Today we’ll be discussing domestic violence and it’s judicial remedies in various legal systems. Domestic violence also known and referred to as domestic abuse or family wrong. It is an abuse that takes place in a home, such as in a marriage or in an emotional and physical intimate relationship which includes a common living place and which exists without legal or religious sanctions.
Domestic violence is often used as a synonym for intimate partner abuse, which is perpetrated by one of the people in an intimate relationship against the other person, and can take place in relationships or between former spouses or partners. In its broadest sense, domestic violence also involves violence against children, parents, or the elderly. It can assume multiple forms, including physical, verbal, emotional, economic, religious, reproductive, or sexual abuse. It can range from obvious, force forms to marital rape and other violent physical abuse, such as choking, beating, female genital mutilation, and acid throwing that may result in disfigurement or death, and includes the use of technology to harass, control, monitor, stalk or hack. Domestic murder includes stoning, bridge burning, honor killing, and dowry death, which sometimes involves non-cohabitating family members.
Globally, the victims of domestic violence are overwhelming women, and they tend to experience more severe forms of violence. They are also likelier than men to use intimate partner violence in self-defense. In some countries, domestic violence may be seen as justified or legally permitted, particularly in cases of actual or suspected infidelity on the part of the woman. Research has established that there exists a direct and significant correlation between a country’s level of gender equality and rates of domestic violence, where countries with less gender equality experience higher rates of domestic violence. Domestic violence is among the most underreported crimes worldwide for both men and women. In addition, due to social stigmas regarding male victimization, men who are victims of domestic abuse face an increased likelihood of being overlooked by healthcare providers.
Domestic violence often occurs when the abuser believes that they are entitled to it, or that it is accepted, justified, or unlikely to be reported. It may produce an intergenerational cycle of violence in children and other family members, who may feel that such abuse is acceptable or condoned. Many people do not recognize themselves as abusers or victims, because they may consider their experiences as family conflicts that had gotten out of control. Awareness, perception, definition and documentation of domestic violence differs widely from country to country. Additionally, domestic abuse often occurs in the circumstances of forced or child marriages.
In abusive relationships, there may be a cycle of abuse during which tensions rise and act of violence is committed, followed by a period of reconciliation and calm. The victims may be trapped in domestically violent situations through isolations, power and control, traumatic bonding to the abuser, cultural acceptance, lack of financial resources, fear, and shame, or to protect children. As a result of abuse, victims may experience physical disabilities, dysregulated aggression, chronic health problems, mental illness, limited finances, and a poor ability to create healthy relationships.
Victims may experience severe psychological disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Children who live in a household with violence often show psychological problems from an early age, such as avoidance, hypervigilance to threats and dysregulated aggression, which may contribute to vicarious traumatization.
Historical Analysis and definition of Domestic Violence
The term domestic violence in modern useage, means violence in the home, was first used in an address to the British Parliament by Jack Ashley in 1973. The term previously referred primarily to civil unrest, domestic abuse from a within a country as opposed to international violence perpetrated by a foreign power.
Traditionally, domestic violence (DV) was mostly associated with physical violence. Terms such as wife abuse, wife beating, wife battering, and battered woman were used, but have declined in popularity due to efforts to include unmarried partners, abuse other than physical, female perpetrators, and same-sex relationships. DV is not commonly defined broadly to include “all acts of physical, sexual, psychological or economic violence” that may be committed by a family member or intimate partner.
The term intimate partner violence is often used synonymously with domestic abuse or domestic violence, but it specifically refers to violence occurring within a couple’s relationship (i.e. marriage, cohabitation, or non-cohabiting intimate partners). To these, the World Health Organization (WHO) adds controlling behaviors as a form of abuse. Intimate partner violence has been observed in opposite and same-sex relationships, and in the former instances by both men against women and women against men. Family violence is a broader term, often used to include child, elder abuse, and other violent acts between family members. In 1993, the UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women defined domestic violence as:
Physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring in the family, including battering, sexual abuse of female children in the household, dowry-related violence, marital rape, female genital mutilation and other traditional practices harmful to women, non-spousal violence and violence related to exploitation.
Encyclopedia Britannica states that in the early 1800s, most legal systems implicitly accepted wife-beating as a husband’s right over his wife. English common law, dating back to the 16th century, treated Domestic violence as a crime against the community rather than against the individual woman by charging wife beating as a breach of the peace. Wives had the right to seek redress in the form of a peace bond from a local justice of the peace.
