What is domestic violence?
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary definition, domestic violence is: "the inflicting of physical injury by one family or household member on another; also: a repeated or habitual pattern of such behavior."
The term "intimate partner violence" (IPV) is often used synonymously with domestic abuse/domestic violence. Family violence is a broader definition, often used to include , child abuse, elder abuse, and other
violent acts between family members Wife abuse, wife beating, and battering are descriptive terms that have lost popularity recently for at least two reasons:
There is acknowledgment that many victims are not actually married to the abuser, but rather cohabiting or in other arrangements.
Abuse can take other forms than physical abuse. Other forms of abuse may be constantly occurring, while
physical abuse happens occasionally.
Males as well as females are victims of domestic violence.
Factors That Perpetuate Domestic Violence:
_ Gender-specific socialization
_ Cultural definitions of appropriate sex roles
_ Expectations of roles within relationships
_ Belief in the inherent superiority of males
_ Values that give men proprietary rights over women and girls
_ Notion of the family as the private sphere and under male control
_ Customs of marriage (bride price/dowry)
_ Acceptability of violence as a means to resolve conflict
_ Women’s economic dependence on men
_ Limited access to cash and credit
_ Discriminatory laws regarding inheritance, property rights, use of Communal lands and maintenance after
divorce or widowhood
_ Limited access to employment in formal and informal sectors
_ Limited access to education and training for women
_ Lesser legal status of women either by written law and/or by practice
_ Laws regarding divorce, child custody, maintenance and inheritance
_ Legal definitions of rape and domestic abuse
_ Low levels of legal literacy among women
_ insensitive treatment of women and girls by police and judiciary Political
_ Under-representation of women in power, politics, the media and in the Legal and medical professions
_ Domestic violence not taken seriously
_ Notions of family being private and beyond control of the state
_ Risk of challenge to status quo/religious laws
_ Limited organization of women as a political force
_ Limited participation of women in organized political system (Source: Heise. 1994)