Domestic Violence: Are Intervention Systems Really Working?
Domestic violence is violence that takes place in a domestic home. It can be instigated by a man or woman, by a child or an adult. And it affects everyone. Thankfully there are many intervention systems that have been designed to try and stop the violence before it starts. But are they really working? These programs have been designed by government and non-government agencies alike in response to the rising rates of domestic violence cases and reports. The issue is a serious one and not all systems will prove effective for all situations. That is in part why the effectiveness of a particular system is difficult to measure.
One of the most popular systems is to of course communicate better. People are taught to improve communication in their household, and through improved communication they can avoid fights that would have otherwise led to violence. However this particular system is quite ineffective at stopping violence especially when one member of the group does not want to talk. If a spouse is refusing to speak and instead using violence, then continually talking to them may not amount to anything. If one spouse is prone to violence after heavy drinking or drug use, an intervention system might be to kick that habit. But these will only be effective if the person truly wants to change their habits. If they change for anyone but themselves, it will cultivate resentment toward the person for whom they changed and may in fact fuel the fire at times.
Other systems include self-defense systems. Men and women can be taught ways to block typical attacks at home and in public. They can be taught how to stop a fight before it begins, after words have failed. If their significant other does not want to talk, and instead takes a swing at them or throws something at them, these programs teach the victim how to stop the attack and hold the attacker, preventing them from hurting the victim any more.
All in all the issue of domestic violence is a serious one. People in those situations feel trapped but with intervention systems, they have a way out. The effectiveness of these systems can be gauged by the number of reports, and the decline of them, and personal stories of victory in said situations. Since every situation is different, not all systems will fit. But that does not mean they are not working.
Most often, under the term domestic violence, people denote physical or sexual coercion; though this is a reasonable definition, domestic violence is a significantly wider term that requires clarification. Domestic violence is a narrower term for domestic abuse – a behavior pattern which implies controlling or dominating one person who is an intimate relationship, whether it be a partner, children, or relatives (Helpguide). It may have physical, emotional, sexual, and economic aspects, sometimes combining several of them simultaneously. The main purpose of such control is to completely suppress the partner’s will, and manipulate them. This is achieved by behavior that can be classified as frightening, intimidating, terrorizing, hurtful, humiliating, blaming, injuring, wounding, and so on (The Hotline).
There are several criteria for sexually or physically abusive behavior. Though it may seem that victims of domestic violence should be able to distinguish it, in reality many victims tend to perceive violent behavior as normal. Most of all, it refers to emotional and economic domestic violence, because they are more difficult to determine than physical or sexual abuse. For example, the signs of emotional abuse are: calling names, acting jealous and/or possessive, punishing by withholding affectation, threatening and humiliating (The Hotline). Financial abuse has the following signs: rigid control over a partner’s finances, withholding money and/or basic necessities (such as food, clothes, medications, or shelter), stealing, preventing a partner from working, and many other indicators (Helpguide).
Domestic violence refers not only to women or children. Men suffer from it as well: mostly emotionally, though cases of physical violence are not rare as well. The main fact to comprehend about an abusive relationship is that the partner who acts as an aggressor will not change, and will not stop their insulting behavior. The best option for people who suffer from any kind of domestic violence is to break the relationship. It is useless to expect a certain behavior or opposition will calm the violent partner down.
Domestic violence remains a significant social problem in many countries all over the world. Some of its forms are obvious (such as sexual or physical violence), while other are not so easy to distinguish. Such forms are emotional and financial abuse. Emotional abuse involves humiliating, threatening, and manipulating, while financial violence can express itself in a partner limiting the economic freedoms of their counterparts. The victims of domestic abuse should not expect improvements: the best option for them is to break away from their abusive relationship.
Smith, Melinda, and Jeanne Segal. “Domestic Violence and Abuse: Signs of Abuse and Abusive Relationships.” Helpguide. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 June 2013. <http://www.helpguide.org/mental/domestic_violence_abuse_types_signs_causes_effects.htm>.
“What Is Domestic Violence?” The Hotline. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 June 2013. <http://www.thehotline.org/get-educated/what-is-domestic-violence/>.
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