Procedures were informal and off the record, and no legal guidance specified the standard of proof or degree of violence which would suffice for a conviction. The two typical sentences were forcing a husband to post bond, or forcing him to stake pledges from his associates to guarantee good behavior in the future. Beatings could also be formally charged as assault, although such prosecutions were rare and, save for cases of severe injury or death, sentences were typically small fines.
By extension, this framework held in the American colonies. The 1641 Body of Liberties of the Massachusetts Bay Colonists declared that a married woman should be “free from bodily correction or stripes by her husband”. New Hampshire and Rhode Island also explicitly banned wife-beating in their criminal codes.
Following the American Revolution, changes in the legal system placed greater power in the hands of precedent-setting state courts rather than local justices. Many states transferred jurisdiction in divorce cases from legislatures to their judicial systems and the legal recourse available to battered women increasingly became divorce on grounds of cruelty and suing for assault.
This placed a greater burden of proof on the women, as she needed to demonstrate to a court that her life was at risk. In 1824, the Mississippi Supreme Court, citing the rule of thumb, established a positive right to wife-beating in State v. Bradley, a precedent which would hold sway in common law for decades to come.
Political agitation and the first-wave feminist movement, during the 19th century, led to changes in both popular opinion and legislation regarding DV within UK, the US, and other countries. In 1950, Tennessee became the first state in the US to explicitly outlaw wife beating. Other states soon followed. In 1871, the tide of legal opinion began to turn against the idea of a right to wife-beating, as courts in Massachusetts and Alabama reversed the precedent set in Bradley. In 1878, the UK Matrimonial Causes Act made it possible for women in the UK to seek legal separation from an abusive husband. By the end of the 1870s, most courts in the US had rejected a claimed right of husbands to physically discipline their wives.
In the early 20th century, paternalistic judges regularly protected female victims of DV in order to reinforce gender norms within the family. In divorce and criminal DV cases, judges would levy harsh punishments against male perpetrators, but when the gender roles were reversed they would often give little to no punishment to female perpetrators. By early 20th century, it was common for police to intervene in cases of DV, but arrests remained rare.
Most legal systems around the world, DV has been addressed only from the 1990s onward; indeed, before the late 20th century, in most countries there was very little protection, in law or in practice, against DV. In 1993, the UN published Strategies for Confronting Domestic Violence: A Resource Manual. This publication urged countries around the world to treat DV as criminal offence, stated that the right to a private family life does not include the right to abuse family members, and acknowledged that, at the time of its writing, most legal systems considered domestic violence to be largely outside the scope of the law, describing the situation at that time as follows:
“Physical discipline of children is allowed and, indeed, encouraged in many legal systems and a large number of countries allow moderate physical chastisement of a wife or, if they do not dos o now, have done so within the last 100 years. Again, most legal systems fail to criminalize circumstances where a wife is forced to have sexual relations with her husband against her will…Indeed, in the case of violence against wives, there is a widespread belief that women provoke, can tolerate or even enjoy a certain level of violence from their spouses.”
In recent decades, there has been a call for the end of legal impunity for DV, an impunity often based on the idea that such acts are private. The Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, better known as the Istanbul Convention, is the first legally binding instrument in Europe dealing with DV and violence against women and DV. The convention seeks to put to an end to the toleration, in law or in practice, of evidence against women and DV. In its explanatory report, it acknowledges the long tradition of European countries of ignoring, de jure or de facto, these forms of violence. At para 219, it states:
“There are many examples from past practice in Council of Europe member states that show that exceptions to the prosecution of such cases were made, either in law or in practice, if victim and perpetrator were, for instance, married to each other or had been in a relationship. The most prominent example is rape within marriage, which for a long time had not been recognized as rape because of the relationship between victims and perpetrators”.
There has been increased attention given to specific forms of DV, such as honor killings, dowry deaths, and forced marriages. India has, in recent decades, made efforts to curtail dowry violence: the Protection of Women form Domestic Violence Act was enacted in 2005, following years of advocacy and activism by the women’s organizations. Crimes of passion in Latin America, a region which has a history of treating such killings with extreme leniency, have also come to international attention.
In 2002, Widney Brown, advocacy director for Human Right Watch, argued that there are similarities between the dynamics of crimes of passion and honor killings, stating that : “crimes of passion have a similar dynamic to honor killings in that the woman are killed by male family members and the crimes are perceived as excusable or understandable”.
Historically, children had few protections from violence by their parents, and in many parts of the world, this is still the case. For example, in Ancient Rome, a father could legally kill his children. Many cultures have allowed fathers to sell their children into slavery. Child sacrifice was also a common practice.
