“Domestic violence refers to any incident of threatening behavior, violence or abuse between adults who are or have been in a relationship together, or between family members, regardless of gender or sexually.’ (Tjaden et al, 2000). Domestic violence occurs in different classes of people; races, religions, sexes and ethnic group.
Many forms of domestic violence include; physical violence, sexual abuse, economic deprivation, intimidation and emotional abuse. Domestic violence forms are considered as criminal offences. Countries have varying awareness and documentation about domestic violence. In the United States and United Kingdom, only a third of domestic violence has been estimated to be reported. It is estimated that 32 million Americans are affected by domestic violence, or more than 10% of the US population (Tjaden et al, 2000).
Statement of the problem
Domestic violence has been found to be a serious, preventable public health problem that affects a considerable population in America.It causes great harm to the victims, ranging from physical harm or death, mental disability, emotional damage and psychological abuse.
This has raised concerns on issues about its level, effects and solutions in the society. The research paper will investigate the issues that surround domestic violence in Mississippi.
The state of Mississippi is found in the United States of America. It is the 32nd largest state in the USA, with a population of 2.8 million people. Its major industries include farming, oil, textiles, fishing, electronic equipment and transportation equipment. By Oct. 3 2007, Mississippi was ranked 5th in domestic violence homicides.
The following research questions will guide the study
- What is the level of domestic violence in the state of Mississippi?
- What are the causes and effects of domestic violence in Mississippi?
- What efforts and solutions are put in place to curb domestic violence?
Significance of the study
The research will assist in identifying the level of domestic violence in Mississippi. This will be used to create awareness and encourage preventive measures, causes, effects and solutions to domestic violence will help to develop measures and laws to curb violence.
Distributing questionnaires to residents will be used to collect data. A sample representing the population will be selected. This will increase reliability and validity of SPSS for significance of relationships will be presented using charts and graphs. Secondary sources of information like books from UMUC library will be used to compliment the findings.
Various forms of abuse were identified to occur in Mississippi. These forms include; physical violence, sexual violence and incest, psychological abuse, economic abuse, and stalking. In this paper, each form of violence will be discussed into details (US office of Justice programs, 1997).
Physical violence involved the use of physical force on the victim. The physical use of force is intended to cause injury, harm, disability and death. Examples of ways in which physical force is used in violence activities include; hitting, shoving, biting, restraint, kicking or use of weapon.
In this category of physical violence, assault was recorded. This is whereby individuals used force against victims without their consent. A good example is where teenagers force their friends to participate in illegal activities without their friends consent. Physical attack would involve hitting the person, kicking or shoving them to make them agree with their suggestions or ideas.
Use of weapon was also stated as one forms of physical violence. Objects like knives, and burnt objects were used to inflict pain or injury to the victim. The victim due to the fear of what might further happen to them may agree to cooperate with the perpetrators. Threats that are issue out also contribute to assault of the victims. Where the aggressor looked capable of carrying out the threat, victims were found more likely to cooperate with the offenders. (Almeida et al, 2008)
The assault activities were reported to have a high occurrence in some places than in others. These places made it easier for offenders to carry out their assault than in other places. Poorly lit streets and parking areas were stated as assault prone areas. Walking along alleyways alone increased the likelihood of assault. Carrying of weapons to protect one self triggered the aggressor to use the same weapons against the victim. Resisting in case someone was assaulted increased the chances of one to be assaulted increased the chances of one to be assaulted even more.
Sexual violence and incest was another form of physical violence in the state of Mississippi. Three categories of sexual act and incest were identified. One was the use of physical force to compel a person to engage in a sexual act against their will. Sexual violence occurred both in marriages and relationships. The victims were aware of the issue of sex, and failed to participate in a sexual activity. The partners would then compel the other to have sex by physical injury.
Rape being the most serious sex crimes was stated as a form of sexual violence. This is whereby a sexual intercourse took place or was attempted without the valid consent of one of the persons involved. Use of duress (force, violence or blackmail) was contributing factor to the rape instances. This was done either by use of physical or psychological violence. However, not all rape cases were accompanied by physical injuries. Use of threats was applied by the aggressors to compel the victim to cooperate in the sexual intercourse (Eileen M, 2007).
