Violence Effects on Family Members in Saudi Arabia

Abstract

Even though the issue of family violence has long been ignored, it gained wide recognition once society acknowledged the significance of respecting human rights and the criticality of protecting them. Because the victims of family violence were given a chance to be heard, scholars focused on studying the impact of family violence and developing ways to help those susceptible to the risks of violence. Therefore, the influence of family violence on family members in Saudi Arabia is the primary focus of the study. The rationale behind the selection of this topic is the desire to identify the major effects of violence on victims and find out what are the most common ones among people living in Saudi Arabia.

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The emphasis is made on such aspects as the impact of family violence on the lives of victimized family members, especially their psychological well-being, involvement in social life, communication skills, employment, and academic results. To address the research question, a qualitative study was conducted. Direct observations and interviews with males and females aged 7 to 20 were the foundation of data collection. All of them were either victim of family violence or witnessed similar instances. The study was carried out based on Saudi Arabia schools. To analyze the information, descriptive research was chosen. It means that the findings of interviews and observations were compared to the conclusions of scholarly papers to discover the universal truth. In this way, it was proven that family violence has a detrimental influence on the lives of those who witnessed it or became its victims. In most cases, mental condition, physical health, and social behavior, such as communication with other people, employment aspirations, and academic performance are directly affected.

Introduction

Family violence is one of the social issues, which has always been critical. However, as a human society recognized the significance of human rights, it ceased to ignore the problem of violence. Since then, numerous scholars have paid specific attention to studying the impact of family violence on those experiencing or witnessing it. According to Davis (2010), men are the primary source of danger because, in most cases, they are the aggressors in families. In this way, women, children, and the elderly members of families are the most common victims of violence. However, in some cases, these are victims that trigger violence (Davis, 2010). It is essential to note, that almost 30 percent of women have experienced family violence at least once in their lifetime (Kim, Park, & Emery, 2009). Moreover, there are different forms of family violence such as sexual, physical, emotional, cultural, financial, spiritual, and economic abuse and stalking (Queensland Government, 2010). So, even though people belonging to different age and gender groups are exposed to risks of family violence, the impact of such an experience is negative in all cases.

Farmer and Tiefenthaler (2004) state that even though family violence affects women’s productivity, it does not influence the opportunity or desire to become employed. More than that, those battered choose to become employed more often compared to non-abused women (Farmer & Tiefenthaler, 2004). Besides, it leads to self-esteem issues, depressions, and aggression (Kim et al., 2009). Finally, family violence becomes the cause of trauma, thus stimulating victims to choose homicides and suicides for coping with the problem. Therefore, it is critical to investigate the issue of family violence and find out its specificities in the Saudi Arabia environment.

Research Proposal

Statement of the Problem

Even though family violence has always been a common issue in societies, the topic has been widely perceived as unimportant by the public. However, the development of human rights movements allowed the victims to be heard, thus bringing the problem to light. Ever since then, scholars have been researching family violence in an attempt to evaluate its effects on the family members and to develop a strategy for helping the victims.

The primary victims of family violence are women and children. However, it is not uncommon for the elderly to be under a threat of violence from their adult children. Moreover, family violence has a direct influence on all family members and can have many negative effects on their mentality and social life, both immediate and long-term. The objective of this paper will be to examine the effects of family violence on family members.

Central Question

What are the effects of family violence on family members?

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Hypothesis

Family violence has many negative effects on the lives of family members.

Research Questions

  1. What are the effects of family violence on the psychological well-being of family members?
  2. How does family violence affect the social life and communication skills of family members?
  3. What is the influence of family violence on the academic results and employment of family members?

Theoretical Perspective

As mentioned above, family violence is a popular topic of study among researchers of the last thirty years. Many sources and studies focus on the effects of family violence, which allows for more detailed research.

For example, Farmer and Tiefenthaler (2004) explore the connection between family violence and the work performance of women. Empirical results show battered women are more likely to work than women who are not abused” (Farmer & Tiefenthaler, 2004, p. 301).

Methodology

This study will be based on the qualitative research method. The necessary data will be collected on the subjects, Saudi male and female, age 7-20. Descriptive research will be used in analyzing and presenting the results.

Literature Review

What are the effects of family violence on the psychological well-being of family members?

Levendosky, A. A., Huth-Bocks, A., & Semel, M. A. (2002). Adolescent peer relationships and mental health functioning in families with domestic violence. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 31(2), 206-218.

