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Domestic violence

Humans are social creatures that find solace within others, most display this by engaging themselves in relationships. Relationships are very abstract, no two relationships are the same, but there must be one important commonality: love. Love comes in many different shapes and sizes, but the ability to give oneself to another unconditionally is a clear form of what love should be. When love is not clear though, that’s when things take a much darker turn. Domestic Violence is a pressing matter that should be addressed. It is a dark and aggressive side to relationships that can be overlooked, as it is not something that can always be spotted easily. It can happen and has happened to men and women alike. Whether they are in homosexual or heterosexual relationships, there is no discrimination, when it comes to domestic violence. Society should be educated on the signs, ways to get help, and the individuals it can and has affected daily. Society is exposed to domestic violence on an everyday basis. Whether it be from social media, movies, television dramas, and books, it is inescapable. Domestic violence, which is usually used as shock factor, is a prevalent issue within today’s society and is happening everywhere. Though, what drives a person to cause harm to another, especially one that they are supposed to care for and love? There are many different theories to what causes domestic violence. Factors such as: childhood exposure, economic status and how much power one has and even gender roles that have been around for ages, play a major part of the violence. Being able to delve into these factors that cause these underlying issues, could influence the ability to identify perpetrators of domestic violence. The first theory to explore is childhood exposure, children do not know right from wrong and will always be the product of their environment. If seeing the adults in their lives doing wrong and only being exposed to that, it’ll cause issues in their later adult life. Witnessing domestic violence, is not only being apart of it, sometimes, it’s seeing it and simply watching the aftermath (Feroz, Jami, & Masood, 2015, p. 324). Being exposed to domestic violence causes children to regard violence as a solution to problems, when dealing with conflict (Feroz, Jami, & Masood, 2015, p. 324). Being exposed to domestic violence is comparable to child abuse because the trauma is severe on the psyche. Being exposed to domestic violence becomes a pathway to abusive romantic relationships later in their adult lives (Feroz, Jami, & Masood, 2015, p. 325). Unfortunately, being exposed at early stages of childhood/adolescent life, means that there is a higher percentage that they’ll become the perpetrators, seeing as they know nothing else and think violence is the answer to issues (Feroz, Jami, & Masood, 2015, p. 325). While child exposure can be prevalent towards domestic violence, economic status can also come into play. Those who are of higher power (i.e. more money, materialistic things, socially) do not have to resort to violence, per say (Doak, 2009). They have the things they need and want, without much barrier. Though, those with lack of education and low income, might use intimidation/violence to compensate for their lack of resources and to keep their dominance (Doak, 2009). This was proven by the National Family Violence Survey in 1985. It was shown that families that were living in poverty or had poorer life styles, were more prone to abusive behaviors between spouses (Doak, 2009). There is plausible reason to why domestic rate is so high in poorer communities; the reason being, poorer communities have less police notification, attention, and documentation (Doak, 2009). Though even with those factors, there is an old age issue that is also a reason for domestic violence: gender roles. They have been around for countless ages, it is a belief that women and men have certain responsibilities and duties bestowed solely on that gender. Men and women’s roles in society are embedded deeply in a patriarchy (York, 2011, p.15), each of them has characteristics that put them against each other. Women are timid and value emotions and their relationships, while men are seen to value thinking and performance, but are aggressive (York, 2011, p.15). These roles under the patriarchy, while being extremely toxic, has also created the concept of men being aggressive when they are on the poverty side of socio-economics. When men do not have the ability to fit in the desired mold of ‘masculinity’, they will engage in partner violence, amongst other things to restore their masculine role (York, 2011, p.16). To understand the patriarchy, it is important to study the relationships between man and woman. There are many types of relationships between people. One of the most common are heterosexual relationships. While there is no sole gender that experiences abuse, in most cases men are the cause of repeated assaults, while women are the victim (Knight, 2007). Domestic abuse happens to all women regardless of their walk of life and still many myths surround the idea of domestic violence. These myths include the notion that women ‘deserve it’, that it is a ‘private’ matter between significant others, or even that women purposely seek out abusive men (Knight, 2007). Yet those myths are not fact, not only having to endure abuse of all kinds (physical, emotional, sexual, and financial), their abusers can use tactics (intimidation, social isolation, humiliation, and murder) to keep them trapped within their relationships (Knight, 2007). Yet, besides those tactics, there are other reasons that they stay. The fear of victimization, deportation, consequences for their significant other/family member if they tell, and what will happen to their children (Knight, 2007). Yet, this dynamic is not found in only heterosexual relationships. Homosexual relationships, the relationship of two people of the same gender are also found to have ties to domestic abuse. Homosexual couples, of both genders, have been found to be like those in heterosexual couples, in terms of dynamics (Knight, 2007). In a study, that looked at both heterosexual/homosexual couples, it was found that domestic abuse was much higher than in heterosexual counter parts (Tesch, Bekerian, English, & Harrington, 2010, p.527). The reason why the domestic abuse rate is high, is due to misconceptions that create the idea that only gay couples experience abuse. Lesbian domestic violence does occur, yet the idea is that they do not because women are not violent in nature, so therefore are not violent towards each other (Tesch, Bekerian, English, & Harrington, 2010, p.527). Another misconception is that heterosexual couple abuse is more severe, because those in lesbian relationships, do not have a man to overpower the woman, and the roles are very clear- that the ones who over power have to be’ butch’ or men, while the victims are ‘femme’ or women (Tesch, Bekerian, English, & Harrington, 2010, p.527). It even harder for those in homosexual relationships to seek help, as they often feel discriminated against, so instead of seeking help from police and social services, they stay quiet (Knight 2007). Yet, not only those in homosexual relationships are quiet about their abuse. Men too, are victims of domestic abuse. Domestic abuse figures are men vary greatly, so it is hard to tell how many victims are male, but according to the “British Crime Survey for 2001-2002, 19 per cent of domestic violence” victims were in fact, male (Knight, 2009). It is believed that victims who are male, find it difficult to report considering the stereotypes that tie into masculinity and vulnerability (Knight, 2009). Regardless of gender or sexual orientation though, one must be equipped with the ability to spot domestic violence. It is important to be able to identify signs in order to help others and yourself, if need be. According to White Ribbon Charity, there are many different types of abuse and various ways to spot domestic abuse.

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