Introduction and Definition
According to the US department of justice, domestic violence refersto abusive actions in any relationship that are used by the abuser toexercise power over their partner in the relationship. In most cases,the acquired power is used to control the other partner. The actionsdo not necessarily have to be physical for them to be regarded asdomestic violence they can also be sexual, emotional, psychologicalor economic. In most cases, domestic violence is characterized byrecurrent behaviors of blaming, threatening, manipulating,intimidating and terrorizing. Everyone is prone to domestic violenceregardless of their color, race, religion, sexual orientation,gender, and age (Stets, 2012). Besides, the socioeconomic backgroundand the level of education of an individual do not exclude them fromthe category of individuals that is prone to domestic violence. Theorganization for domestic violence (US) identifies the main domesticviolence actions as putdowns, withholding money, stalking, sexualassault and stopping a partner from retaining or getting a job bycoercing them to avoid or quit.
Wife beating, stalking and almost all other forms of domesticviolence were viewed as legal before the mid-1500s. In most parts ofthe world, the authorities accepted that it is fine for a husband tobeat the wife using stick or belt the same way children were beaten.Owed to the increased cases of excessive wife beating, laws regardingwife beating changed to what was known as “The Rule of the Thumb.”These laws changed for the period between the late 1400s and early1500s. The rule of the thumb provided that husbands should not beattheir wives with sticks or belts that were thicker than their thumb.This rule prevailed for several centuries until the 19thcentury where changes were made in the US and the UK.
Significant efforts to amend the law in both the UK and the US wereobserved. The main driver for the changes was political agitation. Inthe US, Tennessee completely outlawed wife beating in 1850 therebybecoming the first state to do so. After that, other states followed.By the end of 1870, all states had lawfully outlawed wife beating. Bythe 20th Century, police intervention in cases of domesticviolence was prevalent. In the UK, an act known as the UK MatrimonialCauses Act was put in place in 1878 to enable women to seek legalseparation from abusive husbands (Hanmer & Itzin, 2013).Significant efforts to shield women from domestic violence wereobserved, in most legal systems in the world, from the 1990s. InEurope, the Istanbul Convention acts as the main legally bindinginstrument against women and domestic violence. The US, on the otherhand, developed the Protection of Women Act (PWDVA) that was enactedin 2005.
Censure and Sabia (2016) in their study on the impact of long-term ormultiple deployments of one of the partners on domestic violenceascertain that deployment and combat services are some of the mainfactors that increase the chances of domestic violence. Cases ofdomestic violence are prevalent in relationships where one of thepartners provide combat services, and they are assigned multiple orlong deployments. According to Censure and Sabia (2016),combat-related violence is mainly caused by stress and use of thesubstance by the partner who perpetrates violence. In addition toincreasing the probability of intimate partner violence, the resultsof the study also suggest that multiple and long deployments alsoleads to increased probability of child abuse. The researchersconclude that the deployment and combat service to not only impact onthe service men’s lives as individuals but also on theirrelationship with their partners and children.
According to Jackson et al. (2016) in their study on violencebefore and during pregnancy, low-income Hispanic women are more proneto domestic violence than their middle-income counterparts. Thestudy’s primary focus was not on the women’s race but their levelof income. It focuses on pregnancy as a key factor in influencingdomestic violence in intimate partner relationships. Besides, thestudy also affirms that the rate of domestic violence is aggravatedbefore and during pregnancy. As pointed out in the study, anadditional 13.1% women experience intimate partner violence beforepregnancy while 11.3% experience it during pregnancy. Intimatepartner violence before pregnancy was found to be more prevalent inwomen in less serious romantic relationships as well as those with ahistory of child trauma. In all cases, the period before, during andafter pregnancy was found to be a crucial factor in as far asdomestic violence prevalence is concerned.
