What is domestic violence?
There are several options to name this violence: domestic violence, family, or partner. The very phrase implies that this violence occurs between people who have a personal relationship – spouses or partners, sometimes former. It is very important to distinguish between one-time family conflict and partner violence.
A conflict is characterized as domestic violence only when it occurs according to the same pattern at least twice. The fundamental difference is that the family conflict is local and isolated in nature and arises on the basis of a specific problem. Theoretically, this problem can be resolved, for example, with the help of a psychologist or a lawyer.
Partner violence is a system of the behavior of one family member in relation to another, which is based on power and control. It has no specific reason, except for the fact that one of the partners seeks to control the behavior and feelings of the other and suppress it as a person at different spheres of life.
What types of domestic violence exist?
There are the following types of domestic violence:
- physical violence, also known as physical assault. Indeed, this is one of the most common types of domestic violence: every third woman is assaulted by her husband/partner. Physical violence includes not only assaults, keeping someone in that situation by the use of force, asphyxia, burns and other methods of causing harm, including death.
- sexual domestic violence is forcing to engage in sexual acts through blackmail or threats. According to the results of studies conducted in the USA in 1996 and 2000, about 1 out of 4 women are forced into sexual relations involuntary. This is directly related to the idea of sex as “marital duties” that a woman should fulfill regardless of her desire.
- psychological violence is systematic insults, blackmail, threats, manipulation. Its subgroup includes violence involving children including children as hostages to threats to harm children if the partner does not obey.
- economic violence includes the deprivation of one of the partners of financial freedom, withholding income or salary and does not allow him to participate in financial decisions. The problem is that physical or sexual violence can be proved but economic and psychological are not characterized as crimes.
Psychology identifies several patterns of domestic violence, which are predisposed by such factors as:
- low self-esteem;
- alcohol abuse;
- drugs abuse;
- communication problems;
- social isolation;
- social, psychological and psychiatric problems, depression;
- lack of self-control;
- suicidal tendencies;
- early pregnancy;
- loss of a child and children;
- physical and mental disabilities.
External (social) factors of violence include: poverty, low income, unemployment, social/family isolation, low educational and cultural level.
The peculiarity of violence in the family context – for both the rapist and the victim – is the need to continue communication, which becomes extremely painful, to maintain a system of interpersonal relationships.
Post-traumatic stress syndrome occurs in response to violence and manifests itself in a range of symptoms such as: obsessive memories and dreams; increased anxiety; secrecy and the desire for loneliness; decreased emotionality; a tendency to depression and drug abuse; unmotivated cruelty, aggressiveness, self-directed aggression; suicidal tendencies.
Professional help (psychologists/psychotherapists) is required in order to overcome the consequences of domestic violence and get out of a situation of post-traumatic stress.
A person needs to realize his psycho-traumatic experience, to accept it internally and express it, being reconciled with the past. This step is extremely important for getting rid of mental suffering. It helps to get rid of the burden of destructive feelings, guilt and helps to build your life more constructively.
Abused women may have the following general characteristics:
- low self-esteem;
- they believe in all myths about violent relationships;
- they have traditional ideas about family and marriage. Such women believe in women’s destiny;
- they take responsibility for the offender actions;
- they suffer from feelings of guilt, deny a feeling of anger towards the offender;
- these women belong a passive part of the community but strong enough to use the environment to survive;
- they have serious reactions to stress and psychophysical complaints;
- they believe that sexual relationships can stabilize relationships in general;
- they are confident that no one can help solve their problems.
How to identify an offender?
There is a set of character traits and behavioral features of a person capable of domestic violence:
- too jealous;
- control, at first, it looks as caring about their safety;
- fast connection;
- many women who were abused met with their future husbands for less than 6 months. The man declared his love, at first sight, flattered the woman that she was the only one;
- accusing others of having negative feelings and problems like “You insult me by not doing what I ask”;
- unrealistic expectations, high demands on the partner;
- rudeness in relation to animals or children;
- a pronounced desire to cause harm to another person;
- the belief that the man is the absolute and unquestioning head of the family, he has all the power and control;
- high level of anxiety about their dominant position;
- the combination of high impulsive behavior with low self-control;
- inability to accept responsibility for the committed actions;
- domestic violence during childhood;
- constant use of alcohol, psychoactive substances.