Child maltreatment began to garner mainstream attention with the publication of “The Battered Child Syndrome” by pediatric psychiatrist C. Henry Kempe in 1962. Prior to this, injuries to children-even repeated bone fractures-were not commonly recognized as the results of intentional trauma. Instead, physicians often looked for undiagnosed bone diseases or accepted parents’ accounts of accidental mishaps, such as falls or assaults by neighborhood bullies.
Physical forms of Domestic violence
All domestic abuse is not equivalent. Differences in frequency, severity, purpose, and outcome are all significant. DV can take many forms, including physical aggression or assault (hitting, kicking, biting, shoving, restraining, slapping, throwing objects, beating up, etc.), or threats thereof; sexual abuse; controlling or domineering; intimidation; stalking; passive/covert abuse (e.g. neglect); and economic deprivation. It can also mean endangerment, criminal coercion, kidnapping, unlawful imprisonment, trespassing, and harassments.
Physical abuse is that involving contact intended to cause fear, pain, injury, other physical suffering or bodily harm. In the context of coercive control, physical abuse is to control the victim. The dynamics of physical abuse in a relationship are often complex. Physical violence can be the culmination of other abusive behavior, such as threats, intimidation, and restriction of victim self-determination through isolation, manipulation and other limitations of personal freedom. Denying medical care, sleep deprivation, and forced drug or alcohol use, are also forms of physical abuse. It can also include inflicting physical injury onto other targets, such as children or pets, in order to cause emotional harm to the victim.
Strangulation in the context of DV has received significant attention. It is now recognized as one of the most lethal forms of DV; yet, because of the lack of external injuries, and the lack of social awareness and medical training in regard to it, strangulation has often been a hidden problem. As a result, in recent years, many US states have enacted specific laws against strangulation.
Homicide as a result of domestic abuse makes up a greater proportion of female homicides than it does male homicides. More than 50% of female homicides are committed by former or current intimate partners in the US. In the UK 37% of murdered women were killed by an intimate partner compared to 6% for men. Between 40 and 70% of women murdered in Canada, Australia, South Africa, Israel and the US were killed by an intimate partner. The WHO states that globally, about 38% of female homicides are committed by an intimate partner.
During pregnancy, a woman is at higher risk to be abused or long-standing abuse may change in severity, causing negative health effects to the mother and fetus. Pregnancy can also lead to a hiatus of DV when the abuser does not want to harm the unborn child. The risk of DV for women who have been pregnant is greatest immediately after childbirth.
Acid attacks, are an extreme form of violence in which acid is thrown at the victim, usually their faces, resulting in extensive damage including long-term blindness and permanent scarring. These are commonly a form of revenge against a woman for rejecting a marriage proposal or sexual advance.
In the Middle East and other parts of the world, planned domestic homicides, or killings, are carried out due to the belief of the perpetrators that the victim has brought dishonor upon the family or community. According to Human Rights Watch, honor killings are generally performed against women from “refusing to enter into an arranged marriage, being the victim of a sexual assault, seeking a divorce” or being accused of committing adultery. In some parts of the world, where there is a strong social expectation for a woman to be a virgin prior to marriage, a bride may be subjected to extreme violence, including an honor killing, if she is deemed not to be a virgin on her wedding night due to the absence of blood.
Bride burring or dowry killing is a form of DV in which a newly married woman is killed at home by her husband or husband’s family due to their dissatisfaction over the dowry provided by her family. The act is often a result of demands for more or prolonged dowry after the marriage. Dowry violence is most common in South Asia, especially in India. In 2011, the National Crime Records Bureau reported 8,618 dowry deaths in India, but unofficial figures estimates at least three times the amount.
The WHO defines sexual abuse as any sexual act, attempt to obtain a sexual act, unwanted sexual comments or advances, or acts to traffic, or otherwise directed, against a person’s sexuality using coercion. It also includes obligatory inspections for virginity and female genital mutilation. Aside from initiation of the sexual act through physical force, sexual abuse occurs if a person is verbally pressured into consenting, unable to understand the nature or condition of the act, unable to decline participation, or unable to communicate unwillingness to engage in the sexual act. This could be because of underaged immaturity, illness, disability, on the influence of alcohol or other drugs, or due to intimidation or pressure.
In many cultures, victims of rape are considered to have brought dishonor or disgrace to their families and face severe familial violence, including honor killings. This is especially the case if the victim becomes pregnant.
