Emma Dell ‘Aquila
15 April 2018
The Rough Road of Domestic Violence
Every 20 seconds, someone becomes a target of domestic violence. Domestic violence can happen to anyone all over the world. Domestic violence happens when your current or former significant other tries to dominate in a relationship through physical, sexual, or mental and psychological maltreatment, which would result in physical or emotional suffering to the victim. “Psychological violence is also commonly called emotional abuse and refers to behaviors of intimidation, control, or bullying which can result in emotional trauma” (McCue 10). There are many lasting psychological effects that women face due to this distress including Battered women’s syndrome, Depression and PTSD. Battered women syndrome is defined as “the psychological effect among women who were physically abused by their partners without concerning on their rights” (Walker 9). Depression is a serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel and how you think and act. PTSD also known as post-traumatic stress disorder is a serious condition that a person can develop after undergoing severe trauma or a terrifying event in which serious harm occurs or is threatened. Women who have these disorders have many resources they can utilize in order to receive help and strengthen their mental health and wellbeing. These resources include the Battered Women’s Justice Project, National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence, and the National Domestic Violence Hotline and many more. The history of domestic violence has changed the way people look at the different types of abuse and educate people of the long-lasting scars on everyone it affects with hopes that the abuse will stop.
Domestic violence has been seen in a different light throughout history. Before 1920 domestic abuse was a considered legal and women were treated as property of their husband. It wasn’t until the 1970s that the criminal justice system treated domestic violence as the serious crime it is instead of a private matter. If a woman was married, the husband could beat, divorce, or murdered his wife for affecting him in ways which he believed dishonored or threatened his property rights. These were viewed as private issues and were not publicized (Davis 2). “In early America the Puritans openly banned family violence, however the law lacked strict enforcement” (Violence against women 1994). This meant that women could be abused and even killed and not get in any trouble with the law. In these times in the past, domestic abuse was socially accepted and a social norm. This is all due to the preconceived belief that the husband has the right to abuse his wife and felt that they had to do anything necessary to control their wife. Some people still believe that domestic abuse is okay and proceed to inflict violence and abuse their significant others without knowing the severe scars that it leaves on the victim.
In the book Domestic Violence by Margi McCue, the author acknowledges many issues, facts, and statistics that have to do with domestic violence. In the first chapter of the book McCue stresses the importance of the effects domestic violence along with the various effects abuse can have on women. McCue explains that even though most people think the word “abuse” just means inflicting violence on someone but instead it can be verbal abuse which negatively affects someone’s psychological and mental state or it could be physical to the point where it is life-threatening. There is a psychological diagnosis called “The Battered Woman Syndrome which is given to women who were domestic abuse survivors who still have some type of emotional pain” (McCue 15). This is used most as a defense in court under the circumstances where the women who is being harmed kills her abuser by self-defense because they feel like there is no other way to escape the abuse. “The diagnosis isn’t saying that the woman has a mental illness but that they have psychological trauma from the violence and abuse the suffered” (McCue 96).
According to a scholarly journal “Domestic violence and Depression – Breaking the Cycle” written by Laura Nott it is explained that domestic abuse can cause clinical depression. It was proven that “Women who are in violent relationships have nearly twice the risk of depression” (Nott 1). This is according to a study which examined more than 36,000 people. Women who are victims of depression already are more likely to suffer because they are already in a weak mental state and their abuser takes advantage. “The problem of domestic violence is elevated for women with any mental health disorder because they are more vulnerable to occasions of domestic violence” (Nott 2). On the other hand, people who are typically very calm can become very angry and abusive when in a deep state of depression and they may take their difficulties and frustrations out on their partner. There are ways that you can help yourself when suffering with this type of depression. Since being confined in an abusive relationship can make you isolate yourself, connecting with others and going to people for support can help you out a lot because loneliness will only enhance feelings of depression.
In the 9th chapter of the book “Domestic Violence” by Margi Laird McCue expresses the different characteristics of the battered women. The author explains that by studying the women who were abused they all shared similar characteristics. Obviously not every case is the same but most of the women they studied had parallel characteristics. McCue explains that most of the studies found that domestic violence cuts across racial, ethnic, and cultural lines and affects families in all communities. (McCue 86) It is not only one race that gets victimized it is all races. Many women are afraid to report the abuse because they are scared that they will be abused more because they reported it, so that makes it somewhat hard to conduct studies. Despite this fear, based on the women who did report abuse that’s what they found. McCue says that with age abuse mostly occurs with people under 30 years of age (McCue 88). The author states that Older battered women are a different case. These older women most likely grew up in a time where women did not get divorced because the social disgrace was too forceful, they were raised with the idea that abuse was normal and the woman just had to learn to live with it. (McCue 89).
Some people blame the victims for their abuse and hold them partly responsible for the events. These approaches shift the blame away from the abuser onto the victim. Some people may say “Why didn’t she leave if she was really being abused” or may say that the victim is only looking for attention or money. Some women don’t want to leave because their abuser says they love them even though they are constantly hurting and don’t want to report their abuse because they love their abuser too much and don’t want to get them in any trouble. Other women are scared that if they do report the abuse because they think that they are going to get even more hurt if there is no action taken to fix the problem. When victims are blamed they suffer personal suffering and then they have people questioning weather they are at fault or if they are actually a victim.
Domestic violence is one of the worst kinds of abuse suffered by women in our society today. Domestic abuse can affect anyone from anywhere. Based on the history of domestic violence some people believe it is okay but don’t know the psychological affects it brings to the women who are harmed. Domestic abuse can be very forceful and even fatal. Domestic violence needs to be treated as serious as it really is and people need to stop blaming victims for suffering through this physical and emotional damage.
Emma Dell ‘Aquila