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Domestic violence is a pattern of repeated behavior whereby there is a violent tendency of any other form of abuse conducted by one person in the domestic context. The violence involves the partner being subjected to harassment but most importantly, it entails the use of force on the pattern with the aim of the infliction pain. Domestic violence occurs in the society even when the involved parties are not related to each by a legal marriage. Therefore, violence against a partner that is in a relationship based on cohabitation is also part of domestic violence. The underlying aspect that defines any act of violence as domestic violence is the fact that there is a conjugal relationship between the parties.
Contrary to the common perception, domestic violence also entails all the acts of violence preferred or brought against the male partner. Cases of women being the perpetrators of domestic violence are rare and mostly isolated. However, they also fall under the defining of domestic violence. Therefore, the feminist perception or popularized version of domestic violence whereby the women are the victims and not the perpetrators is flawed in principle. However, the most common form of domestic violence is comprised of women being the victims.
The perception of the public on domestic violence is different from communities depending on the practices and culture of the community. For example, some of the communities and religion allow the men to beat their wives in the event that they purport that they are irrational, disrespectful and non-submissive. This means that the decision locus of the actions that fall under the violations mentioned above is under the control of the man. Subjective determination of the actions that are insubordinate or disrespectful to the husband creates a difficult question of what situation justifies the husband to abuse the wife.
The fact that the society or a certain community allows the practice does not make it right. It is a violation of the law of the land, and the law applies in all situations regardless of the community practices. In other communities, abusing the wife leads to automatic jail time. However, even in such communities, there is no way of determining with certainty the aspects that justify some actions. A case could be argued in different ways, and the verdict could be a vindication or a sentence.
Perspective of the victims creates a different kind of problem when it comes to arguing the domestic violence cases. Victims have the advantage in domestic violence, and accountability of the perpetrator since the actual proceedings seeking justice for the acts of violence have to be instituted by the victim (Birkland, 2011). Therefore, his or her perception of the events that led to the domestic violence is part of the tipping point in the argument for or against the accountability of the perpetrator ('Relations among Adolescents’ Domestic Violence, School Violence, Depression-Anxiety, and Suicide', 2012). For instance, the victims in communities that have embraced the vice often apportion most of the blame to themselves. They often victimize themselves again by looking at what they did or did not do. The victims’ perceptions do not extol the violence since no one appreciates being violated in any way. However, they give excuses that aim to exonerate the perpetrators.
Exoneration of the partner is often conducted at the expense of the victim. This means that the majority of the victims are not willing to come out and state that their spouses have been abusing them. Most of them are content to suffer in silence since coming out to explain their plight could be counterproductive more so in the communities that have a high tolerance for the domestic violence.
Additionally, the victim’s perspectives on domestic violence are often affected by the social standing of the family. This is a common phenomenon more so when the victim is a woman. Women tend to bear the burden of keeping their family intact. Coming out and stating that they are in an abusive relationship is tantamount to crushing the family. They pride themselves for being the sole glue that keeps the family intact. They often chose to bear the abuse at the expense of ensuring that their families are still intact. This is the common phenomenon in the religious families. The women from these families often try to mask their pain in the bliss of good model family. The suppression of the actual details of how their partners are abusing them is a small price that they have to pay to maintain the social perspective that the rest of the community has about them.
Executives often hide the fact that they are in an abusive relationship since they are accustomed to being in control. The fact that they are victims of domestic abuse challenges the face that they put in the workplace. They would rather immerse themselves in work and maintain their image as the strong women in the office as opposed to coming out and stating that they are being violated at their homes. They give the excuse of privacy, and they are often keen on hiding their real fears from the workplace.
The façade of calm and composure often gives a misleading perception. They secretly wish for a moment to vent out their fears and frustrations. However, their competitive nature often leads to the development of the perception that the audience of their venting will judge them differently from the accustomed way. The strong women try to maintain their public image so much that they eventually ignore the real selves and fall into depression. The practice of saving face by the victims is the main cause of the depression and burnout among women that have had a history of abuse. The burnout could lead to depression and utter failure of the family. Ironically, the goal of the women to save their faces does not materialize since the charade does not go on forever. Eventually, they get a burnout and their story comes out.
Therefore, victims of domestic violence have different perspectives on the justification of domestic violence ('Relations among Adolescents’ Domestic Violence, School Violence, Depression-Anxiety, and Suicide', 2012). They often find themselves dealing with the issue of public image and the associated stigmatization that comes with confession of being battered. Men are particularly less likely to confess their battering or violation status since the society is not accustomed to men being the victims of domestic violence. These aspects lead to the development of a bunch of victims that are secluded from the society out of fear of the societal stigmatization. They are also most likely to get into the state of depression since the ordeals that they go through eventually affect their tenacity to the point of breaking down.
