What is family violence?
Family violence, or sometimes known as domestic violence, is a terrible thing. It is an act of physical, emotional, and verbal abuse done towards a member of the family by another member of the family. These acts of violence are sometimes sexual and/or brutal, and would often result in fatalities (suicides or murder). Psychologists have long wondered man’s capability to be violent towards members of their family, and with the current lifestyle of stress and hardship going on in society today; domestic violence is pretty much unavoidable.
Mark and Jane have been together since high school and got married just last year in what everyone dubbed as a “fairy tale wedding”. One might think that a relationship as long as theirs (spanning almost 15 years) would result in a happy marriage. The first few years of their marriage were like a fairy tale in itself, but things spiralled downwards the moment soon after. The increasing debt, the loss of a job, and the alcohol has caused Mark to be violent towards Jane and their 3 year old daughter, Mary. Mark would often come home drunk and use his wife as a punching bag in front of their daughter. One fateful day, Mark has finally lost it and decided to unload two bullets to the head of his wife and 2 to his daughter before shooting himself. No one expected things would ever end this way, especially for Jane and Mary. This is the extreme of family violence. Would people have been able to do something about it? Would Mary be capable of stopping it on its tracks? The answer to both of these questions is YES!
The reasons behind family and domestic violence
According to psychologists, domestic and family violence begins when one member of the family feels the urgent need to dominate or control the other/s. Abusers are doing this because of their low self-esteem, jealousy, difficulties in controlling their temper and anger, and often times inferior because of the success of their partner. Domination would often come in the form of physical, verbal, and sexual abuse. Studies have shown that violent and aggressive behaviour is caused by an interaction of individual and situational factors. This means that the abusers have learned the violent behaviour because they’ve seen it themselves when they were children or exposed to it within their socio-cultural environment. Sometimes, they are also products of a violent family; children who grew up in a violent environment would believe that violence is the only way to resolve conflicts between two adults. This mentality would have an impact on the development of the child. Alcohol and substance abuse are also factors that could trigger family and domestic violence, as stated in the example in the paragraph above. Drunk or intoxicated individuals are less likely to control their tempers and violent behaviour.
The impact of family violence
A boy would treat girls as objects and to be the centre of disrespect and not to be valued. Boys often imitate how their fathers act, so it’s only natural for them to inherit the violent and aggressive behaviour towards members of the family. Girls who become victims of child abuse would often find the cycle repeating once they get married.
Prevention of family violence
Domestic and family violence can be stopped in its tracks before it’s too late. Sometimes, the smallest actions can mean the difference between altruism and apathy.
1.) Watch out for your partner – All problems can be resolved if people actually took the time to listen. Communication is important between spouses and it’s important that they maintain a strong line so that it enables them to have a proper outlet of frustration, anger, or disappointment. Maybe your husband is spending his time drinking because no one listens to him, or maybe something’s bothering him to the point that he can’t talk to anyone about it. Take the time to talk with your spouse before it gets out of hand.
2.) Leave before it’s too late – When your partner becomes too angry easily and vents it out by punching walls or throwing stuff, it’s time that you hightailed it and ran. Take your kids and go to your parent’s house before it’s too late. Today, it could be just walls but tomorrow it could be you or your kids. Your safety and the safety of your children are more important than the sanctity of your marriage. Marriage vows often end in “till death do us part”, but it doesn’t mean that you have to die by his hands before you can leave him.
3.) Seek help – When you become the victim of domestic violence, don’t hide in the dark and continue to take on the hits. Victims often believe by blind faith that the hitting will stop, but it won’t. You have friends and family, so don’t hesitate to tell them about what you’re going through. I have seen victims of abuse who were never able to recover properly from the trauma because they never talked about it. Release is the best way to deal with trauma and the best way to release is to talk about it. Local authorities like the police have the power to take your husband away for his actions.
4.) Be vocal against family violence – There are countless organizations and charities that are geared towards the prevention of family violence. Some of them are even working together with clinics and welfare centres to help victims recover from traumatizing events.
Nothing good ever comes out of family violence. It won’t keep your family strong or your marriage intact. Violence will only breed more violence and it will turn itself into its own world within the four corners of your home. Violence is like a snowball on top of a snowy mountain; as it rolls downhill, it builds up its size and momentum, and continues to grow exponentially. The good news here is that violence can be prevented with the right approach and sometimes, even the past can be rectified.