Domestic Violence – a Problem to be Solved

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The issue of domestic violence has been constantly discussed in media nowadays. The fearing statistics brings up the thoughts of raising medieval barbarity within the modern society of prospering developed countries. The humiliating practice of domestic violence is applied to the most unprotected representatives of the society: young mothers, children; people highly dependent on their offender in both social and financial ways. All over the U.S., the majority of victims who undergo the domestic violence are females aged eighteen-twenty-four, American Indian and Alaska Native, divorced or separated (Planty, 2014, p. 6). The key reasons, issues, statistical data, reactions and public attitude dealing with the problem if domestic violence in the United States of America are the subjects of the present report.

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The domestic violence is a big problem in the modern world and, particularly in the United States. According to the data from Bureau of Justice Statistics, the domestic violence cases account 21% of all violent victimization all over the country (Planty, 2014, p. 2). This percentage includes victimizations of siblings, children, partners and parents committed by other family members. 35.6% of women and 28.5% of men were raped and/or experienced physical violence and stalking from their intimate partner during their lifetime (National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, 2010, p. 38). This means that about a third of the U.S. population was victimized at least once. This terrible statistic clearly shows that the issue of domestic violence can be considered as “epidemic.”

The analysis of data collected over the last twenty years clearly depicts that the rate of domestic violence has significantly declined. If we compare data of 1994 and 2013, the cases of committing domestic violence decreased by 67 percent (Planty, 2014, p. 2). And the rate of violence committed by intimate partner considerably decreased by the beginning of the century, still presenting the highest percentage comparing to an immediate family representative or another relative.

The public scandals on the subject of committing domestic violence within National Football League players burst into media time after time, constantly evoking public interest and drawing attention to the problem of domestic violence, justification of accuses, and punishment sentence. Every scandal is enlightened by numerous tabloids. The judicial proceeding, if started, is carefully observed. The consequences and outcomes are widely discussed. This refers not only to NFL stars but also to any other celebrity accused in or being a victim of domestic violence. The most recent scandal involving Ray Rice has brought up the massive wave of public indignation towards the NFL policy of domestic violence conducted by its players. The polls reflect 67% of respondents think that The NFL should take some measures to “prevent players and other league personnel from assaulting women” (O’Keeffe, 2015, para. 3). The scandal involving Greg Hardy, another high-profile player of the League that shortly followed raises the question of prevalence of domestic violence among the NFL players. The accusation of Ray McDonald and Adrian Peterson only adds weight to the issue. The NFL banning Hardy from participating in team activities together with suspension from ten games demonstrates its social policy, but the later reduction the number of suspended games to four evokes a certain amount of doubts considering its seriousness and sincerity. It would be not correct to state that the situation dealing with domestic violence within NFL is prevalent. The NFL scandals only reflect the general situation in the society, enlightening its problems and dark sides; showing that the question of domestic violence is a common issue, and it is irrelevant if the violator is a famous person or a neighbor next-door. It is not measured by the rate of popularity; this is the question of the norms of the society the violator was raised in, and his level of inner culture.

Speaking about the role played by media in presenting the accurate picture of the rate and issues of domestic violence, it would be fair to note that the scandals are rushed majorly if the celebrities are involved, or the violence case was too outstanding and cruel. The moderate violence that occurs on daily basics like verbal and physical humiliation are not the occasion for news. The news subject will mention it only as an issue sequence, leading to something terrible, a homicide, for instance, or a loud judicial process. Small acts of violence committed against some members of a poor socially unprotected family, or the family of immigrants, or a person who was taught not to talk about a family problems outside the family, or is just simply frightened, are not the subject of interest to mass media. The general statistics of domestic abuses sees the light only as a framework for the periodic scandal. Anyway, it would be fair to mention that the topic of violence is fundamental for a large amount of movies like The Burning Bed, Sleeping with an Enemy, Northern Country, Gardens of the Night, Enough, etc.