It is worth noting that, sexual assault was recorded to occur at the place of work. This involved use of a position of authority at work to force a person into sexual activities. Most employees, who were victims of sexual assault at the place of work, did not report. This was due to the fear of losing the job or even further victimization if the aggressor discovered the victim’s reporting.The aggressors would also use weapons to force the victim to submit. In addition to this, sexual touching was stated to occur. The aggressor would touch the sexual parts of the victim to intimidate the victim or induce psychological violence.
Another form of sexual violence involved attempted or completed sexual activity with a person who did not understand the nature and condition of the act. The victims are usually unable to decline participation or unable to communicate unwillingness to engage in sex. A good example is statutory rape where a junior is involved in a sexual act with a minor. The statutory rape is considered an offence whether it was coercive or consensual. The adult partner has sex with a person who is too young to give effective informed consent. (US Office of Justice 1997).
Some victims were said to have been ill during the assault. Health condition of the victim hindered him or her to resist any sexual advances that were made towards them. Others were under the influence of alcohol and drugs, such that the offenders could easily have sex with them due to their inability to resist either physically or mentally.
Alcohol and drug addicts asserted that they had participated in sexual activities unwillingly due to the alcohol and drug influence. Addiction was said to be very common amongst the young population. This made them more likely to be victims of rape due to the drug influences. Female forms of sexual aggression well known as seduction and submission pressured their male partners to engage in sexual activities.
Incest was whereby there were sexual relationships between closely related people. Incest is considered a crime because is illegal and also a social taboo. Majority of incest cases that were reported were between adult and prepubescent or adolescent children. This was particularly between fathers or other male relatives and girls. It is important to point out that some children below 10 years were also abused sexually by their relatives (male or female). This can also be referred to as child sexual abuse. Child sexual abuse caused the most extreme form of child trauma. This had serious and long-term psychological damage. Victims were said to suffer from low self-esteem sexual dysfunction and mental disorders.
Another major form of abuse, apart form physical violence was the psychological abuse. This took various forms. One way the abuse was done was by humiliating the victim. The victim was exposed to unethical and morally unacceptable activities. One example is forcing a person to remove art or all clothing in front of a group of people. Withholding very important information from a person was said to cause psychological abuse. Most victims of abuse due to isolation from friends and family were most likely to be affected due to their parents divorce. The victims feel unloved, lonely and get low self-esteem. The victims of psychological abuse often suffered from depression and this put them at an increased risk for suicide eating disorder and drug and alcohol abuse.
Economic abuse also occurred as stated by some residents. The abuser had complete control over the victim’s money and the economic resources. The victim is only given a limited amount of money while the abuser withholds money at will. The victims then result to begging some money in order for them to survive. As the abuser continues the abuser went to the extent of reducing the money to very minimal amount. One aspect of this kind of behavior is to prevent the victim from finishing his or her education. Most victims of such abuse were the young people still in school, (Almeida et al, 2008).
Stalking is whereby a person’s repeated behavior causes the another a feeling of high level of fear. Though this is to be considered as a very serious form of crime, sometimes stalkers may eventually cause harm to the victim.
Effects of domestic violence cause very traumatizing experiences. These experiences cause physical injury death, psychological problems, mental disorders, drug abuse and even abnormal social behaviors. The effects of violence demands for serious preventive measures and solutions to violence.
To solve violence in Mississippi or any other state, combined efforts is required. Those that should work together include; the law enforcement agencies, the courts, probation agencies and social service agencies.
In Mississippi, efforts have been made to curb domestic violence. Examples of agencies that assist victims include; Mississippi center for violence prevention, Mississippi coalition against domestic line and catholic charities. The Jackson police department crisis intervention assists in arresting and taking to court of perpetrators of domestic violence.
Psychological abuse victims are offered counseling classes to boost their self-esteem and confidence. Medical professionals empower victims give advice, and offer appropriate medical care. Standard operating procedures have been given to agencies that deal with domestic violence. They enhance arrest and charging of suspects who are found guilty.
Campaigns, TV shows and radio shows have been used to create awareness to prevent abuse or violence caused by lack of knowledge. People are also advised to avoid insecure and violence prone areas to prevent being attacked. Cases of violence should be reported. Victims that fear more victimization should be encouraged to report. Finally the offenders in domestic violence should be severely punished or rehabilitated.
Eileen M. 2007 Medical ethics: health care ethics.
Almeida and Rhea V. 2008. Transformative Family Therapy: family psychotherapy and social justice.
Tjaden and Thoennes, 2000. Criminal victimization reports: Domestic violence.
United States office of Justice programs 1997. Domestic violence and stalking.