Female genital mutilation is defined by WHO as “all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for on-medical reasons”. This procedure has been performed on more than 125 million females alive today, and it is concentrated in 29 countries in Africa and Middle East.
Incest, or sexual contact between a related adult and a child, is one form of familial sexual violence. In some cultures, there are ritualized forms of child sexual abuse taking place with the knowledge and consent of the family, where the child is induced to engage in sexual acts with adults, possibly in exchange for money or goods. For instance, in Malawi some parents arrange for an older man, often called a hyena, to have sex with their daughters as a form of initiation. The Council of Europe Convention on the occurring within the home or family.
Reproductive coercion (also called coerced reproduction) are threats or acts of violence against a partner’s reproductive rights, health and decision-making; and includes a collection of behaviors intended to pressure or coerce a partner into becoming pregnant or ending a pregnancy. Reproductive coercion is associated with forced sex, fear of or inability to make a contraceptive decision, fear of violence after refusing sex, and abusive partner interference with access to healthcare.
In some cultures, marriage imposes a social obligation for women to reproduce. In Northern Ghana, for instance, payment of bride price signifies a woman’s requirement to bear children, and women who use birth control face threats of violence and reprisals. WHO includes forced marriage, cohabitation, and pregnancy including wife inheritance within its definition of sexual violence. Wife inheritance, or levirate marriage, is a type of marriage in which the brother of a deceased man is obliged to marry his widow, and the widow is obliged to marry her deceased husband’s brother.
Marital rape is non-consensual penetration perpetrated against a spouse. It is under-reported, under-prosecuted, and legal in many countries, due in part to the belief that through marriage, a woman gives irrevocable consent for her husband to have sex with her when he wishes.
In Lebanon, for example, while discussing a proposed law that would criminalize marital rape, Sheik Ahmad Al-Kurdi, a judge in the Sunni religious court, said that the law “could lead to the imprisonment of the man where in reality he is exercising the least of his marital rights”. Feminists have worked systematically since the 1960s to criminalize marital rape internationally. In 2006, a study in the UN found that marital rape was a prosecutable offense in at least 104 countries. Once widely condoned or ignored by law and society, marital rape is not repudiated by international conventions and increasingly criminalized.
The countries which ratified the Istanbul Convention, the first legally binding instrument in Europe in the field of violence against women, are bound by its provisions to ensure that non-consensual sexual acts committed against a spouse or partner are illegal. The convention came into force in August 2014.
Emotional or psychological abuse is a pattern of behavior that threatens, intimidates, dehumanizes or systematically undermines self-worth. According to the Istanbul Convention, psychological violence is “the intentional conduct of seriously impairing a person’s psychological integrity through coercion or threats”.
Emotional abuse includes minimizing, threats, public humiliation, unrelenting criticism, constant personal devaluation, coercive control, repeated stonewalling and gaslighting. Stalking is a common form of psychological intimidation, and is most often perpetrated by former or current intimate partners. Victims tend to feel their partner has nearly total control over them, greatly affecting the power dynamic in a relationship, empowering the perpetrator, and disempowering the victim. Victims often experience depression, putting them at increased risk of eating disorders, suicide, and drug and alcohol abuse.
Coercive control involves a controlling behavior designed to make a person dependent by isolating them from support, exploiting them of independence and regulating their everyday activities. It involves the acts of verbal assault, punish, humiliation, threats or intimidation. Coercive control can occur physically, for example through physical abuse, harming or frightening the victims. The Victim’s human rights might be infringed through being deprived of their right to liberty and reduced ability to act freely. Abusers tend to dehumanize, make threats, deprive basic needs and personal access, isolate, and track the victim’s daily schedule via spyware. Victims usually feel a sense of anxiety and fear that seriously affects their personal life, financially, physically and psychologically.
Economic abuse or financial abuse is a form of abuse when one intimate partner has control over the other partner’s access to economic resources. Marital assets are used as a means of control. Economic abuse may involve preventing a spouse from resources acquisition, limiting what the victim may use, or by otherwise exploiting economic resources of the victim. Economic abuse diminishes the victim’s capacity to support themselves, increasing dependence on the perpetrator, including reduced access to education, employment, carrier advancement, and asset acquisition. Forcing or pressuring a family member to sign documents, to sell things, or to change a will are forms of economic abuse. In Nigeria forcing a widow to forfeit her husbands assets on the grounds of not giving birth to a male child is an economic abuse.
