October is Domestic Violence Action Month, a time when we are reminded of the high costs of domestic assault. Although we often associate the term “physical abuse” with battered women, intimate partner violence affects both genders.
Attitudes have changed over the past decades and yet one in three women and one in four men have been victims of some form of physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime. The cycle of violence is so pervasive that you should consider taking on the subject for your next research paper.
The high cost to society
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), domestic violence affects people of all ages, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, gender, race, religion and nationality. Physical violence is often accompanied by emotionally abusive and controlling behavior as part of a larger pattern of dominance and control.
The economic effects include:
- Victims lose 8 million days of paid work each year
- The cost of domestic violence exceeds $8.3 billion annually
- Between 21 and 60 percent of victims lose their jobs due to reasons stemming from the violence
Domestic Abuse Intervention Services (DAIS) offered information on how to identify signs of domestic violence and what one can do to help a victim.
A relationship may be abusive if your partner…
- Blames you for his/her problems
- Isolates you – doesn’t allow you to see your family or friends
- Shows jealousy toward your children, family, friends or job
Those who are victimized suffer from anxiety and depression. They often resort to alcohol, drugs or unprotected sex as coping mechanisms.
Both men and women can be the victims of domestic violence. But because society views men as the stronger sex, men are less likely to report domestic violence due to embarrassment. If they do seek help, men are more likely to confront dismissive attitudes and a lack of resources.
Children who witness domestic violence are more likely to experience depression, anxiety, nightmares, teen dating violence and disruptions with school work.
Dealing with domestic violence
Check out research on domestic violence at Questia where you can read millions of full-text journal articles. A prime example is the book, Insult to Injury: Rethinking Our Responses to Intimate Abuse, by Linda G. Mills.
In her book Mills made the case that our current approach of incarcerating offenders robs battered women of what power they do hold. Perhaps as many as half of women in abusive relationships stay in them for strong cultural, economic, religious, or emotional reasons. Jailing their partners often makes their situations worse.
Mills proposed a better way to deal with domestic violence by using a method called “restorative justice.” Developed in order to heal racial tensions in South Africa, restorative justice practices put the conflict front and center to resolve the problem rather than the person accused of the crime.
Victims and perpetrators come together to address solutions. Victims are given the ability to define solutions such as garnished wages and an open apology.
“This means that securing punishment is not the ultimate goal. We have already learned that punishment as an end in itself does not often respond to the people involved in abusive relationships, nor does it help people move from the anger that is both the cause and the effect of human violation,” Mills stated.
Domestic violence research
A catalog of links to articles written by researchers in domestic violence can be found at DomesticViolenceResearch.org. The site also includes links to video presentations by scholars and researchers.
Other sources of information on domestic violence include:
- Violence Against Women (VAWNet.org)
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC.gov)
- U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women (justice.gov/ovw)
If you’re worried that someone you know is the victim of domestic violence, connect them to the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).
Would you know how to identify and help a victim of domestic violence? Tell us your experiences in the comments.