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Domestic Violence



Violencecan occur in any place, but it attracts more attention when it takesplace in the domestic settings since homes are assumed to be thesafest places that one can live and enjoy life. The definition of theconcept of domestic violence is quite controversial and scholarincludes different types of harassment as part of it. For example,Khan (2015) identified that about 40 %, 24 %, 44 %, 19 %, 15 % of thepeople who have suffered from domestic violence state that they werescolded, tortured mentally, slapped, beaten severely, and forced toengage in sex, respectively. One empirical study indicated that about56 % of the women suffer from physical violence at least once in aperiod of one year (Khan, 2015). This confirms that physical forms ofviolence of dominant compared to other types of harassment. The datasuggest that individuals who undergo domestic violence can experiencemore than one type of harassment at the same time. This paper willaddress the controversial issue of domestic violence, with a focus onthe gender differences, causes, and challenges that make it difficultto address it.

GenderDifferences in the Prevalence of

Genderviolence can affect any member of the family (including parents andchildren), but most of the studies that have been published show thatit affects women disproportionately. For example, it is estimatedthat about 85 % of the total population of the people who report thatthey have been victimized are women, where 20 % of them are harassedmore than five times within a period of one year (U.S. Department ofHealth and Human Services, 2016). The fact that women aredisproportionately exposed to domestic violence compared to theircounterpart men is attributed to different social, economic, andcultural factors that put them at a disadvantage. Therefore, there issufficient evidence to argue that domestic violence can affectindividuals of both genders, but women are more exposed to it thanmen.

Similarly,Kumar (2012) identified that men are considered to be naturallyaggressive, oppressors, and powerful, while women stay on thereceiving end of the violence that occur in the domestic settings.However, the ongoing women`s empowerment programs across the worldhave resulted in a change in trends where the number of men sufferingfrom domestic violence is increasing exponentially while that ofwomen is reducing at a significant rate. For example, Kumar (2012)reported that there are parts of the world where domestic violenceagainst men has gone up to 40 %.

FactorsThat Reduce the Effectiveness of Strategies for Resolving the

Mostof the key factors that make it difficult to eradicate domesticviolence are associated with the cultural practices and beliefs. Forexample, Khan (2015) identified that domestic violence takes place inthe private settings (including the homes), which enables most of thecommunities to argue that it is a family matter. This leads to anargument that the incidents of domestic violence should be resolvedby the families involved and without the interference of the thirdparties. This traditional belief discourages most of the affectedpersons from reporting the matter to the relevant authorities.

Socialstigma is another common factor that has played a key role inlimiting the capacity of the stakeholders from resolving domesticviolence in the society. Stigma affects the victims in differentways. For an instant, a study conducted in Bangladesh showed thatmany women fail to report the incidents of domestic violence due tofear of being divorced (Khan, 2015). This is attributed to the factthat the religious beliefs as well as the cultural practices inBangladesh are not conduce for single women. Single women, especiallythose who are divorced, are stigmatized by members of the society.This makes them decide to condone violence, instead of seeking forhelp from external sources.

Similarto women, men who are affected by domestic violence fail to report tothe relevant authorities and seek for help due to fear of stigma fromthe society. Most of the communities hold a belief that men aresupposed to be masculine and bosses in their families (Kumar, 2012).Men who are beaten or harassed by women are considered by thecommunity as being weak and unable to assume their responsibilitiesas heads of the families. Consequently, the affected men prefer toremain silent.

Social,Economic, Religious, and Demographic Factors that Lead to Violence inDomestic Settings

Acombination of religion and polygamy has been shown to increase therisk of violence in the family settings. This trend is confirmed bythe high prevalence of domestic violence among the Muslimcommunities. A qualitative study conducted by Dery &amp Diedong(2014) established the existence of a positive relationship betweenthe Muslim religion and the risk of violence in the domesticsettings. This was attributed to the fact that Muslims are allowed tomarry more than one wife, which increases the risk of sexualviolence. The same research indicated that religious beliefs in thesome parts of the contemporary world, especially in Africa, deliverteachings that give men more power than women. These patriarchalreligious teachings create a perception that men are supposed todominate women and force them to become subjective through violence.