A victim may be put on an allowance, allowing close monitoring of how much money is spent, preventing spending without the perpetrator’s consent, leading to the accumulation of debt or depletion of the victim’s savings. Disagreements about money spent can result in retaliation with additional physical, sexual or emotional abuse. In parts of the world where women depend on husbands’ income in order to survive (due to lack of opportunities for female employment and lack of state welfare) economic abuse can have very severe consequences. Abusive relations have been associated with malnutrition among both mothers and children. In India, the withholding of food is a documented for of family abuse.
Contributory factors of Domestic violence
On of the most important factors in DV is a belief that abuse, whether physical or verbal, is acceptable. Other factors include substance abuse, unemployment, mental health problems, lack of coping skills, isolation, and excessive dependence on the abuser.
An overriding motive for committing acts of domestic and interpersonal violence in a relationship is to establish and maintain relationships based on power and control over victims.
Batterers morality is out of step with the law and society’s standards. Research shows the key issues for perpetrators of abuse is their conscious and deliberate decision to offend in the pursuit of self-gratification.
Men who perpetrate violence have specific characteristics: they are narcissi tic, they willfully lack empathy, and they choose to treat their needs as more important than others. Perpetrators psychologically manipulate their victim to believe their abuse and violence is caused by the victim’s inadequacy (as a wife, a lover, or as a human being) rather than the perpetrators selfish desire for power and control over them.
Rotation of abuse theory
L. E. Walker showed the model of a cycle of abuse which involves four phases. First, there is a buildup to abuse when tension rises until a DV incident ensues. During the reconciliation stage, the abuser may be kind and loving and then there is a period of calm. When the situation is calm, the abused person may be hopeful that the situation will change. Then, tensions begin to build, and the cycle starts again.
Witnessing abuse during childhood is very common among abusers. They were participants in a chain of intergenerational cycles of domestic violence. That does not mean, conversely, that if a child witnesses or is subject to violence that they will become abusers. Understanding and breaking the intergenerational abuse patterns may do more to reduce DV than other remedies for managing the abuse.
Responses that focus on children suggest that experiences throughout life influence an individual’s propensity to engage in family violence (either as a victim or as a perpetrator). Researchers supporting this theory suggest it is useful to think of three sources of DV: childhood socialization, previous experiences in couple relationships during adolescence, and levels of strain in a person’s current life. People who observe their parents abusing each other, or who were themselves abused may incorporate abuse into their behavior within relationships that they establish as adults.
Research shows that the more children are physically punished, the more likely they will be as adults to act violently towards family members, including intimate partners. People who are spanked more as children are more likely as adults to approve of hitting a partner, and also experience more marital conflict and feelings of anger in general. A number of studies have found physical punishment to be associated with “higher levels of aggression against parents, siblings, peers and spouses”, even when controlling for other factors. While these associations do not prove causal relationship, a number of longitudinal studies suggest that the experience of physical punishment does have a direct causal effect on later aggressive behaviors. Such research has shown that corporal punishment of children (e.g. smacking, slapping, or spanking) predicts weaker internalization of values such as empathy, altruism, and resistance to temptation, along with more antisocial behavior, including dating violence.
In some patrilineal societies around the world, a young bride moves with family of her husband. As a new girl in the home, she starts as having the lowest (or among the lowest) position in the family, is often subjected to violence and abuse, and is, in particular, strongly controlled by the parents-in-law: with the arrival of the daughter-in-law in the family, the mother-in-law’s status is elevated and she now has (often for the first time in her life) substantial power over someone else, and “this family system itself tends to produce a cycle of violence which the formerly becomes the abusing mother-in-law to her new daughter-in-law”.
Amnesty International writes that, in Tajikistan, “it is almost an initiation ritual for the mother-in-law to put her daughter-in-law through the same torments she went through herself as a young wife”.
Consanguinity and Psychological conception
These consists of genetics and brain dysfunction and are studied by neuroscience. Psychological theories focus on personality traits and mental characteristics of the offender. Personality traits include sudden bursts of anger, poor impulse control, and poor self-esteem. Various theories suggest that psychopathology is a factor, and that abuse experience as a child leads some people to be more violent as adults’. Correlation has been found between juvenile delinquency and DV in adulthood.
Studies have found a high incidence of psychopathology among domestic abusers. For instance, some research suggests that about 80% of both court-referred and self-referred men in these domestic violence studies exhibited diagnosable psychopathology, typically personality disorders. “The estimate of personality disorders in the general population would be more in the 15-20% range…As violence becomes more severe and chronic in the relationship, the likelihood of psychopathology in these men approaches 100%”.
Dutton has suggested a psychological profile of men who abuse their wives, arguing that they have borderline personalities that are developed early in life.
