Domestic violence: Arif Azam

Domestic violence is a kind of act in which force is used to hurt and it is related to home, house or family and it keeps many names within it: wife abuse, marital assault; women battery, spouse abuse, wife beating, conjugal violence, intimate violence, battering, and partner abuse and so on.

Domestic violence occurs in every culture, country and age group and it affects people from all socioeconomic, educational and religious background; takes place in same sex as well as heterosexual relationships. Women with fewer resources or greater perceived vulnerability_ girls and those experiencing physical or psychiatric disabilities or living below to the poverty line_ are at even greater risk for domestic violence and life time abuse.

Domestic violence occurs in a relationship where the perpetrator and victim are known to each other.

It occurs in both adult and adolescent intimate relationship and the victim and perpetrator may be dating, cohabiting, married, divorced, or separated.

They are heterosexual, gay or lesbian and they may have children in common. The relationships may be of short or long duration.

Domestic violence results in death, serious injury and chronic medical and mental health issue for victims, their children and others it happens in various shapes, for example:

Physical assaults:

Physical abuse may include spitting, scratching, biting, spitting, shaking, shoving, pushing, restraining, throwing, twisting, slapping, punching, choking, burning or use of weapons against the victims.

Physical abuse may or may not cause injuries. Sometimes a seemingly less serious type of physical abuse, such as a push can result in the most serious injury. The perpetrator may push the victim against a wall, down a flight of stairs, or out of a moving car, —– result injuries.

Sometimes the physical abuse does not cause a specific injury but does cause other health problems.

For example, one perpetrator frequently abuses his partner during males and late at night consequently there will be no visible injuries, but the victim will suffer from sever sleep deprivation and poor nutrition since both her sleep and eating partners were repeatedly interrupted by her abuser’s conduct.


According to a National Violence Against Women Survey, 22% of women are physically assaulted by partners or date during their life time and 5.3 million partner victimizations occur each year among US women ages 18 and older, resulting in 2 million injuries and 1,300 deaths.

Sexual assaults:

Some perpetrators sexually batter their victims. Sexual battering consist of a wide range of conduct that may include pressured sex, coerced sex by manipulation or threat, physically forced sex, or sexual assault accompanied by violence.

Some victims are unsure whether this sexual behavior is really abuse, while others see it as the ultimate betrayal.

If wife is not ready for the sex and husband will force her; it is considered a type of rape since it is forcefully done. It came into light in 1975 and the husband can be arrested for this case.


One in every four woman will experience domestic violence in their life time.

One in 33 men has experienced an attempted or completed rape.

An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by intimate partner each year.

The majority of family violence victims are female.

Females were 84% of spousal abuse victims and 86 % of abuse victims at the hand of a boyfriend.

Boys who witness domestic violence are twice as likely to abuse their own partners and children when they become adults.

Emotional abuse:

It is a tactic of control that consists of a wide variety of verbal attack and humiliating, including repeated verbal attacks against victims’ worth as an individual or role as a partner, family member, friend, co-worker, or community member.

The verbal attacks often emphasize the victims’ vulnerabilities.

Sometimes the emotional abuse consists of forcing the victims to do degrading things.

Emotional abuse may also include humiliating the victim in front of family, friends or strangers.

The perpetrator uses the emotional abuse in order to maintain his/her dominancy.

Violence between intimate:

Intimate partners are those people with whom the victim has had a romantic relationship, and therefore includes a spouse, ex-spouse, boyfriend, ex-boyfriend, girl friend or former girlfriend.

This kind of domestic violence mars the lives of millions of American, and yet it had been a taboo topic until the start of 1970s.

Now violence between intimates has come out from the shadows and is the most thoroughly studied.

The consequences of these beatings can be serve for the injured party (physical wounds, depression, post-death from homicide or suicide), for the offender (arrest, prosecution, probation, incarceration, mandatory therapy), for their children (emotional scars, divorce, custody battles), and for the entire society (costs of medical care and social services, lost productivity, and criminal justice expenses).

These victims of violence by assailants who are close to them face a host of special problems that require special solutions that are creative, thoughtful and effective.

