I thought about writing something beautiful and uplifting so we could change gears. There is beauty all around us. Then, I thought, ‘no.’ It is the best time to talk about this pervasive problem, as it is related to what is going on in the streets of the US today. Violence and murder.
Awareness is the first step toward change. Out of sight out of mind mentality allows people to bury the problem. It takes a village to overcome obstacles. It is an immoral mindset that allows one to think we are an island: “If it’s not happening to me, it’s not my problem.” Worse is victim-blaming: “She got into her mess. Let her get out of it.”
Learn by the hard knocks of life… If this is your moral code, keep reading. You need to understand how far you have fallen from the human being, you were before you were corrupted.
The reasons someone feels free to commit domestic violence/abuse has to do with one’s mentality, social upbringing, belief system, and is an issue of wanting to dominate and control another person. It is not a problem of anger management. It goes much deeper.
- Domestic violence is a social problem. It is rooted in social values that place importance on people having power over others and allowing violence against women and other groups to occur with minimal and/or inconsistent punishment.
- Domestic violence is not caused by drugs or alcohol, mental illness, being “provoked,” stress, or poor anger management. Abuse is a purposeful and deliberate behavior aimed at gaining power and control over another person. (National Resource Center for Domestic Violence, Washington, D.C., 2019).
This trouble is not only in western culture or only in the US. It is everywhere in every culture and on every continent. Statistics are alarming: In Australia, one woman per week is killed by her male partner, be her husband or boyfriend. In either case, we wonder, why didn’t he leave the relationship?
In the US: The number of homicides (murder) due to domestic violence rose to 2,237 in 2017, a 19 percent increase from the 1,875 killed in 2014, said James Alan Fox, a criminologist and professor of criminal justice at Northeastern University and an author of the research. The majority of victims in 2017, were women, a total of 1,527. (New York Times 2019).
Domestic abuse definition. Read and memorize this list of the various forms of abuse as defined and punishable by law:
- Physical Abuse is hitting, slapping, punching, shoving, kicking, burning, strangulating, choking, using weapons or other objects to cause injury.
- Sexual Abuse is forcing a partner to engage in unwanted sexual acts; refusing to practice safe sex; treating a partner like a sex object.
- Emotional Abuse is name-calling/putdowns; denying/shifting blaming; treating a partner as an inferior; threatening to harm self/others or to have a partner deported; abusing children or pets; stalking; using threatening looks, actions or gestures; using technology to track, monitor or frighten.
- Economic Abuse: Stealing or destroying belongings/money; preventing a partner from getting or keeping a job; not letting the partner know about or have access to family income; damaging or ruining a partner’s credit. (NRCD, Ibid.,)
Let us get this into perspective: “Between 2000 and 2006, 3,200 American soldiers were killed in combat. During that same period, in the United States, more than three times as many women died at the hands of their husbands and boyfriends.” (NRCD, Ibid.,)
We fail each other by not paying attention to what is going on in our: extended family’s life, neighbors, and especially our co-workers. The least we can do is offer help. We do not have to confront or intervene putting ourselves in danger. Help could be to take or pick up someone or something; offer to contact a temporary shelter for the victim who wants out of danger and into safety; make a pertinent phone call.
There are many outreach services in the US. (Please see the NRCD’s website here and see its links to outside resources.)
If the victim wants to press charges the abuser will be arrested and have a domestic violence record that can prevent them from entering or living in certain countries.
The women’s movement has to date done nothing to help establish laws that would guarantee women recourse for immediate lawful intervention in the case of domestic violence/abuse. To date, there is no set monetary settlement upon divorce other than what one can fight for through long court processes which is determined by how much money you have, to hire a lawyer. For many decades police officers have been skittish to make domestic violence calls. However, today if domestic violence is even suspected by a medical professional in the US, and even here in the Middle East, the physician is by law required to contact social services who will intervene on behalf of the victim. If the victim wants to press charges the abuser will be arrested and have a domestic violence record that can prevent them from entering or living in certain countries. Such a criminal record can also oust them from wherever they committed the crime, and their victim will be allowed to stay.
Women who are caught in domestic abuse are often unemployed and are thus more likely to feel trapped. Thus, we are ill advising girls, our daughters, to remain unemployed. Have some source of income. We need better laws to protect women and children in the home. We need to educate our youth, male and female, that it is immoral to lord over others. Most importantly, women: know who you are getting involved with before you are in too deep. It is simply too easy to get involved with the wrong person, and sometimes impossible to get away from them.