However, these psychology theories are disputed: Gelles suggests that psychological theories are limited, and points that other researchers have found that only 10% (or less) fit this psychological profile. He argues that social factors are important, while personality traits, mental illness, or psychopathy are lesser factors.
An evolutionary psychological explanation of DV is that it represents male attempts to control female reproduction and ensure sexual exclusivity. Violence related to extramarital relations is seen as justified in certain parts of the world. For instance, a survey in Diyarbakir, Turkey, found that, when asked the appropriate punishment for woman who has committed adultery, 37% of respondents said she should be killed, while 24% said her nose or ears be cut off.
A 1997 report suggested that domestic violence abusers display higher that average mate retention behaviors, which are attempts to maintain the relationship with the partner. The report had stated that men, more than women, were using “resource display, submission and debasement, and Intrasexual threats to retain their mates”.
General Social Principles on Domestic violence
Social theories look at external factors in the offender’s environment, such as family structure, stress, social learning, and includes rational choice theories. Social learning theory opines that people learn from observing and modeling after other’s behavior. With positive reinforcement, the behavior continues. If one observes violent behavior, one is more likely to imitate it. If there are no negative consequences (e.g. the victim accepts the violence, with submission), then the behavior will likely continue.
Resource theory was suggested by William Goode in 1971. Women who are most dependent on their spouse for economic well-being (e.g. homemakers/housewives, women with disability, women who are unemployed), and are the primary caregiver to their children, fear the increased financial burden if they leave their marriage. Dependency means that they have fewer options and few resources to help them cope with or change their spouse’s behavior.
Couples that share power equally experience a lower incidence of conflict, and when conflict does arise, are less likely to resort to violence. If one spouse desires control and power in the relationship, the spouse may resort to abuse. This may include coercion and threats, intimidation, emotional abuse, economic abuse, isolation, making light of the situation and blaming the spouse, using children (threatening to take them away), and behaving as “master of the castle”.
Another report has stated that domestic abusers may be blinded by rage and therefore see themselves as the victim when it comes to domestically abusing their partner. Due to mainly negative emotions and difficulties in communications between partners, the abusers believe they have been wronged and therefore psychologically they make themselves be seen as the victim.
Stress may be increased when a person is living in a family situation, with increased pressures. Social stresses, due to inadequate finances or other such problems in a family may further increase tensions. Violence is not always caused by stress, but may be one way that some people respond to stress. Families and couples in poverty may be more likely to experience DV, due to increased stress and conflicts about finances and other aspects. Some speculates that poverty may hinder a man’s ability to live up to his idea of successful manhood, thus he fears losing honor and respect. A theory suggests that when he is unable to economically support his wife, and maintain control, he may turn to misogyny, substance abuse, and crime as ways to express masculinity.
Same-sex relationships may experience similar social stressors. Additionally, violence in same-sex relationships has been linked to internalized homophobia, which contributed to low self-esteem and anger in both the perpetrator and victim. Internalized homophobia also appears to be a barrier in victims seeking help.
Similarly, heterosexism can play a key role in DV in the LGBT community. As a social ideology that implies “heterosexuality is normative, morally superior, and better than (homosexuality), heterosexism can hinder services and lead to an unhealthy self-image in sexual minorities. Heterosexism in legal and medical institutions can be seen in instances of discrimination, biases, and insensitivity toward sexual orientation. For example, as of 2006, seven states explicitly denied LGBT individuals the ability to apply for protective orders, proliferating ideas of LGBT subjugation, which is tied to feelings of anger and powerlessness.
Power and control
Power and control in abusive relationships is the way that abusers exert physical, sexual and other forms of abuse to gain control within relationships.
A causality view of domestic abuse is that it is a strategy to gain or maintain power and control over the victim. This view is in alignment with Bancroft’s cost-benefit theory that abuser rewards the perpetrator in ways other than, or in addition to, simply exercising power over his or her target(s). He cites evidence in support of his argument that, in most cases, abusers are quite capable of exercising control over themselves, but choose not to do so for various reasons.
Sometimes, one person seeks complete power and control over their partner and uses different ways to achieve this, including resorting to physical violence. The perpetrator attempts to control all aspects of the victim’s life, such as their social, personal, professional and financial decisions.
Questions of power and control are integral to the widely utilized Duluth Domestic Abuse Intervention Project. They developed the Power and Control Wheel to illustrate this: it has power and control at the center, surrounded by spokes which represent techniques used. The titles of the spokes includes coercion and threats, intimidation, emotional abuse, isolation, minimizing, denying and blaming, using children, economic abuse, and privilege.