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The study begins by suggesting that family violence is mostly perpetrated by men against women, and has negative effects on children. Some of the noted adverse effects include extended trends of externalization behaviors, high levels of depression, low self-esteem, low social competence, and increased levels of psychopathology. Notably, an insecure attachment is a major indicator of female abuse by the partner and other victimization experiences. Again, children abused by their parents are likely to be involved in abusive dating relationships.

The study investigated the effects of family violence on adolescent peer relationships, and mental health functioning in children and their mothers. The analyzed data were collected from 111 adolescents (aged 14-16 years) and their mothers. The recruitment of participants was done through at-risk teen programs (4%), DV (domestic violence) shelters and programs (2%), and flyers distributed in the community (94%). Mainly, authors used measures such as 42-item Severity of Violence against Women Scales, and Network of Relationships Inventory and Conflict. The results showed that abused children and mothers who had experienced DV had a 23% chance of securing an attachment and a 14% chance of avoidance attachment. On mental health, the hierarchical model predicted that 47% of the variance in adolescent depression, and 40% of the variance in adolescent trauma symptoms.

The findings of the authors’ study are useful in affirming that the effects of child abuse and family violence on women are stronger on mental problems than in relationships and family attachments. Again, data on violence in adolescent dating relationships collected from participants of the study could later be used to predict the level of violence in adult domestic violence.

Kim, J., Park, S., & Emery, C. R. (2009). The incidence and impact of family violence on mental health among South Korean women: Results of a national survey. Journal of Family Violence, 24(3), 193-202.

The study begins by noting that men in South Korea are still more violent towards their fellow family members compared to women despite drastic changes over the last 30 years. Male dominance in violence is attributed to the underlying traditional culture. Kim, Park, and Emery’s study mainly reviewed data on a national survey in examining cases of husband-to-wife violence, lifetime exposure to parental violence, and the relationship between victimization experiences of family violence and mental health among women of South Korea.

The national survey data used was mainly on the effects of violence against women and was supported by the Ministry of Health and Welfare in South Korea. The data was collected from 1,500 women (with 1079 living with their husbands) through an RDD telephone interview using a structured questionnaire. Notably, the measurement of data was done using conjugal violence, mental health, and parental violence tools. The analysis of the data was done using hierarchical regression modeling, t-statistics, and chi-square. The findings of the study on husband-to-wife physical violence were consistent with previous results that ranged between 27.5% and 35.6%. Mainly, the results on effects of the type of family violence on mental health status among women with a history of family violence showed that family violence accounted for 7.8% of the variance in stress, 6.7% of the variance in aggression, 9.8% of the variance for depression, and 0.9% for self-esteem.

The findings of the authors’ study are useful in validating the previously held premise that most of the victims of family violence in South Korean society are women. The analyzed data reveals more effects of domestic violence on victims such as revealed incidences of stress, aggression, self-esteem, and depression.

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How does family violence affect the social life and communication of family members?

Davis, R. (2010). Domestic violence-related deaths. Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research, 2(2), 44-52.

Davis’s study begins by noting that family violence is significantly underestimated regarding the underlying morbidity and mortality rates. Notably, it is hard to argue with certainty that all homicide incidents relating to domestic violence are identified mainly because domestic violence is considerably complex and multifaceted. From a feminist perspective, family violence data demonstrates that violence is widespread and injurious to the health of men and women than formerly thought. In particular, violence against children and women emanates from the use of threat or force to attain and sustain control over other individuals in a close relationship. From a societal point of view, violence emanates from domination and abuse of power through racism, sexism, ageism, able-bodyism, and other forms of oppression.

The study is based on 2005 data attained from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Utah Department of Health (UDH). The Surveillance for Violent Deaths – National Violence Death Reporting System, 16 States, 2005, a CDC report, showed that intimate partner problem facilitated 2,031 male and 439 female suicides. Based on 2005 UDH data, 65 deaths were related to domestic violence. Specifically, 44 were suicides; while, 21 were homicides. Six of suicide included males who killed themselves after committing homicide. Regarding suicide, 42 were male; while, 2 were female. On homicide, 10 were male; while, 11 were female.

The findings of the study are useful in providing a new angle of analyzing the death victims of domestic violence unlike conventionally assumed whereby women are considered as the primary victims. A study on power and control issues, losing the sense of worth, children, home, and difficulty in providing child support will provide more insights into domestic violence-related deaths.

Moraff, C. (1982). Information on family violence. Collection Building, 4(1), 39-53.

Moraff’s study is a review of the modern origin of the family violence field through the recognition and publication of various academic resources by professionals in medicine and social sciences. Notably, the earliest source noted by the author is an article published in 1962 titled “Battery Child Syndrome” by C. Henry Kempe. Later, the women’s movement started to address the issue of wife abuse, which attracted the attention of both public and professionals in the social sciences until the creation of a field now known as family violence.