The penalties for domestic violence vary in every state as each of them is regulated by its specific laws, but domestic violence is considered to be an important issue by all the authorities. The laws of each state provide significant fees and/or different terms of imprisoning of the violator. Many states have a gradation of domestic violence and a corresponding penalty. In Texas, for instance, there are four degrees of domestic violence crimes. The lightest penalty is up to one year imprisoning and/or a fine up to $4,000, and the highest penalty is five to ninety-nine years in jail and a fine up to $10,000 (Baldwin, n.d., para. 12). In Alabama, there are three degrees of domestic violence crimes, and the penalties vary from one year in jail up to ninety-nine years. In the case of violating a protective order, the minimum prison term assigned by law is doubled. In Minnesota, the punishment for the domestic violence is relatively soft: from ninety days in jail and a fine of $1,000, up to three years in jail and a fine up to $5,000 (Mince-Didier, n.d., para. 14). In the case of repeating violence practicing, the penalty goes up to five years in prison and a fine up to $ 10,000. In Alaska, a domestic violence setting may increase a sentence for the aggressor. On another hand, if the crime was committed in response to domestic violence, the sentence might be decreased. In general, the penalties vary from state to state. The approach in Alabama and Texas seem to be the most suitable as it provides a firm and clear system. Anyway, the huge problem is not the absence or the underdevelopment of legal basis for the violator punishment, but the behavior of the victim.

The data provided by statistics show that about a half of victims of domestic violence do not report the act of assault to the police. What is the reason? The victim’s behavior, in that case, might be explained by many reasons, and the further staying with the abusive partner, or rejecting the previous testimony in the court, or not coming to the court at all is common for victims from all stratums of society. The examples of Janay Rice, Ray Rice’s bride, Rihanna and Nicole Holder, a victim of Greg Hardy can be taken as a firm approval. This type of behavior coming from celebrities can play a bad joke serving a terrible message to fans and the society in general, sending a note that the violence is normal and should be tolerated. It gives a background to further humiliation, suffering and physical abuse, shifting the priorities and the measures of “normality” within the public. Many reasons might be provided to such kind of behavior of both celebrities and common people. They are money, fame, true love or affection. The Stockholm syndrome is a popular explanation too, as the victim claims that the violator is “not like that usually”, or “struggling hard times”, or “going to change soon and just needs support and understanding.” All of these reasons might be taken into account as true and justified, irrelevant to the fact if you believe victim or not. However, the real reason for not leaving is fear. The victim is simply frightened that if he or she leaves it will only get worse. As noted in Culp-Ressler’s article:

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“When we solely focus on whether a survivor stays with or leaves their abusive partner, we place all the responsibility on the survivor rather than holding an abusive partner accountable. Intimate partner violence is about power and control, and leaving can be an extremely dangerous and frightening option for survivors” (Culp-Ressler, 2014, para. 5).

On this account, the Department of Justice provides the information that the victims who decided to leave drag themselves even into greater danger as the risk of being killed while making an attempt to separate from the violator increases by 75%. The other reasons are incapability or impossibility of common children allowance, financial issues, psychological dependence, a non-white woman might have serious concerns about the way the police will treat their abusive partner in case of reporting (Culp-Ressler, 2014, para. 7). The motives raised within the surrounding also should be taken into account. Many of the victims were raised with the attitude that it is a great shame to drag out the family problems so they would be discussed by the broad society; and if the victim is beaten, it might be his or her fault too. Not testifying in the court might be explained by the public pressure is the accused individual is a popular and beloved celebrity or by threats to life and health like in Holder-Hardy case. On the other hand, the victim does not want to bring out the embracing details thus re-traumatizing his or her feelings.

Thus, laws of all the American states provide the description and the criteria for domestic violence and assign serious penalties for committing, it remains a crucial issue that hits the modern society on all its levels. Therefore, alternative more thoughtful and profound measures should be taken on both social and governmental levels, educational programs, and social institutions should be implemented as well as the level of population’s consciousness should raise, and protection on this issue should be provided.

References

Baldwin, L. (n.d.). Texas Domestic Violence Laws. Web.

Culp-Ressler, T. (2014). You Shouldn’t Ask Why Janay Rice Stayed. Web.

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Mince-Didier, A. (n.d.). Minnesota Domestic Violence Laws. Web.

National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey. (2010). Summary Report. Web.

O’Keeffe, M. (2015). UltraViolet poll: Domestic violence controversy hurts NFL’s standing with women. Web.

Planty, M. (2014). Office of Justice Programs: Domestic Violence. Web.

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Premium Papers. "Domestic Violence – a Problem to be Solved." April 25, 2022. https://premium-papers.com/domestic-violence-a-problem-to-be-solved/.