Critics of this model argue that it ignores research linking DV to substance abuse and psychological problems. Some modern research into the patterns in DV has found that women are more likely to be physically abusive towards their partner in relationships in which only one partner is violent, which draws the effectiveness of using concepts like male privilege to treat DV into question. Some modern research into predictors of injury from DV suggests that the strongest predictor of injury by DV is participation in reciprocal DV.
Unsubmissive theory, sometimes called dominance theory, is an area of feminist legal theory that focuses on the power differential between men and women. Nonsubordination theory takes the position that society, and particularly men in society, use sex differences between men and women to perpetuate this power imbalance. Unlike other topics within feminist legal theory, nonsubordination theory focuses specifically on certain sexual behaviors, including control of women’s sexuality, sexual harassment, pornography, and violence against women generally.
Catherine MacKinnon argues that nonsubordination theory best addresses these particular issues because they affect almost exclusively women. MacKinnon advocates for nonsubordiantion theory over other theories, like formal equality, substantive equality, and difference theory, because sexual violence and other forms of violence against women are not a question of “sameness and difference”, but rather are best viewed as more central inequalities for women. Though nonsubordination theory has been discussed at great length in evaluating various forms of sexual violence against women, it also serves as basis for understanding domestic violence and why it occurs. Nonsubordination theory tackles the issue of DV as a subset of the broader problem of violence against women because victims are overwhelmingly female.
Proponents of nonsubordiantion theory propose several reasons why it works best to explain domestic abuse. First, there are certain recurring patterns in DV that indicate it is not the result of intense anger or arguments, but rather is a form of subordination. This is evidenced in part by the fact that DV victims are typically abused in a variety of situations and by a variety of means. For instances, victims are sometimes beaten after they have been sleeping or have been separated from the batterer, and often the abuse takes on a financial or emotional form in addition to physical abuse.
Supporters of nonsubordiantion theory use these examples to dispel the notion that battering is always the result of heat of the moment anger or intense arguments occur. Also, batterers often employ manipulative and deliberate tactics when abusing their victims, which can “range from searching for and destroying a treasured object of hers to striking her in areas of her body that do not show bruises (e.g. her scalp) or i n areas where she would be embarrassed to show others her bruises”. These behaviors can be even more useful to a batterer when the batterer and the victim share children, because the batterer often controls the family’s financial assets, making the victim less likely to leave if it would put her children at risk.
A legal scholar, Professor Martha Mahoney, of the University of Miami School of Law, also points to separation assault – a phenomenon where a batterer further assaults a victim who is attempting or has attempted to leave an abusive relationship – as additional evidence that domestic abuse is used to subordinate victims to their batterers. A batterer’s unwillingness to allow the victim to leave the relationship substantiates the idea that violence is being used to force the victim to continue to fulfill the batterer’s wishes that she obey him.
Nonsubordination theorists argue that all of these actions – the variety of abusive behaviors and settings, exploiting the victim’s children, and assault upon separation-suggest a larger problem than merely an inability to properly manage anger, though anger may be a byproduct of these behaviors.
The purpose of these actions is to keep the victim, and sometimes the entire family, subordinates to the batterer, according to nonsubordiantion theory.
A second rationale for using nonsubordination theory to explain domestic violence is that the frequency with which it occurs overpowers the idea that it is merely the result of a batterer’s anger. Professor Mahoney explains that because of the sensationalism generated in media coverage of particularly horrific DV cases, it is difficult for people to conceptualize how frequently DV happens in society. However, DV is a regular occurrence experienced by up to one half of people in the US, and an overwhelming number of victims are female.
The sheer number of domestic abuse victims in the US suggests that it is not merely the result of intimate partners who cannot control their anger. Nonsubordination theorists argue that other forms of feminist legal theory do not offer any explanation for the phenomenon of DV generally or the frequency with which it occurs.
Critics of unsubmissiveness theory complain that it offers no solution to the problems it points out. For example, proponents of nonsubordination theory criticize certain approaches that have been taken to address DV in the legal system, such as mandatory arrest or prosecution policies. These policies take discretion away from law enforcemnt by forcing police officers to arrest suspected DV offenders and prosecutors to persecute those cases.
There is a lot of discourse surrounding mandatory arrest. opponents argue that it undermines a victim’s autonomy, discourages the empowerment of women by discounting other resources available and puts victims at more risk from domestic abuse. States that have implemented mandatory arrest laws have 60% higher homicide rates which have been shown to be consistent with the decline in reporting rates.
