Domestic Violence in American and Other Cultures

Introduction

Domestic violence has turned out to be a global problem, with hundreds of thousands of people being victims of the vice. Violence accounts for the majority of death and disabilities worldwide, and this is an indication that domestic violence is a serious issue (Howard, Trevillion, & Agnew-Davies, 2010). Today, domestic violence is one of the most serious problems that the United States faces. 66% of the American population asserts that domestic violence is a grave problem. The major areas of domestic violence include physical, sexual, financial, and emotional abuse. This paper identifies and explains the four areas in the American context as well as in four other cultures.

Physical Abuse

The perpetrator of this form of violence uses force against the victim, injuring him or her. Acts such as strangling, shooting, punching, kicking, slapping, among others are all under physical abuse in American laws (Abramsky et al., 2011). Even without causing serious injuries, a person who commits these acts is considered to have physically abused the other individual. The majority of domestic violence victims in America go through physical abuse. In the Indian culture, the abuse comprises of all actions that lead to physical harm or injuries to the victim by unlawfully forcing him or her to give out dowry, property, valuable securities, among other illegal demands. 38% of all Indian men are reported to have admitted that they had physically abused their intimate partners while 6% of all women had assaulted their spouses (Chaudhary, 2013). On the other hand, over ten million Americans experience physical violence every year (Abramsky et al., 2011). Approximately 60% of Native American females are assaulted by their partners in their lifetime.

Sexual Abuse

In America, sexual abuse is a prominent type of domestic violence that constitutes sexual assault, rape, harassment such as annoying touch, among other humiliating behaviors (Dartnall & Jewkes, 2013). The scope of interpretation of sexual abuse is very wide and covers coercive behaviors that limit one’s reproduction rights. For instance, a woman may be said to have been sexually abused if she is forced to use contraception or have an abortion. This type of sexual abuse is referred to as reproductive coercion. Other than physical abuse, the majority of domestic cases involve sexual abuse. One in every five women and one out of 59 men in the United States undergo sexual abuse during their life span. 9.4% of American women have been raped by their love partners.

In the South African culture, sexual abuse involves making suggestive remarks, forceful physical contact with a person for sexual advances, showing pornography, demands or appeal for sexual favors, and any other provoking sexual conduct, whether physical, verbal, or non-verbal. Incest, child pornography, compelled rape, coerced private parts exposure and compelled self-sexual practices are treated as sexual abuse under South African laws (Jewkes, Sikweyiya, Morrell, & Dunkle, 2011). In South Africa, 28% of all men have committed rape with almost 55,000 kids and youth being victims of the vice. Family members perpetrate three out of ten such children’s sexual abuse cases.

Emotional Abuse

In the US, emotional abuse comprises of damaging the self-esteem of another person. The perpetrator of the vice persistently insults, humiliates, or criticizes the victim so as to destroy his or her self-worth. This form of abuse is seemingly very rampant in unhealthy relationships, thus not easily understood. It is worth noting that in the majority of states in the US, the evidence of emotional abuse must be combined with proof of another form of abuse or indicate extreme coercion for it to be sufficient for the attraction of a domestic violence action. In Canadian culture, emotional abuse is legally defined as verbal or non-verbal mistreatments that possibly have a severely negative psychological impact on the victim (Ansara & Hindin, 2011). A study involving 1,000 American women aged at least 15 years showed that 36% of them had gone through emotional abuse perpetrated by their spouses/lovers (Dartnall & Jewkes, 2013). In 2009, approximately 17% of Canadians reported that they had gone through some form of emotional abuse in their love relationships at that time or previously by being put down or called names.

Financial Abuse

In America, this form of violence is legally defined as an unlawful, unauthorized, or inappropriate use of assets, resources, possessions, or benefits that belong to somebody else. It is worth noting that financial abuse does not involve the monetary aspect only (Howard et al., 2010). For instance, a partner or family member may be termed as financially abusive if he or she prevents his or her close relative or spouse from getting employed or educated. Financial abuse is very rampant, especially among families with finances pulled in joint accounts. In the UK culture, laws define financial abuse as the violation of a person’s rights concerning his or her financial dealings or property (Dartnall & Jewkes, 2013). An abusive partner or family member may deprive his/her spouse, or the rest of the family members access to the money available, hence depriving them of such things as food and clothing to mention a few. 8 % of Americans and one-fifth of UK adults are reported to have been victims of financial abuse (Dartnall & Jewkes, 2013; Howard et al., 2010).

Conclusion

Although domestic violence has been mostly perceived as limited to physical assault, laws in various countries have addressed a larger scope of the problem. Cases with sufficient evidence regarding physical, financial, emotional, or sexual meet domestic violence threshold. Therefore, victims of these unlawful acts in America and other cultures should courageously seek justice from the relevant authorities.

References

Abramsky, T., Watts, C. H., Garcia-Moreno, C., Devries, K., Kiss, L., Ellsberg, M., & Heise, L. (2011). What factors are associated with recent intimate partner violence? Findings from the WHO multi-country study on women’s health and domestic violence. BMC Public Health, 11(1), 109-111. Web.

Ansara, D. L., & Hindin, M. J. (2011). Psychosocial consequences of intimate partner violence for women and men in Canada. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 26(8), 1628-1645. Web.

Chaudhary, S. (2013). Domestic violence in India. Journal of Indian Research, 1(2), 146-152.

Dartnall, E., & Jewkes, R. (2013). Sexual violence against women: The scope of the problem. Best Practice & Research Clinical Obstetrics & Gynaecology, 27(1), 3-13. Web.

Howard, L. M., Trevillion, K., & Agnew-Davies, R. (2010). Domestic violence and mental health. International Review of Psychiatry, 22(5), 525-534. Web.

Jewkes, R., Sikweyiya, Y., Morrell, R., & Dunkle, K. (2011). Gender inequitable masculinity and sexual entitlement in rape perpetration South Africa: Findings of a cross-sectional study. PloS One, 6(12), 29-34. Web.