Domestic violence can creep into any family, either accidentally or as part of someone’s basic personality. It spans a wide range of abuse forms, including physical, physiological, and verbal. All of them can be damaging to a person, all of them are destructive to a family.
In most countries, it is a criminal offence, but the definition of abuse is often different in different countries. In many, significant physical damage is required, in others, an act as simple as smacking a child is enough to prompt legal charges. Also, in many places, the police are reluctant to become involved unless someone is in imminent danger of being hurt, due to the difficulties of resolving domestic disputes and arguments and determining whether violence is actually involved.
Stress within a family can often lead to disagreements and arguments; these can often become heated, and in the worst cases, can become physical. Men are more likely to utilise physical violence, and use it equally against their partner or children.
However domestic violence is not only limited to physical abuse, verbal and psychological abuse is also common, more often practiced by those who are less physically able, most commonly by a woman. And repeated verbal or psychological abuse can be just as damaging to a person as anything physical.
Whatever the form, and whatever the reason, any type of domestic violence is incredibly destructive to the individuals concerned. In the case of a single act of violence, such as an outburst of anger which leads to someone physically hitting their partner or child, there is the potential to discuss the act after the fact once everyone has calmed down, and ensure that it doesn’t reoccur. However, in the case of repeated acts of violence, it is unlikely that these will cease by themselves, and it is strongly recommended that any victims of such acts should escape the environment as quickly as possible, reporting the violence to the relevant authorities. Many countries have special houses available for people from such relationships to flee to, taking their children with them if required, with the ability to remain sheltered there anonymously while the situation is resolved more permanently. Otherwise, the best alternative is to escape the circumstances by moving to stay with friends or family who are in a position to shield you from the source of the violence. In extreme cases, the police may need to take the offender into custody immediately, providing some breathing space for you to start planning your alternatives.
Only when you (and your children if required) are out of danger is it possible to resolve the situation more permanently. This may involve laying assault charges, commencing divorce proceedings, or getting the offender to acknowledge their problems and commence some form of counselling with the view to rehabilitating themselves, and potentially rebuilding their lives.
Domestic violence should never be supported or defended, and only by acknowledging and confronting it can you hope to eliminate it from your life. If it is affecting your relationship, then seriously consider ending that relationship before it gets worse, or becomes a habit. If it is affecting someone you know, then try to help them to acknowledge the damage it is causing to them and their family, help them to confront it, and in the worst case, help them to escape it.
If it has entered your relationship, acknowledge the issue, confront the offender (if it can be done safely), and/or escape the situation. Don’t allow domestic violence in your life and never accept it as normal.