Communal and societal perception towards domestic violence is the main aspect that influences the prevalence of the vice in the majority of the societies. Whenever women come out about their harassment, they are often stigmatized by the society whereby the perception of the society is that the women may have caused the end of the marriage or relationship. The society is always quick to judge the women for the violence met them (Birkland, 2011). This perception and tendency make most of the women suffer in silence since the suffering is a better fate than being ostracized by the community.
Due to the limited expression of the violence in the society, the majority of women end up being victimized continuously until when the extent of the abuse is too high to be hidden from the public. The perpetrators are often capable of running from the law since the victims do not report the incidences of abuse to the authorities for the reasons mentioned above. Therefore, the ability of the victims to come out is the predicate of the perpetrator accountability. In the high stigma societies, the victims often do not have the chance of expressing themselves. In these circumstances, the perpetrator accountability is untenable.
Contradictory explanations of domestic violence
Understanding of the cause of domestic violence helps in the development of interventions that have a chance of improving the situation. Understanding of the cause helps the communities come up with the best approach to victims that will aid in their recovery and the trial and conviction of the perpetrators of the violence. Understanding reduces the conflicting responses to the incidences of violence hence reducing the chances of stigmatization of the victims.
One camp argues that the main cause of domestic violence is in the psychopathy of the men that perpetrate the different forms of violence. The perpetrators were perceived to be ill, and their actions were not possible it the situation was different. The perception means that the perpetrators can be cured of the condition using therapy and psychiatric treatment. However, this perspective was flawed since the batters only attack their partners. The patients suffering from other medical conditions do not selectively attack people that they have an intimate relationship with. This argument has been faulted by the evidence of other mental patients with violent tendencies ('Relations among Adolescents’ Domestic Violence, School Violence, Depression-Anxiety, and Suicide', 2012).
The other argument in this cam that explains the actions of violence according to the mental health perspective is that the women in the abusive relationships are ill that is why their spouses batter them. The basis of this argument was distorted research on the institutionalized women. However, the reality is different since the victims are rarely mentally ill. The majority of the women that are institutionalized are in the hospitals due to the wrong diagnoses based on a wrong foundation. The hospitalization of the victims comes from the failure of the community to understand the effects of violence on the victims. Therefore, their mental state is a result and not the cause of the domestic violence.
The next camp on the cause of domestic violence opined that the main motivations for the violence were acquired or learned from the practices of the society. The camp argues that the exposure to domestic violence creates an inclination towards the violence (Birkland, 2011). The men learn how to be violent from the observations on their fathers abusing their parents. Women enter abusive relationships to fulfill their need to be like their mothers whom they witness their abuse. The theory of the domestic violence being a learned thing is partially true. In the case of the men, if they witnessed violence in the society they are most likely going to ape the practice of their respective society and carry it with them to their marriages. However, in the case of women, the exposure to violence at the formative year’s do not necessarily acts as a predicate to the tolerance leave alone seeking out violence.
Witnessing any act is a way of gaining information. The men get a different image when they witness violence against their mothers. Witnessing violence makes most men vow that they will not subject their partners to the same ordeal that their mothers had to undergo. However, witnessing violence of any kind is a way of learning ('Relations among Adolescents’ Domestic Violence, School Violence, Depression-Anxiety, and Suicide', 2012). The prevalence of domestic violence in a society may send the message to the young boys that they have the right to control their wives. The message being also conveyed indicates that the men can enforce their control by use of violence. The above perceptions lead to the development of an attitude of tolerance towards the acts of violence. They may also develop the need to ape the society’s was in a bid to fit in and follow the traditions.
The fact that the boys learnt the violence does not mean that they cannot unlearn it. The learning theory of domestic violence also correlates to the perception that men lose their control when they are intoxicated. Some of the theorists argue that the cause of domestic violence comes from the frustrations of the men. The society has gendered expectations. The expectations have to be often met by the men, and if they are incapable of meeting them, they are judged harshly. In this case, the men seek to assert their control even when they have not attained the societal expectations.
However, the loss of control perception on the cause of violence against women is not well founded since the batterer’s behaviors contradict the assertion. In the real world, other people could be out of control (Winick, Wiener, Castro, Emmert & Georges, 2010). The batterers do not attack them even when they feel that they have the justifiable causes of attacking. Therefore, the assumption that the attacks on the women are due to the loss of control is a fallacy. However, the out of control theory could be applicable since at home the man has the ultimate power over the woman. This means that he will vent out all his frustrations on her if he gets the opportunity and excuse.
Available policy options
The government has come up with policies meant to cushion the women against the prevalence of domestic violence. The office of women health is part of the United States department of health and human services. The department works to ensure that it curbs the violence against women and girls. The office undertakes this duty by creating model programs and setting up policies meant to protect women and girls from being the victims of domestic violence. The office was set up to coordinate the action on gender-based violence in the states and local agencies.
