Domestic violence or intimate partner violence occurs in relationship, it is the behavior that is used to exert and to maintain control over an intimate partner, such behavior may not only be physical, it may also include sexual, or emotional control, as well as psychological acts or the threat of psychological actions that would ensure that the partner changes their behaviour. These psychologica actions may include but are not limited to frightening acts meant to intimidate, manipulate, hurt, terrorize, humiliate or injure others. Domestic abuse is not restricted to a certain class of persons, it could occur in the life of anyone regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion and gender, it may find expression between married couples or persons in casual relationships. The educational, economic, and even the social background of the individuals is not a condition for the presence of sexual abuse and domestic violence. The occasions of the abuse are usually frequent and with each successful scenario, the gravity of the abuse becomes increased and eventually may lead to injuries and ultimately the loss of lives.
Recognizing Sexual and Domestic Abuse
Sexual and domestic abuse may be recognized from the patterns of the behavior of the abuser and of the victims. The following examples are situations where domestic abuse can be recognized by the actions of the abuser and also it can be recognized by the reactions of the victims.
A person is being abused when the abuser:
- Constantly makes fun of you in the presence of friends and families
- Does not recognize your accomplishments
- Makes it look like you’re incapable of making your own decisions
- Tries to gain compliance from you through the use of intimidation or threats
- Makes you feel like without them you are nothing.
- Treats you with roughness
- Does things that makes it look like they don’t trust you or your words
- Blames the fact that they are abusing you on their use of alcohol and other drugs
- Puts the blame on you for their violent actions
- Puts pressure on you sexually even when you’ve made it clear that you’re not ready
- Makes the relationship feel like a prison and not giving you a way out.
- Ensures you do not engage in activities that interest you such as spending time with friends and families
- Ensures that he teaches you a lesson by either leaving you after a fight alone or prevents you from leaving after a fight.
For the victims, they can recognize if they are being abused when:
- They are uncertain and scared of how their partners might behave towards them
- They are in the habit of always trying to give reasons for their partners misbehaviors
- They believe that they are the cause of their partner’s behavior and believe that they can make their partner better if only they became better.
- They are always in the habit of trying not to step on their partners toes; like they’re walking on ice.
- They are constantly doing what would make their partner happy at their own expense
- They stayed with their partner because they were afraid of what would happen if they broke up with their partner.
These symptoms are tell-tale signs that such a person is in an abusive relationship and needs to speak up because such abuse is going to continue.
Notable Facts about Sexual Abuse and Domestic Violence among Women
- Domestic violence or intimate sexual partner assault has a higher percent chance of causing injury to the victim than a stranger or acquaintance assault.
- About 14% to 25% of women have been or are being sexually assaulted by their partners in the course of their relationships.
- Almost 40% to 45% of women who are currently in an abusive relationship will be assaulted while they are in the relationship.
- More than 50% of women who have been raped by the partners, have been sexually assaulted for a long time by the same partner.
- Sexually abused women who were abused by their intimate partners are more likely to be victims of intimate partner homicides than women who are not sexually abused
- Women who have been sexually abused by their partners usually face extended and lasting physical and mental health problems like those experienced by women who have been victims of rape by persons who are not their partners and women who have been victims of physical abuse by an intimate partner.
Notable Facts about Sexual Abuse and Domestic Violence among Men
Sexual abuse and domestic violence is not only perpetuated against women, some men also find themselves as victims of sexual abuse and there are some information that are considered worthy of note.
- In the United states, almost one fourth of the men have had experiences of sexual violence or some form of it in their lifetime.
- One out of every 10 men have experienced contact sexual violence or physical violence or some form of stalking.
- Most of the impacts from intimate partner violence reported from male victims were as a result of fright, safety concerns, PTSD.
- Out of every 3 men, one of them have experienced sexual violence, stalking, and physical violence in their lifetime.
- About 56% of the men who have been victims of sexual violence and any form of it, had this experiences before they reached 25 years
- Out of every 14 men in the united states, one of them has been made to penetrate someone during their lifetime
- For every 38 men in the united states, at least one of them, have been a victim of an attempted or a completed rape situation.
- Among these victims of rape, over 70% of them got this experience before they got to the age of 25
- At least one out of seventeen men in the united states were victims of stalking at one point or the other in their lives
- Almost 41% of the victims of stalking had this experience before they reached the age of 25.
Factors that give room for Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse
There are certain factors that affect a person’s mind pushing them to be pepertrators of domestic violence and sexual abuse. A person under these factors becomes a high risk potential for a sexual abuser. Some of these factors include:
- Lack of adequate educational experience
- History of subjection to abuse
- Inordinate use of alcohol
- Antisocial personality disorder
- Masculinity orientation that condones violence
- Lack of gender equality
- Lack of awareness of women’s right
- Discord and dissatisfaction in marriages and relationships
- Lack of communication between partners
- Old beliefs concerning women
- Wrong opinions about male entitlement
- Lack of appropriate legal sanctions for perpetrators of these acts.
Preventing and Ending Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse
The menace of sexual abuse and domestic violence is such that calls for great concern. Thus all hands must be on deck to ensure that such acts are not condone and to do that we may ensure the following:
- Drum up awareness on the need for equal rights and opportunities for everyone
- Encourage our legislators through the various social means to ensure that tougher laws are passed to discourage any form of sexual or domestic violence
- Whenever we see anyone exhibiting symptoms of sexual abuse or domestic violence, we must encourage such person to seek help
- The awareness must be created on the dangers of this menace.