Mainly, the study highlights numerous organizations and societies that became interested in the field of family violence after its introduction such as the American Sociological Association, the National Council on Family Relations, and the Congress. For instance, Congress enacted a law titled the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act in 1974, which led to the creation of the National Center for Child Abuse and Neglect. Moraff has identified numerous sources of information regarding the study on family violence such as information centers, literature reviews, textbooks, geographical and statistical sources, professional periodicals, databases, nonprofit materials, reviewing media, unpublished information, and current news sources. The study recommended general readers read books, articles, and journals about family violence-related content. In particular, the author recommended individuals read publications from works of Sage Abstracts of Family Studies, Butterworths, and McGraw-Hill.

The findings of the study validate the use of numerous sources of information due to the dynamic nature of the field of family violence. From the author’s perspective, it is imperative to consider information from sources such as books, evaluative articles, and journals, as well as reputable publishers of family violence-related content.

Boyko, J., Kothari, A., & Wathen, N. (2016). Moving knowledge about family violence into public health policy and practice: A mixed-method study of deliberative dialogue. Health Research Policy and Systems, 14(31), 1-9.

The study begins by suggesting that deliberative dialogue is a promising strategy that could be used to attain scientific evidence interpretation of a challenge. The study aimed to explore the features as well as outcomes of deliberative dialogue. Notably, the study targets participants from mature individuals.

Mainly, Boyko, Kothari, and Wathen reviewed deliberative dialogue undertaken by transnational violence prevention networks. The participants of the study were attendees of Preventing Violence Across the Lifespan (PreVAiL). PreVail had over 20 knowledge user partners and 40 researchers both national and supranational organizations. The responsibility of PreVAiL was to develop and at the same time mobilize research regarding child maltreatment and intimate partner violence with the primary focus being on resilience factors. The study relied on questionnaires and semi-structured interviews to create a comprehensive account of deliberative dialogue that mixes contextual understanding with already known features and effects of deliberative dialogue. Data was collected through questionnaires, semi-structured interviews, and de-briefing.

On data analysis, debriefing sessions and interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed while questionnaire data were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Both interviews and open-ended questionnaire interviews were coded using nVivo 10 software. On results, 44 individuals took part, with participants rating 10 out of 12 features of the deliberative dialogue as favorable. Thus, they suggest that most of the participants were willing to apply what they had learned in their future decision-making.

The findings of the authors’ study confirm that participants will rely on dialogue learning to impact practice as well as a policy change. Again, deliberative dialogues could be a viable strategy for collaborative sense-making of research based on family violence prevention as well as other related topics.

Queensland Government. (2012, October). Domestic and family violence and its relationship to child protection: Practice paper. Brisbane: Department of Communities, Child Safety, and Disability Services.

The Queensland Government’s (2012) report starts by acknowledging that major issues characterize the relationship between domestic and family violence and child protection. Notably, the interface between domestic and family violence and child protection necessitates the establishment and maintenance of the collaborative and coordinated relationship between Child Safety and domestic and family violence services.

There are numerous forms of domestic and family violence and some of them include physical abuse, sexual abuse, verbal and emotional abuse, spiritual or cultural abuse, social abuse, economic or financial abuse, and stalking. In most forms of domestic and family violence, gender plays a significant part, with over 90% of reported cases being committed by men against women. Again, homicide statistics show that women are more likely to be killed by their former or current partner with the main reasons being jealousy, desertion, and the end of a relationship. Mostly, women kill their husbands due to prolonged threats or attacks by the husbands; thus, self-defense or retaliation.

The challenges of domestic and family violence are more in some groups of people compared to others due to their underlying environment or situation. Some of these groups include rural and remote communities, aboriginals and Torres Strait Islander communities, and, culturally and linguistically diverse communities. Notably, extensive research shows that children (unborn, young children, and adolescents) suffer greatly due to exposure to violence within their homes. They suffer from cognitive, behavioral, emotional, and social effects. Finally, some of the primary perpetrators of violence include society norms, community poverty, marital conflicts, and past violence history.

The overall findings of this study are essential in understanding the dynamics of domestic and family violence in our society. Besides, the study validates the rationale behind the perpetrator’s motive and compelling factors, as well as effects on the children.

What is the influence of family violence on the academic results and employment of family members?

Farmer, A., & Tiefenthaler, J. (2004). The employment effects of domestic violence. Research in Labor Economics, 23, 301-334.

