Monday, 12 December 2011

The "domestic part doesn't matter. Violence is violence





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:


Cultural
_ 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


Economic
_ 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


Legal
_ 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)

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