The office was established to provide the public with the necessary resources to meet the needs of the families affected by the domestic violence. The office focuses on all kinds of violence directed towards the women in the United States. The office is mandated to deal with the issue facing women in general, and violence is just but one of the many issues that plague the modern American women. Some of the policies that the office has proposed the engagement of men as partners in the prevention of violence, it also focuses on the issue such as sexual assault against women in the domestic context and offers ways of ensuring that they are not replicated.
The work of the office is also extended to cover the violence directed at women with disabilities. “It Is On Us” is one of the campaigns initiated by the department to ensure that the women are protected against all sorts of sexual assault. The campaign is relevant to the issue of domestic violence since there are different forms of sexual assaults that can be caused by the men to their spouses. The camping educates the women on how to handle some of the sexual assault incidences that may be classified as rapes such as date rape and statutory rape. The information also received guides the women on what to do in the event that they are victims of sexual assault in their marriage or cohabitation.
The second campaign instituted by the office is the “Project Connect”. This is a nationwide campaign aiming at the prevention of violence against women. The project targets the health service providers. It imparts them with the knowledge of how to react to reports of domestic violence made by women in all ages. The project covers the adolescent health in case the violence is directed towards them; reproductive health providers to deal with issues such as statutory rape and date rape and native health services that are licensed to offer the health care to natives. The project helps in the deterrence of unplanned pregnancies and other medical conditions that may afflict the victims.
The project also extends to the communities that were traditionally undeserved (minorities). Interventions conducted under the policy have reduced the risk of recurrence of the violence while protecting the women against the ramifications of domestic violence. Current policies have leaned towards the protection of the female victims of domestic violence as proposed to the inclusivity. The realization that domestic violence does not work in one direct only is important in order for the government and other policymakers to focus on the development of the inclusive policies. The policies have to be made with the spectrum of the affected members in mind as opposed to a section of the victims.
Which level of state is best equipped to implement your policy?
Just like the office for women issues, the policy has to be implemented at the national level. There are numerous reasons for taking the issue to that level. One of the most predominant reasons for the implementation level to be high is the prevalence of acts of domestic violence against women and men alike. All people in the nation are exposed to the risk irrespective of the location. The only qualifying aspect of exposure to domestic violence is the fact that the person is in the relationship or cohabiting with another of the opposite sex. Another emerging issue is the cases of domestic violence among the homosexual couples. The inclusion of all the people that have a relationship is important regardless of the nature of the relationship and how traditional it is. The development of a single approach to the issue is called for in order to curb the hidden issue. The policy should, therefore, target the nation and be applied just as the office of women does.
The policy’ significant changes come from the people that are included in it. In the traditional context, the policies are limited to the women. This policy change seeks to include all the people in the traditional heterosexual relationships as well as the homosexual relationships. Traditional policy formation has always focused on the women since they have been historically exposed to the issue of domestic violence. The policy also seeks to include the minority groups in America that are often left out in the majority of the policies ('Relations among Adolescents’ Domestic Violence, School Violence, Depression-Anxiety, and Suicide', 2012). A focus on the uniqueness of the issues facing the minority groups is called for since their conventional practices and environment leaves them exposed to different environment variables (Birkland, 2011). The policy will be a guideline for the rest of the nation to come up with the accurate means of dealing with the issue. This policy will cover the genders equally regardless of the predominance of the domestic violence towards women (Smith, 2005).
A focus on the individual issues and the special case scenarios will also be called for depending on the nature of the problem. The policy will seek to help the people that have developed the tendency towards domestic violence from the learning environment by rehabilitating them. Essentially, the policy will not use one of the theorized causes of the vice occurrence and prevalence. It will instead look at both sides of the debate regardless of the concerns about the validity of some of the assertions. Any issue that could be attributed to the condition will be addressed (Smith, 2005). The decision to take not sides in the theoretical debates is to ensure that the causes are inclusive, and the solutions suggested because of that are sufficient to meet the needs of the community.
A wider based approach to the treatment will also be adopted whereby the focus will be on the applicability of the policy in all communities (Hodgson & Irving, 2007). The principal outcome that the policy aims at is the rehabilitation of the people that are exposed to violence. It is also a leeway to explain to the people the ways of dealing with the violence and healing from previous exposure.
Therefore, the policy is not an intervention aimed at apprehending the perpetrators. The legal issue surrounding the policy will vary according to the state and the willingness of the victim to prefer charges against the perpetrator. The policy will provide the populace with the information on how to deal with the issue of domestic violence. This focus will enable the communities to gain long-term benefits. The posterity approach of the policy makes it different from project connect and other policies that exist in intergovernmental levels.