Farmer and Tiefenthaler’s study begins by depicting domestic violence as a global problem that leads to considerable social costs relating to productivity and employment of women in the marketplace. Notably, women who are victims of abuse are likely to lose their jobs or earn lower wages due to the violence. Employers too incur social costs of domestic violence due to employee’s absence at work, quitting, or performing below their capacity. The study notes the inability of other economic models of domestic violence in showing the impact of violence on income. As such, the study uses a game-theoretic model to link violence and women’s income.

The study is based on theoretical findings and empirical findings. On theoretical findings, the effects of domestic violence on women’s income are based on three models: exogenous income, endogenous income, and endogenous constraint. Mainly, these models assume that domestic violence affects women’s income; while, women’s income and other alternatives reduce violence. On the empirical relationship between domestic violence and income, the model is based on the assumption that violence hurts the earnings of women. The study used secondary data attained from various sources such as Physical Violence in American Families, National Crime Victimization Surveys (NCVS), Special Deterrent Effects of Arrest for Domestic Assult: Minneapolis, 1981-1982, and Physical Violence Against Women (NVAW) survey (1981-1996). The analysis of the data shows that productivity losses from domestic violence due to absenteeism rates were above 50%; while, 70% of battered women had challenges in undertaking their jobs.

The findings of the study authenticate results of other studies through consistency regarding labor force participation decisions made by women. Thus, domestic violence has a significant impact on women’s income and employer’s social costs due to absenteeism and lack of concentration.

Dyson, J. L. (1990). The effect of family violence on children’s academic performance and behavior. Journal of the National Medical Association, 82(1), 17.

The study by Dyson (1990) begins by noting that exposure to family violence has a significant impact on learning as well as behavioral problems in schools. The author mainly focused on the black community and its related domestic violence rates. Statistically, blacks accounted for 44% of murder victims and 38% of excess deaths of black men aged below 45 years courtesy of homicide. Consequently, the death or violent injury of a parent leads to severe stress in children, which in turn changes their world perspective.

The study is based on two case studies to determine the effects of family violence on the behavior and academic performance of children. Case one and case two relate to David, and Steve, black Americans who are aged 15 years old and in eighth grade. The cases of David and Steve show the severe effect of violence on children’s lives. Notably, David’s mother left the city due to fear and remorse after his elder son’s brutal killing. As such, this aspect among others has affected the development of David as a child. Dyson notes that David has little chance to succeed in school. Steve’s extended family is characterized by a series of violence ranging from brutal killings of his mother and aunt. Despite the commonly held notion that individuals from chaotic and deprived societies are highly untreatable, David and Steve’s individual and group therapy sessions helped enhance self-esteem and reducing anger, stress, and helplessness.

The findings of the study validate the use of individual sessions, and group therapy sessions in treating people with domestic violence experiences. Notably, the authors recommend the provision of intensive psychotherapy programs, consideration of PTSD effects on children, assessment of children with behavior problems, and poor academic performance to curb effects of domestic violence on children.

Methodology

Description of the subjects

The subjects of the study are Saudi males and females, aged 7-20, who have been reported to have witnessed or suffered from family violence. The research includes participants from various social and educational backgrounds. Because the majority of participants are under-aged, all the necessary permissions and consents are to be obtained.

Description of the site

The study was conducted at several local schools with the prior approval of the school administration. Direct observation will be performed in the classrooms in between and during the lessons and school activities. The interviews with the individuals were conducted in the guidance counselor’s office or other school locations that ensure the confidentiality and comfortable surroundings of the participant. The individuals that did not feel comfortable sharing personal information during private and classroom sessions offered to grant an interview via phone.

Research design

This study is based on the qualitative research method. The research included direct observation of the participants during their classes and school activities, unstructured interviewing of the individuals, and case studies.

Instrumentation

The instruments for collecting the necessary data included unstructured interviews, audio recorders, portfolios, and anecdotal records. The research also described the experience of domestic violence and its effect on the daily life of the participants. The interviews were used during private sessions with or without the presence of a school counselor. The anecdotal records and portfolios were used to collect data during direct observations in the classrooms and during various school activities.

Data collection

The first step of data collection was to spread the information about the study in the schools to engage the attention of the individuals who might be willing to participate. The potential participants of the study discussed with the schools. The confidentiality and respect for the privacy of the individuals were to be guaranteed.

The second step was to meet the investigated group and introduce them to the objective of the study, its basis, expectations from the participants, and probable outcome. The participants were asked to speak about their experiences of domestic violence, family members, their reactions and feelings, the consequences, the current situation, and the impact on their lifestyle. The participants were encouraged to share their expectations about the project and choose the preferable conditions of their involvement. The individuals that felt uncomfortable participating publicly due to the concerns of confidentiality offered alternative methods. At this stage, the portfolios for each participant made based on data obtained and, if appropriated, from the school teachers and administration.

