Domestic violence: Types, causes, effects and statistics

Domestic violence: Types, causes, effects and statistics

Domestic violence, after the dreaded infidelity, is likely the second most common marriage or family wrecker in Nigeria.

Without further ado, let’s delve into our discussion.

What is domestic violence?

Domestic violence, also known as family violence, can be defined as any form of abuse or violence in a marital or cohabiting relationship. Domestic violence, which can occur in relationships or between ex-spouses or partners, is frequently used as a synonym for intimate partner violence committed by one of the people in an intimate relationship against the other.

In its broadest definition, domestic violence also includes acts of aggression directed towards young people, elderly people, or parents. It can take on a variety of shapes, such as sexual, physical, verbal, emotional, economic, or religious abuse. It involves the use of technology to harass, control, monitor, stalk, or hack and can vary from subtle, coercive forms to marital rape and other violent physical abuse, such as choking, beating, female genital mutilation, and acid throwing that may end in deformity or death.

Domestic violence disproportionately affects women worldwide, typically facing more severe types of violence. Additionally, they are more likely than men to defend themselves by using intimate partner violence. Domestic violence may be justifiable or legally allowed in some nations, especially when the woman is involved, and there has been actual or alleged adultery.

Causes of domestic violence

Domestic violence frequently occurs when an abuser thinks they are entitled to it or that it is appropriate, justifiable, or unlikely to be reported. Children and other family members who believe such abuse is appropriate or encouraged may perpetuate a cycle of violence across generations as a result.

Many people mistakenly think of their experiences as out-of-control family conflicts, which prevents them from realising they are abusers or victims. Domestic abuse awareness, perception, definition, and documentation vary greatly from nation to nation. Additionally, forced or child marriages frequently result in domestic violence.

Most domestic abusers experienced violence and abuse as children in their households. They learned to justify using physical and emotional violence to express their rage and deal with their anxieties and troubles with self-perception.

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Types of domestic violence

Sexual abuse, controlling or domineering behavior, intimidation, stalking, passive/covert abuse (such as neglect), and economic deprivation are just a few examples of the many different ways that domestic violence (DV) can manifest. It can also refer to harassment, trespassing, kidnapping, endangerment, and criminal coercion.

The major types of domestic violence are:

Physical abuse

Physical abuse is any behaviour that involves physical contact with the intent to inflict fear, pain, harm, or other physical sufferings. Physical abuse is used to control the victim in the context of coercive control. Physical violence in a relationship frequently has complicated dynamics. Physical abuse can result from other abusive behaviours such as intimidation, manipulation, threats, and restrictions on the victim’s right to self-determination through isolation.

Physical abuse might also take the form of withholding medical attention, denying sleep, or requiring forced drug or alcohol use. It can also entail physically harming other targets, like children or animals, to emotionally harm the victim.

Sexual abuse

Any sexual act, attempt to obtain a sexual act, unwanted sexual comments or advances, acts to traffic, or other coercive actions directed against a person’s sexuality are all considered sexual abuse, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Additionally, there are required checks for female genital mutilation and virginity.

Sexual abuse can also happen if a person is verbally coerced into consenting, unable to comprehend the nature or condition of the act, unable to decline participation, or unable to express reluctance to engage in the sexual act. These are additional ways that sexual abuse can happen. This could result from immaturity in youth, disease, a disability, being under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, or being intimidated or under pressure.

One example of familial sexual assault is incest or sexual intercourse between a connected adult and a child. In some cultures, ritualised child sexual abuse occurs if a youngster is coerced into having intercourse with an adult, perhaps in exchange for gifts or money, with the knowledge and approval of the family.

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Emotional/mental/verbal abuse

Emotional or psychological abuse is a pattern of behaviour that threatens, intimidates, dehumanises, or systematically undermines self-worth. According to the Istanbul Convention, psychological violence defines emotional abuse as the intentional conduct of seriously impairing a person’s psychological integrity through coercion or threats.

Constant personal devaluation, coercive control, recurrent stonewalling, gaslighting, threats, isolation, public humiliation, minimising, and continuous criticism are examples of emotional abuse. The most frequent perpetrators of stalking, a prevalent form of psychological intimidation, are former or current romantic partners.

Economic or financial abuse

When one intimate partner controls the other partner’s access to money resources, it is known as economic abuse (or financial abuse). Control is exercised via marital assets. A spouse may be subjected to economic abuse if their partner is prevented from acquiring resources, has their access to resources restricted, or is subjected to abuse in other ways.

Economic abuse reduces the victim’s ability to sustain oneself and increases dependence on the abuser, limiting the victim’s access to assets, employment opportunities, education, and career advancement. Economic abuse includes coercing a family member to sign legal documents, sell property, or alter a will.

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Effects of domestic violence

Some of the immediate consequences or effects of domestic violence incidents that necessitate medical attention and hospitalisation include bruises, fractured bones, brain injuries, lacerations, and internal bleeding. Arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, pelvic pain, chronic pain, ulcers, and migraines are a few chronic health issues that have been connected to DV victims. Pregnant victims in domestic violence relationships run a higher risk of miscarriage, preterm labour, and harm or death to the foetus.

High tension, dread, and anxiety are frequently reported by victims who are still housed with their assailants. Depression is also commonplace since victims frequently endure harsh criticism and are made to feel guilty for causing the abuse. It has been claimed that 60% of victims, either during or after the relationship ended, satisfy the diagnostic criteria for depression and have a significantly elevated risk of suicide.

People who have been physically or emotionally abused frequently experience depression due to a sense of worthlessness. Due to the increased risk of suicide and other traumatic symptoms, it is advised that many people who experience these feelings seek counselling.

There has been an increase in recognition of the developmental and psychological harm that domestic abuse exposure can do to children. The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study, conducted in the middle of the 1990s, discovered that children who experienced domestic violence (DV) and other types of abuse had a higher chance of developing mental and physical health issues. The awareness of DV that some children must deal with generally affects the child’s emotional, social, behavioural, and cognitive development.

Increased aggression, anxiety, and modifications in how a child interacts with peers, family, and authorities are some of the emotional and behavioural issues that can arise due to DV. Traumatic events can lead to depression, emotional instability, and mental health disorders.

Domestic violence statistics

Although Domestic violence affects people of all socioeconomic categories and happens throughout the world in a variety of cultures, indications of lower socioeconomic position (such as unemployment and poor income) have been demonstrated in multiple studies to be risk factors for higher levels of Domestic violence.

In the world, Central Sub-Saharan Africa, Western Sub-Saharan Africa, Andean Latin America, South Asia, Eastern Sub-Saharan Africa, Northern Africa, and the Middle East are the regions where DV against women occurs most frequently. West Europe, East Asia, and North America have the lowest rates of Domestic violence against women.

According to the UN Population Fund, one in three women may endure physical or sexual abuse in their lifetimes, which identified it as one of the most pervasive human rights violations worldwide. In rich Western countries, violence against women is uncommon, whereas it is more accepted in the developing world.

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Esther is versatile writer who thrives in writing top-notch long-form articles. She enjoys research and has an eye for details. She's currently a writer at BlackDot Media.
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