The policy will have wide ramifications on the recipient communities. The communities are expected to support the policy since it is developed for the mutual benefit of all the members. However, the levels of acceptance and the associated enthusiasm will differ according to the community in focus (Hodgson & Irving, 2007). In the traditional communities such as the Native American reserves, there will be a difficulty in penetrating since the majority of the people in the community are accustomed to their ways. The closed nature of the community might lead to the rejection of the policy. The Amish people may also indicate high resistance since they will be feeling like they are being subjected to the rules of the United States (Smith, 2005). Conservative Christians could also offer high resistance given that the teachings of the Bible on forgiveness and submission between the husband and wife may constrain the level of sharing that is acceptable. Muslims could also offer some resistance given their staunch belief and fewer orthodox practices (polygamy, divorce, family, submission etc.). The minorities are likely to adopt the policy given the previous neglect that the government accorded them.
In order for the other members to be accommodative to the policy, it is important to acknowledge their different culture and emphasize on the intention to maintain the separation tendencies needed. The culture that guides the people on some issues such as marriage will have to be observed and acknowledged (Hodgson & Irving, 2007). Education of the opposition on the ramifications of their resistance to the policy will be instrumental as a tool of ensuring that the people are open to the policy.
Constant reinforcement of the policy in the community will ensure that the community members are receptive to the policy in the end. Inclusion of the people will call for the use of compromise on some aspects. The policy educators will have to compromise on accepting the traditions of the communities without judging them. The community will be encouraged to allow the willing members to come out and listen to the educators on the policy matters. This compromise will ensure that there is no conflict in the policy delivery (McMahon & Zeiler, 2012).
The policy will be implemented by the United States department of health and human services. There will be some resistance to the change since it is not the most desirable aspect but it is inevitable. The main source of conflict will be the office of women affairs. In this office, there will be quarters that will perceive the new policy as a plan to supplant them with the control of the issues of domestic violence (Hodgson & Irving, 2007). The group could deliberately thwart the policy implementation.
In order for the resistance to the project to be reduced, the policy making process will entail deep and open-ended consultations between the existing players in the government, the new policy makers and the office of women affairs. During the consultation process, the Department will moderate the concerns debate and assure the office of women affairs that the policy is not a substitute rather a complement to the actions that they have been doing. The consultation will allow the concerned parties to air their concerns and come up with the best way of dealing with them.
Generating community support
The best way of attaining legitimacy in any community is by using the existing channels to communicate. In the closed communities, the policy makers will approach the community leaders and ask them to seek the audience with the people. The communications informing the community about the policy will come from the policy educators through the leaders and not directly to the people. The fact that the leaders would have accepted the policy makers will make it easier for the community to accept the policies.
Community involvement is also important during the first stages of the development. The policy makers ought to approach the community through the elders and other prominent people during the formulation stage. This approach will enable the communities to accept the policy since they will have a contribution to its outcome. Therefore, inclusivity will lead to ownership and easier adoption of the policy (Birkland, 2011).
Communication of the policy to the community is an important turn in policy development. During this stage, the efforts of the policy formulation will be realized. Therefore, the communication approach adopted will determine the overall success of the policy. No matter how good a policy is, the actual benefits will depend on the way the policy educators communicate it. The channel of communication that will be adopted will be the most easily accessed. The media is the most reliable channel (Hodgson & Irving, 2007). The design of the policy communication will be made in the simplest manner to ensure that it is understood. Special communication channels will be used to meet the needs of the minorities. Essentially, communication will be configured to meet the needs of the individual target groups.
Communication will be concise and to the point with the main aim being the development of a deep understanding of what it entails (Birkland, 2011). Configuration of the communication approaches will be done according to the needs of the community and prevalence statistics of domestic violence. The approach adopted for the specific neighborhoods will incorporate the uniqueness of the target group. In some cases, there will be a need for house-to-house visits to convince the members personally. It will be prudent and cost effective to use influential members of the community such as the political and religious leaders to endorse the policy. Endorsement by the influential members will increase the chances of adoption by the rest of the community members.
Birkland, T. (2011). An introduction to the policy process. Armonk, N.Y.: M.E. Sharpe.
Dealing with domestic violence. (2007). Vital, 4(3), 26-28.
Hodgson, S., & Irving, Z. (2007). Policy Reconsidered. Bristol: Policy press.
McMahon, R., & Zeiler, T. (2012). Guide to U.S. Foreign Policy. Washington: SAGE Publications.
Relations among Adolescentsâ€™ Domestic Violence, School Violence, Depression-Anxiety, and Suicide. (2012). Journal Of Koreanology.
Smith, C. (2005). Writing public policy. New York: Oxford University Press.
Winick, B., Wiener, R., Castro, A., Emmert, A., & Georges, L. (2010). Dealing with mentally ill domestic violence perpetrators: A therapeutic jurisprudence judicial model. International Journal Of Law And Psychiatry, 33(5-6), 428-439.
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