Domestic Abuse – Trying to Survive

A cold feeling overcomes you as you enter your home. You don’t feel like you belong and there is a fear inside of you that can’t be controlled. You’re scared and you’re alone. You have nothing to look forward to in life, but you are guaranteed a beating for your smallest mistakes. You are a victim of domestic abuse and the battle has only just begun.

Domestic abuse affects all groups regardless of race, religious beliefs, income level, sexual preference, marital status, or age. It is not a single form of maltreatment. It is a combination of all of the abusive behaviors which include sexual, emotional, psychological, financial, physical, and verbal. Repeated abuse has long lasting traumatic effects such as panic attacks, hyper vigilance, sleep disturbances, flashbacks (intrusive memories), suicidal ideation, and psychosomatic symptoms. Victims experience shame, depression, anxiety, embarrassment, guilt, humiliation, abandonment, and an enhanced sense of vulnerability.

Domestic abuse results in death, serious injury, isolation, emotional damage, medical issues and poverty for the victims. It is the leading cause of injury to women, and the leading cause of women’s visits to hospital emergency rooms. Nationally, one half of all homeless women and children are fleeing domestic violence.

Domestic abuse dates back from the time men and women formed monogamous relationships. Domestic abuse is now a crime and women are no longer considered to be the property of a man. The abuse of a woman is ingrained in contemporary social attitudes and so it continues on.

Religious beliefs are a big cause of domestic abuse. Since the day Eve was created from the rib of Adam it provides justification that women have a submissive role within the family. This provides a man with the insinuation that a woman is on a lower scale than a man, and that it is a man’s place to dominate a woman.

Abusers are narcissistic and feel superior, entitled, above any law and agreement, and innocent. They put the blame for their abusive behavior on others usually the victim. Abusers also come from all different backgrounds. They are often charming and charismatic. They can be good parents and employees, and usually have good qualities in addition to abusive qualities.

There is now more help and protection for battered women. Lawsuits against the police have caused the police department to arrest batterers more vigorously. Almost all states have a domestic violence legislation which provides orders of protection for women, and/or criminal remedies for battering. There has been an explosion of law reform to protect battered women.

Although there is more help and more arrests it doesn’t solve the problem all the time. There are many controversial issues pertaining to arresting violators of domestic abuse. Mandatory arrest laws create guidelines for police, batterers and victims, emphasizing that battering is a violent crime and that it will not be tolerated. Even though it will not be tolerated, arresting a batterer does not always solve the problem. Offenders who are released immediately upon booking will be more likely of repeat domestic assault. Arrest can actually increase domestic violence. Short arrests increase the suspect’s anger at society without increasing fear of re-arrest. Battered women feel that the police are ineffective in stopping the abuse, but if arresting the violator only increases the rage, then some are left feeling like what’s the use. In most cases there is a no win situation. Counseling may be the only solution but only if the violator wants the help. Police just have to take a chance at arresting the violators and hope that it will correct the problem.

Why do women stay in an abusive relationship? Traditionally a woman stayed in an abusive relationship because the law provided little means of escape. Seventy-five percent of women killed by partners or ex-partners are murdered while attempting to leave or after leaving the relationship. In other cases women are simply too afraid of change. As in learning to live alone, raising children and dealing with the challenges that go along with it. Some women feel that if they leave their spouses they will never amount to anything and they will live the rest of their lives alone.

Society plays a big role in stopping domestic abuse. It must enforce abuse prevention laws to ensure maximum protection of abuse victims. Society has a clear interest in stopping the abuse. If more people take a stand then domestic abuse may become just a memory.

Dealing with domestic abuse is a horrible way to live your life. No person in a situation such as this should pretend that the problem doesn’t exist. There is help available if you seek it. Help will not come to you if you do not make the problem known. Domestic abuse has been around since the beginning of time and it will be here until the end of time if more actions are not taken to stop it. One person cannot do it alone. Take a stand and end this battle. Don’t you think it’s time?

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