Advocates of these policies contend that the criminal justice system is sometimes the only way to reach victims of DV, and that if an offender knows he will be arrested, it will deter future DV conduct. People who endorse nonsubordiantion theory argue that these policies only serve to further subordinate women by forcing them to take a certain course of action, thus compounding the trauma they experienced during the abuse.
However, nonsubordination theory offers no better or more appropriate solutions, which is why some scholars argue that other forms of feminist legal theory are more appropriate to address issues of domestic and sexual violence.
Domestic violence co-occurs with alcohol abuse. Alcohol use has been reported as a factor by two-thirds of domestic abuse victims. Moderate drinkers are more frequently engaged in intimate violence than are light drinkers and abstainers; however, generally it is heavy or binge drinkers who are involved in the most chronic and serious forms of aggression. The odds, frequency, and severity of physical attacks are all positively correlated with alcohol use. In turn, violence decreases after behavioral marital alcoholism treatment.
Possible link to animal abuse
There are studies providing evidence of a link between domestic violence and cruelty to animals. A large national survey by the Norwegian Center for Violence and Traumatic Stress Studies found a “substantial overlap between companion animal and child abuse” and that cruelty to animals “most frequently co-occurred with psychological abuse and less severe forms of physical child abuse, “which “resonates with conceptualizations of domestic abuse as an ongoing pattern of psychological abuse and coercive control.
Remedies to domestic violence
Once a marriage is broken, handling the implications regarding to finances and children can be difficult in itself. But if issues of domestic violence are raised, matters often become far more complicated. Arrangements on how to divide properties or which parent should take custody of the children becomes tricky or impossible. Furthermore, if the domestic abuse is ongoing, achieving any sort of agreement on the way forward may be superseded by more immediate concerns such as how to protect yourself and your children.
If you are experiencing domestic violence, one of the most difficult steps is often acknowledging that you area victim. The legal scope of domestic violence protections is not limited to violence that is physical or sexual in its nature; it also now extends to what is called “coercive or controlling behavior” – essentially psychological and emotional abuse.
The immediate steps to take on the issue of domestic violence are contacting the police and finding somewhere safe to stay. In England and Wales, the police may decide to make a domestic violence protection notice (DVPN) which allows them to put in place protection in the immediate aftermath of a domestic abuse incident. These protections generally ban the alleged perpetrator of violence, with immediate effect, from returning to a residence and from having contact with the victim. The DVPN must be reviewed by a magistrate after 48 hours, who may decide to impose Domestic Violence Protection Order (DVPO) which extends the restrictions for 14 to 28 days.
In Scotland, you can report a domestic violence incident to the local police or access the Domestic Abuse Disclosure Scheme.
In Nigeria, kindly carry your bags to your fathers house from where you start divorce proceedings which might last 20 years before judgment is delivered.
It necessary to ask a legal practitioner about the best way to protect yourself and your family from domestic violence. There are two main legal remedies that can be applied by the court
It’s an order of injunction designed to prevent your partner or ex-partner from being violent or threatening violence, intimidating, harassing or pestering you or your children. It can be made against anyone who has demonstrated these types of behaviors and with whom you have had a close relationship – such as a spouse, civil partner, boyfriend or girlfriend, cohabitee or family member. This type of order can apply to any sort of contact, including by telephone, email, social media.
In Scotland, this type of order is known as a ‘non-harassment order’. A non-harassment order is a type of injunction designed to prevent your partner or ex-partner from deliberately causing you alarm or distress.
It can be made against anyone who is harassing you – such as a spouse, civil partner, boyfriend or girlfriend, cohabitee or family member – however, you must know the identity of the person who is harassing you. this type of order can apply to any sort of contact, including by telephone, email, social media.
This injunction aims to deal with the situation where you are living together in a shared family home with the perpetrator of domestic violence. The court can decide to order them to move out and stay away from the home, or apply specific restrictions such as requiring them to sleep in different bedroom. An occupation order may be granted in addition to a non-molestation order.
In Scotland, this type of order is known as an ‘exclusion order’ and may be granted in addition to a non-harassment order.
Domestic violence and divorce
Sometimes domestic abuses leads to divorce; in other cases, it is a result of divorce. Either way, it can make it impossible to agree on the practical implications of your divorce, such as sorting out finances or deciding on arrangements for your children. You may need to go to court to decide on the important matters, which is often a more lengthy process. If tensions are solved over time, you may then be able to use an online divorce service that can speed up the divorce process.