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Domestic violence is an issue that should be taken seriously by everyone

This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Zimmerman 1 Domestic violence is a global issue reaching across national boundaries as well as socio-economic, cultural, racial and class distinctions. This problem is not only widely dispersed geographically, but its incidence is also extensive, making it a typical and accepted behavior.

Domestic violence is wide spread, deeply ingrained and has serious impacts on women's health and well-being. Its continued existence is morally indefensible. Its cost to individuals, to health systems and to society is enormous.

  • Domestic violence act - A portal of hope;
  • And when there is a conviction, media reports suggest that sentencing can be lenient;
  • In the United States, total loss adds up to 12;
  • The Millennium Development Goal regarding girls' education, gender equality and the empowerment of women reflects the international community's recognition that health, development, and gender equality issues are closely interconnected;
  • Domestic violence The most recent findings of the Crime Survey for England and Wales show that women are more likely to say that they have experienced domestic abuse than men, with an estimated 1;
  • Similarly, the execution and impact of programs must be assessed in order to provide the necessary background for policy-making and planning.

Yet no other major problem of public health has been so widely ignored and so little understood. Domestic violence can be described as the power misused by one adult in a relationship to control another.

It is the establishment of control and fear in a relationship through violence and other forms of abuse. This violence can take the form of physical assault, psychological abuse, social abuse, financial abuse, or sexual assault. The frequency of the violence can be on and off, occasional or chronic. It is a pattern of coercive control that one person exercises over another. Susan Scheter, Visionary leader in the movement to end family violence 3 The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 says that any act, conduct, omission or commission that harms or injures or has the potential to harm or injure will be considered domestic violence by the law.

Even a single act of omission or commission may constitute domestic violence - in other words, women do not have to suffer a prolonged period of abuse before taking recourse to law. The law covers children also. However, most commonly, the victims are women, especially in our country.

Problem Statement Domestic violence is the most common form of violence against women. It affects women across the life span from sex selective abortion of female fetuses to forced suicide and abuse, and is evident, to some degree, in every society in the world. The survey indicated that, nationwide, 37. It was followed by Madhya Pradesh 45. Violence in India kills and disables as many women between the ages of 15 and 44 years as cancer and its toll on women's health surpasses that of traffic accidents and malaria combined.

What Leads to Domestic Violence?

Addressing Domestic Violence Against Women: An Unfinished Agenda

Domestic violence against women is an age old phenomenon. Women were always considered weak, vulnerable and in a position to be exploited. Violence has long been accepted as something that happens to women. Cultural mores, religious practices, economic and political conditions may set the precedence for initiating and perpetuating domestic violence, but ultimately committing an act of violence is a choice that the individual makes out of a range of options. Although one cannot underestimate the importance of macro system-level forces such as cultural and social norms in the etiology of gender-based violence within any country, including India, individual-level variables such as observing violence between one's parents while growing up, absent or rejecting father, delinquent peer associations also play important roles in the development of such violence.

The gender imbalance in domestic violence is partly related to differences in physical strength and size. Moreover, women are socialized into their gender roles in different societies throughout the world.

In societies with a patriarchal power structure and with rigid gender roles, women are often poorly equipped to protect themselves if their partners become violent. However, much of the disparity relates to how men-dependence and fearfulness amount to a cultural disarmament. Husbands who batter wives typically feel that they are exercising a right, maintaining good order in the family and punishing their wives' delinquency - especially the wives' failure to keep their proper place.

Domestic violence is a major contributor to the ill health of women. It has serious consequences on women's mental and physical health, including their reproductive and sexual health. These include injuries, gynecological problems, temporary or permanent disabilities, depression and suicide, amongst others. Over both the short term and long term, women's physical injuries and mental trouble either interrupts, or ends, their educational and career paths leading to poverty and economic dependence.

Family life gets disrupted which has a significant effect on children, including poverty if divorce or separation occurs and a loss of faith and trust in the institution of the family.

These sequelae not only affect the quality of life of individuals and communities, but domestic violence is an issue that should be taken seriously by everyone have long-term effects on social order and cohesion. In the United States, total loss adds up to 12. For example, women who were subject to violent attacks during childhood are bothered by menstrual problems and irritable bowel syndrome in later life. Studies conducted in North India have shown elevated odd's ratio of gynecological symptoms, while comparing women with husbands reporting no domestic violence and women who experienced physical and sexual violence.

It may be attributed to the fact that abusive men were more likely to engage in extra marital sex and acquire STDs, there by placing their wives at risk of acquiring STDs. There was also lesser condom use reported among such men. Besides this, research has shown that battered women are subject to twice the risk of miscarriage and four times the risk of having a baby that is below average weight.

In some places, violence also accounts for a sizeable portion of maternal deaths. Quantifying psychological abuse is extremely difficult, and very few studies have been conducted to establish prevalence rates of this type of violence. Qualitative studies that have been undertaken conclude that it is just as damaging to one's health to be continuously psychologically abused as it is to be physically abused.