The effect of partner violence on children:

Children are affected by domestic violence even if they do not witness it directly.

More than 100 studies have explored the effect of intimate partner violence on children.

These studies enumerate both short and long effects of intimate partner violence on children.

The most obvious and potentially dangerous risk for children who live in home in which there is intimate partner violence is that they become direct victims of abuse.

In 30 to 60 percent of families affected by intimate partner violence, children are also directly abused.

Children who exposed to intimate partner violence are more likely to exhibit behavior and physical health problems including chronic somatic complaints, depression, anxiety and violence towards peers.

They are also more likely to attempt suicide, abuse drugs and alcohol, run away from home, and engage prostitution and commit sexual crimes and they also suffer from sleep difficulties and cannot perform in a good way in school because of poor concentration.

Children who grow up with violence in home learn early and powerful lessons about the use of violence in interpersonal relationships.

They learn that violence is an acceptable way to assert one’s view, get one’s way or to discharge stress. Exposure to violence thus provides justification for children to use violence in their own relationships and this may be particularly true for adolescents.

Elderly abuse:

The definition of elder abuse varies but usually include both acts of commission (assaults, unreasonable confinement, financial exploitation in form of outright theft, extortion, fraud, embezzlement, or misuse of income or savings) as well as act of omission (failure to provide medical care, food, clothing, and shelter; failure to protect from health and safety hazards: and failure to assist with personal hygiene) by caretaker responsible for the older person’s well-being.

Therefore, abuse encompasses gross neglect as well as acts of international harm.

Domestic elder abuse is perpetrated by people who provide care to elderly people who live at home.

The offender is most commonly a close relative, especially a grandchild, spouse, or sibling.

Less often, the abuser is a son or daughter-in-law, niece, nephew, friend, or neighbor.

The typical target is a ailing woman more than 70 years old.

In most cases, the victim and the abuser live in the same household in social isolation from friends, neighbors, and kin who might otherwise informally deter the wrongdoing.

The abusers usually are overburdened caregivers who become depressed and hostile at long-term prospects of tending to a mentally and physically impaired, isolated, and dependent individual.

When homebound parents are physically beaten or financially exploited, sons are the most likely culprits.

When daughters and daughter-in-law are abusive, their maltreatment usually takes the form of emotional and physical neglect.

Institutional elder abuse:

It is committed by non-relative, such as employees of nursing homes, who have a contractual obligation to tend to the needs of older people.

An estimated 1.5 million older Americans (about 5% of senior citizens) were subjected to physical, psychological, or financial abuse or suffered serious, even life-threatening neglect in 1992.

Up to 5 million cases of elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation may occur yearly, according to a 1998 study commissioned by the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Many reasons explain the reluctance of victims to complain about their predicaments. The offender is most likely a family member who is depended upon for daily care.

Abused elders might see their situations as a cause for shame or as private family matter.

Some might feel they provoked the abuse; others may not even be aware of the wrongdoing particularly financial exploitation.


Mostly in our society old people are separated because their way of talking or behavior is disliked.

Effect of domestic violence:

Domestic violence can lead to other common emotional traumas such as depression anxiety, panic attacks, substance abuse and posttraumatic stress distress.

Abuse can trigger suicide attempts, homelessness and slow recovery from mental illness.

Children exposed to domestic violence are at risk for developmental problems, psychiatric disorders, school difficulties, aggressive behavior, and low self-esteem.

These factors can make it difficult for survivors to mobilize resources.

Nonetheless, many domestic violence survivors do not need mental health treatment and many symptoms resolve once they and their children safe supports. For others, treatment is in their plan for safety and recovery.

Child abuse:

Child abuse is a harsh reality which strongly swallows the basic rights of the children consequently children suffer the most in different ways sometimes at the hand of family members, in street, by state and so on.

No doubt, child abuses keeps its ground in every society and in every country and some countries hold the highest and some lowest rate of child abuse and ostensibly each country is trying to eliminate child abuse, however, it exists one way or the other in the world.