Someof the socioeconomic factors that subject people to the risk ofsuffering from violence in their homes include the unemployment andthe living environment. For example, unemployed women and those wholive in the rural settings are at a higher risk of being victimizedcompared to those who work in the formal sector and reside in theurban areas (Dery &amp Diedong, 2014). This trend is associated withthe fact that unemployed victims, especially those living in therural areas, cannot provide for their basic needs, which increasetheir vulnerability. Members of the family who provide the basicneeds for the rest of the relatives feel that they have the right todominate them and use violence to suppress the disobedient ones (Dery&amp Diedong, 2014).

Substanceabuse is another significant social factor that increases theprobability of the occurrence of domestic violence. In most cases,the drug users act as the major offenders while the rest of thefamily members become the victims (Dery &amp Diedong, 2014). Theserisk factors of the violence in the domestic settings suggest thateffective strategies should address the socioeconomic, religious,cultural aspects that increase the vulnerability of the victims. Forexample, effective policy interventions should seek to increase theeconomic empowerment of vulnerable women. In addition, helping therural women to access education can minimize their vulnerability toviolence in the domestic settings. Therefore, the development ofeffective policy interventions can go a long way in addressing themenace of domestic violence.


Violencein the family settings affects people in different ways. One of themajor effects that have attracted researchers is homelessness.Although most of the affected members of the family remain in theirrespective homes, there are many victims who are kicked out of theirhouses. Similar to other aspects of domestic violence, homelessnessaffects the female subjects disproportionately. The study findingsreported by Ostadhashemi, Khalvati, Seyedsalehi &amp Emamhadi (2015)indicated that about 80 % of the total population of the homelessvictims of violence in the family settings is comprised of women andchildren. The same study also indicated that about 57 % of thesevictims believe that violence from their family members was theprimary cause of their homelessness.

Otherscholars have addressed the possibility of the occurrence of thepsychological effects following the incidents of violence in homes.Psychological factors affect all victims of this type of violence,including those who undergo physical harassment. Being beaten ortortured emotionally is quite embarrassing and it culminates instress, social isolation, depression, and a feeling of loneliness(Dery &amp Diedong, 2014). Unresolved cases of violence result insuicidal thoughts where the affected persons tend to believe thattaking their lives is the only solution. However, suicidal thoughtsare common among the victims who depend on their offenders forlivelihood. Victims who can provide for themselves leave the violentfamily settings before the harassment can escalate to intolerablelevels.


Domesticviolence has been a controversial issue in the entire human history.Most of the policy interventions that have been used in the past toeradicate domestic violence have failed since they did not takeaccount of key risk factors. For example, women are more vulnerablebecause they depend on men to meet their basic needs. This dependenceis attributed to the fact that most of the women, especially thosewho reside in the rural areas, lack access to resources andemployment. In addition, the patriarchal religious and culturalpractices help men develop the wrong perception that they aresupposed to dominate women and use violence to put them under theirauthority. However, an increase in women empowerment has been shownto increase incidents of violence against the male subjects.Therefore, effective policy interventions that seek to empower thespecific population that is considered as vulnerable can minimize thecases and the impact of violence that occurs in the domesticsettings.


Dery,I. &amp Diedong, L. (2014). Domestic violence against women inGhana: An exploratory study in Upper West Region, Ghana.InternationalJournal of Humanities and Social Science,4 (12), 228-243.

Khan,A. (2015). Domestic violence against women in Bangladesh: A review ofthe literature and the gaps to fill-in by future interventions.KhazarJournal of Humanities and Social Sciences,18 (3), 57-81.

Kumar,A. (2012). Domestic violence against men in India: A perspective.Journalof Human Behavior in the Social Environment,22, 20-296.

Ostadhashemi,L., Khalvati, M., Seyedsalehi, M. &amp Emamhadi, M. (2015). A studyof domestic violence against women: A qualitative meta-analysis.InternationalJournal of Medical Toxicology and Forensic Medicine,5 (3), 155-163.

U.S.Department of Health and Human Services (2016). Domestic violence andhomelessness: Statistics (2016). HSS.Retrieved November 13, 2016, fromhttp://www.acf.hhs.gov/fysb/resource/dv-homelessness-stats-2016