In a study conducted by the UN in 1995-96, 1% of women (above the ageof 18) who participated in the study were victims of domesticviolence in at most 12 months before the study. The US Department ofJustice released a report in 2000 that provided that 1.3% of womenreported cases of domestic violence in the previous one year. This is0.4% more than their male counterparts who reported such cases withinthe same period (Stets, 2012). An estimated 2.3 million people areassaulted every year by their intimate partners. The statistics bythe US department of justice also provide that assaulted womenreceive an average of 7 physical assaults from the same personannually. Like other nations, pregnancy is one of the main factorsthat increases the probability of domestic violence in the US.According to a study by the United Nations, 22% of women aresubjected to domestic violence at some point in their lifetime (Fuluet al., 2013).
In the United States, most of the state governments including Alaska,Utah, Montana, and Washington have statutes that provide thatexposing children to domestic violence is child abuse or neglect.Several programs including the Family Violence and Domestic RelationsProgram (FVDR) have been put in place to clearly define and informthe citizens on actions and behaviors that amount to domesticviolence. Other organizations such as the Center for Disease Controland Prevention have also played a major role by providing programsthat education members of the public on domestic violence (Hanmer &Itzin, 2013). The center has come up with batter interventionprograms that are considerably effective in preventing the offenderfrom offending again. The program ensures that the offenders havebeen followed up and guided on how to avoid the undesirable behavior.
Furthermore, the UN responded to increased cases of domestic violencein 1993 by declaring the Elimination of Violence against Women (EVAW)(Fulu et al., 2013). This is a form of batterer interventionprogram that was also adopted by the Council of Europe andimplemented by various countries including Brazil, England, India andthe US. In Australia, the laws regarding domestic violence arefrequently re-published by the National Council. A domestic violenceassessment program has been put in place in Canada even though itseffectiveness is questionable because 20%-33% of offenders re-offendwithin the first six months. It is illegal to inflict or attempt toinflict violence on a partner in Canada. In Germany, just like thecase in the UK, domestic violence is not handled in a special wayunder the law. Instead, it is covered by other laws relating to bodytort. Ireland has a Act that was published in 1996that was enacted in 1996 while South Africa has a and Marital Rape law that was put in place in 1993. All these arejust but a few programs and treatments to domestic violence in thevarious legal regions.
To wrap things up, the prevalence of domestic violence cannot beunderestimated. Everyone is prone to domestic violence irrespectiveof their gender, age or race. The future is, however, hopeful goingby the fact statistics show reduced cases of domestic violence in the21st Century as compared to cases before the mid-1400s. Asa matter of fact, in the 15th Century, a lot of actionsthat are regarded as domestic violence today were not recognized.Wife beating was legal and normal. Over the recent past, a wide rangeof studies relating to domestic violence and intimate partnerviolence have been conducted. Some of these studies include researchon the effect of combat services and pregnancy on domestic violence.The prevalence of cases of domestic violence has compelled mostgovernments (both federal and state governments) to put in placeprograms that seek ease the situation. Domestic violence is a threatto the society at large and most specifically to women.
Cesur, R., & Sabia, J. J. (2016). When War Comes Home: The Effectof Combat Service on . Review of Economics andStatistics, 98(2), 209-225.
Hanmer, J., & Itzin, C. (2013). Home truths about domesticviolence: feminist influences on policy and practice a reader.Routledge.
Jackson, C. L., Ciciolla, L., Crnic, K. A., Luecken, L. J., Gonzales,N. A., & Coonrod, D. V. (2015). Intimate Partner Violence Beforeand During Pregnancy Related Demographic and Psychosocial Factors andPostpartum Depressive Symptoms Among Mexican American Women. Journalof interpersonal violence, 30(4), 659-679.
Stets, J. E. (2012). Domestic violence and control. SpringerScience & Business Media.
Fulu, E., Jewkes, R., Roselli, T., & Garcia-Moreno, C. (2013).Prevalence of and factors associated with male perpetration ofintimate partner violence: findings from the UN Multi-countryCross-sectional Study on Men and Violence in Asia and the Pacific.The Lancet Global Health, 1(4), e187-e207.