The third step included personal acquaintance with each participant. The individuals engaged in private conversations in the form of unstructured interviews. The purpose of such meetings is to provide a positive trust-based environment for a participant to share information and feelings about his or her experience. The interview aimed at evaluation of concerns, fears, and insecurities of an individual, his or her possible psychological trauma, the level of self-esteem, impact on school performance, behavior, further relationship with family members, relationship with friends and classmates. According to the participant’s preference, the data documented either with an audio recorder or written notes and added to the portfolio.

Direct observation was the last step of data collection. The behavior of the participants during the lessons and in between the classes was to be investigated. The observation process also focused on the communication style of the individuals with their classmates and teachers.

Data analysis

Data analysis performed using descriptive research. The collected data examined based on each separate portfolio and in the comparison of several cases. The obtained material was to be compared to the studies of the other scholars. The impact on physical and mental health is to be linked with the research of Boyko, Kothari, and Wathen (2016) who review domestic violence in the context of public health. The influence on children, their development, and social integration, is investigated by Levendosky, Huth-Bock, and Semel (2002). It is important to take into consideration the findings of Dyson (1990) who claimed that children and adolescents with the experience of domestic violence have small chances to succeed at school. The purpose of the analysis was to discover the variety of negative effects of domestic violence on the life of children and adolescents and to define the most common of such effects.

Discussions

This section stated the overall number of individuals who participated in the study and the results of the investigated data. Similarities and differences in findings of the given study and the studies by other scholars regarding domestic violence. Based on the collected data and the investigated peer-reviewed articles, it discussed what are the most common impacts of domestic violence on the life of children and adolescents. The results show, and the current physical health, mental condition, and social behavior of the participants described within the context of the experienced or witnessed violence in a family. The limitations of the research were to be stated, such as failure to reach the individuals from different backgrounds and the wide variety of cases. The research evaluated its effectiveness and suggested it as a source of accurate data for future investigations in the field.

Conclusions

This research focused on the influence of family violence on family members in Saudi Arabia. The major focus was made on children, adolescents, and young adults who either witnessed instances of family violence or became its victims. According to the findings of the descriptive research, family violence has a deteriorating influence on physical health, psychological well-being, academic performance, communication skills, and social involvement of those experiencing it. As for employment aspirations, the victims of family violence choose to spend more time at work compared to those living in peace.

Even though the research is of potential significance because of the contribution to understanding the problem of family violence in Saudi Arabia, there are several critical limitations. For instance, the interviews were unstructured, which means that there were risks of missing some important information. Moreover, the interviewees and those observed were aged between 7 and 20. In this case, the perception of violence is differing because of the social experience and understanding of the problem, which might have distorted reality. Finally, the risks of failing to reach respondents due to the diversity of their experiences and backgrounds were significant. This limitation was critical due to the potential negative influence on the accuracy of collected data.

Nevertheless, the abovementioned limitations are significant for determining suggestions for future research. One of the ideas is to conduct research focusing on narrow groups of people. For example, address people aged between 7 and 9, 9 and 11, etc. It would be beneficial for finding out how the influence of family violence changes over time, i.e. discover whether the issue becomes more critical over time or becomes less significant.

References

Boyko, J., Kothari, A., & Wathen, N. (2016). Moving knowledge about family violence into public health policy and practice: A mixed method study of a deliberative dialogue. Health Research Policy and Systems, 14(31), 1-9.

Davis, R. (2010). Domestic violence-related deaths. Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research, 2(2), 44-52.

Dyson, J. L. (1990). The effect of family violence on children’s academic performance and behavior. Journal of the National Medical Association, 82(1), 17.

Farmer, A., & Tiefenthaler, J. (2004). The employment effects of domestic violence. Research in Labor Economics, 23, 301-334.

Kim, J., Park, S., & Emery, C. R. (2009). The incidence and impact of family violence on mental health among South Korean women: Results of a national survey. Journal of Family Violence, 24(3), 193-202.

Levendosky, A. A., Huth-Bocks, A., & Semel, M. A. (2002). Adolescent peer relationships and mental health functioning in families with domestic violence. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 31(2), 206-218.

Moraff, C. (1982). Information on family violence. Collection Building, 4(1), 39-53.

Queensland Government. (2012, October). Domestic and family violence and its relationship to child protection: Practice paper. Brisbane: Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services.

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