100 people, 58 said that if they knew a close friend was in an abusive relationship they would step in to help and report the abuse. 36 out of that 100 said they would consider it, and 6 said that it was not their place to step in. Out of those same 100 people, 37 said that if they knew an acquaintance was in an abusive relationship, they were very likely to step in. 50 had said that they would consider it, and 13 said that it was not their place. In this same survey, it was found that 52 out of the 100 knew that 1 in 3 women are victims of abuse, 40 knew it happened but didn’t know that it was that common, and 8 had no idea. As for men, 20 knew that 1 in 4 men have been victims of abuse, 40 knew it happened but not that frequently, and 40 had no idea it happened to men. The last question asked about being a victim or knowing a victim, out of the 100 surveyed, 14 have been victims but don’t know anyone else that was, 43 knew of someone who was a victim, 30 were victims and also knew someone else who was a victim, and 13 were not and didn’t know anyone who was.

Finally getting help is hard enough as it is, but now under President Trump's administration, the Department of Justice has changed the definition of domestic violence. This happened quietly and is not widely known. In 2018, as defined on snopes.com by the website of the Department of Justice's Office of Violence Against Women, “A pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner. Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone.”. In 2019, the new definition reads, “The term “domestic violence” includes felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction receiving grant monies, or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction.” (Alex Kasprak, snopes.com) This means that domestic violence is now defined only as physical violence and people suffering from any other form cannot get the same help that they used to be able to. It doesn’t matter how horrible the situation is if it isn’t considered a felony or misdemeanor. This can really cause harm to people and scare them away from reporting what is happening to them and getting out of the unsafe situation.

Domestic violence is something that happens way more than we would like to admit that it does. The best way to combat this ever-growing issue is to have more prevention programs and spread awareness. We need to make the beginning signs known so that you know what to look for while in a relationship so that one thing doesn’t lead to another. There needs to be a lot of support groups and available resources at all times. It should also be more publicly known what goes on within these relationships and the proper ways of going about helping someone in them. The more aware we are, the better chance we have at stopping this.

Domestic violence is a very hard-hitting subject with me. At the beginning of this paper, I wanted you to imagine yourself in a certain scenario. It’s such a hard-hitting subject with me is because that scenario was the one I was involved in. I was in a relationship that involved every form of abuse. He controlled every aspect of everything. He was manipulative. He was abusive and would leave bruises. He told me no wasn’t a good enough answer. I got the courage and left but that didn’t end things. I went to the police and showed them evidence of threats and stalking and gave them my story but nothing was done about it besides his police officer friend “talked” to him about it. We need to do better. We need to be better. Believe everyone’s story and always be supportive.

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Why To Treat Domestic Violence As If It’s Happening To You. (2022, Jun 29). Edubirdie. Retrieved March 5, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/why-to-treat-domestic-violence-as-if-its-happening-to-you/
“Why To Treat Domestic Violence As If It’s Happening To You.” Edubirdie, 29 Jun. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/why-to-treat-domestic-violence-as-if-its-happening-to-you/
Why To Treat Domestic Violence As If It’s Happening To You. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/why-to-treat-domestic-violence-as-if-its-happening-to-you/> [Accessed 5 Mar. 2024].
Why To Treat Domestic Violence As If It’s Happening To You [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Jun 29 [cited 2024 Mar 5]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/why-to-treat-domestic-violence-as-if-its-happening-to-you/
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