Undermining an individual's sense of self esteem can have serious mental and physical health consequences and has been identified as a major reason for suicide. For some women, the incessant insults and tyrannies which constitute emotional abuse may be more painful than the physical attacks because they effectively undermine women's security and self-confidence.

It has devastating consequences for the women who experience it and a traumatic effect on those who witness it, particularly children. As they develop, children and teens who grow up with domestic violence in the household are: Economic dependence has been found to be the central reason.

Without the ability to sustain themselves economically, women are forced to stay in abusive relationships and are not able to be free from violence. Due to deep-rooted values and culture, women do not prefer to adopt the option of separation or divorce.

They also fear the consequences of reporting violence and declare an unwillingness to subject themselves to the shame of being identified as battered women. Lack of information about alternatives also forces women to suffer silently within the four walls of their homes.

Other women refrain from speaking about the abuse because they fear that their partner will further harm them in reprisal for revealing family secrets, or they may be ashamed of their situation. Violence against women is a violation of basic human rights. It is shameful for the states that fail to prevent it and societies that tolerate and in fact perpetuate it.

It must be eliminated through political will, and by legal and civil action in all sectors of society. Addressing Domestic Violence An effective response to violence must be multi-sectoral; addressing the immediate practical needs of women experiencing abuse; providing long-term follow up and assistance; and focusing on changing those cultural norms, attitudes and legal provisions that promote the acceptance of and even encourage violence against women, and undermine women's enjoyment of their full human rights and freedoms.

The health sector has unique potential to deal with violence against women, particularly through reproductive health services, which most women will access at some point in their lives. However, this potential is far from being realized. Few doctors, nurses or other health personnel have the awareness and the training to identify violence as the underlying cause of women's health problems. The health sector can play a vital role in preventing violence against women, helping to identify abuse early, providing victims with the necessary treatment and referring women to appropriate care.

Health services must be places where women feel safe, are treated with respect, are not stigmatized, and where they can receive quality, informed support. A comprehensive health sector response to the problem is needed, in particular addressing the reluctance of abused women to seek help. Public health personnel can play a vital role in addressing this issue. Since violence against women is both a consequence and a cause of gender inequality, primary prevention programs that address gender inequality and tackle the root causes of violence are all essential.

Public health workers have a responsibility to build awareness by creating and disseminating materials and innovative audio-visual messages, which project a positive image of girl child and women in the society.

An integrated media campaign covering electronic, print and film media that portrays domestic violence as unacceptable is the need of the hour.

The role of increasing male responsibility to end domestic violence needs to be emphasized.

  1. And when there is a conviction, media reports suggest that sentencing can be lenient.
  2. But these statistics are compiled from the answers to a questionnaire, which is filled in on a laptop by respondents aged 16 to 59 years old. Violence has long been accepted as something that happens to women.
  3. The survivors of domestic violence can be involved in program planning and implementation in order to ensure accessibility and effectiveness. Similarly, the execution and impact of programs must be assessed in order to provide the necessary background for policy-making and planning.

Programs are required which intend to address battered women's needs, including those that focus on building self-efficacy and livelihood skills.

The significance of informal and local community networks should be acknowledged in this regard. The survivors of domestic violence can be involved in program planning and implementation in order to ensure accessibility and effectiveness. The public health experts have a vital role to play in networking with NGOs and voluntary organizations and creation of social support networks.

The public health experts have a potential to train personnel specialized to address the needs of victims of domestic violence. In the field of research, public health personnel can contribute by conducting studies on the ideological and cultural aspects which give rise to and perpetuate the phenomenon of domestic violence.

Similarly, the execution and impact of programs must be assessed in order to provide the necessary background for policy-making and planning. However, the health sector must work with all other sectors including education, legal and judicial, and social services.

It also defines repeated insults, ridiculing or name-calling, and demonstrations of obsessive possessiveness and jealousy of a partner as domestic violence. The big challenge in front now is to enforce it in true sense. Concerted and co-ordinated multisectoral efforts are key methods of enacting change and responding to domestic violence at local and national levels. The Millennium Development Goal regarding girls' education, gender equality and the empowerment of women reflects the international community's recognition that health, development, and gender equality issues are closely interconnected.

Hence the responses to the problem must be based on integrated approach. The effectiveness of measures and initiatives will depend on coherence and co ordination associated with their design and implementation. The issue of domestic violence must be brought into open and examined as any other preventable health problem, and best remedies available be applied.

Footnotes Conflict of Interest: Plates in a basket will rattle: Domestic violence in Combodia, Phnom Pehn. The Asia Foundation; 1994. Multi country study on Women's health and domestic violence against women. World Health Organization; 2007. Older women can be victims too. Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Govt of India; Fact Sheet: Rising domestic violence [last cited on 2007 Mar 5], [last updated on 2007 Mar 16] 8.

Two- third married Indian women victims of domestic violence. A priority public health issue in western Pacific region.