Child abuse_ Physical abuse:

Any punishment in which physical force is used and intended to cause some degree of pain or discomfort, however light.

Most involves hitting (smacking, slapping, spanking) children, with the hand or an implement_ whip, stick, belt, shoe, wooden spoon and so on.

But it can also involve, for example, , kicking, shaking or throwing children, scratching, pinching, burning, scolding, or forced ingestion( for example, washing children’s mouth out with soap or forcing them to swallow hot spices).

There are other non-physical forms of punishment which are also cruel and degrading.

These include, for example, punishment which belittles, humiliates, denigrates, scapegoats, threatens, scares or ridicules the child.


In 2009, a small boy was working in a home in Lahore, but one day the owner stayed unsatisfied with some work of that boy consequently he beat the boy until the boy became unconscious.

Child abuse_ Sexual abuse:
Child sexual abuse is “the involvement of a child in sexual activity that he or she does not fully comprehend and cannot give consent, or that violate the laws or social taboos of society.

Child sexual abuse is evidenced by this activity between a child and an adult or another child who by age or development is in a relationship of responsibility, trust or power, the activity being intended to gratify or satisfy the needs of the other person.


In Yala in 2008 a ten-year Buddhist girl was raped when her parents were away.

Child abuse_ Emotional abuse:

It involves “the failure to provide developmentally appropriate, supportive environment, including the availability of a primary attachment figure, so that the child can develop a stable and full range of emotional and social competencies commensurate with his or her personal potentials and in the context of the society in which the child dwells.

There may also be acts towards the child that cause or have a high probability of causing harm to the child’s health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development.

These acts must be reasonably within the control of the parents or the person in a relationship of responsibility, trust or power.

Acts include restriction of movement, patterns of belittling, and denigrating, scapegoating, threatening, scaring, discriminating, ridiculing or other non-physical forms of hostile or rejecting treatment.”

Emotional abuse can cause low self-esteem, mistrust, fear and guilt.


A child left his parental home because there he could not get the attention of his parents resultantly his emotions were injured and he started living with his grandparents.

No doubt, the child abuse violates the most basic rights of children which are given under the Article 19 of the Convention on the Rights of child, adopted by the UN in 1989 which simply talks about good care of children.

The cases of child abuse usually go unreported and very few cases will be reported.

There are estimates that every year 275 million children around the world are the victims of violence in their households, and some 40 million children under age 15 suffer violence, abuse and neglect.

These incidents reportedly take place in different context in families, in schools, in the community, on the street and in work situation.

The number estimated by the research show as many as 275 million children worldwide are exposed to violence in the home.
According to a report of UN, Latin America and the Caribbean with the population of more than 190 million children has the highest rate of child abuse.

There had been a time when the child abuse was denied in some of the European countries, but it was the Church which came forward by considering the child abuse as a sinful act, consequently it somewhat reduced the child abuse in European countries.

Asia accounts for more than 50% of the world’s child laborers who constitute as much as 17% of the overall child force in some countries and at the moment, Pakistan is faced with the problem of about 3.3 children engaged in various forms of labor.


1 Karmen, Andrew, Crime Victims: An introduction to Victimology, (Wadsworth Cengage, USA), 7th ed, 2010

2 House Subcommittee on Health and long-term care, select committee on aging: Hearing of elder abuse, (US Department of Justice, Washington D.C, US), 1992

3 Mc Grath, K., and Osborne, M., Redressing violence against elders

4 Pagelow, M., The incidence and prevalence of criminal abuse of other family member, 1989

5 Peacock, P., Martial rape, 1998

6 Russell, D., Rape in marriage, (New York), 1990

7 Wolf, R., and Pillemer, K., Helping elderly victims: The reality of elder abuse, (Columbia University Press, New York), 1989

8 Jalalzai, Musa Khan, Child labour and child abuse in Pakistan, (BookBiz, Lahore), 2004

9 Turnell, Andrew, and Essex, Susie, Working with “Denied” child, (Open University Press, New York, America), 2006

10 L., Ganley, Anne, Understanding Domestic violence, Pdf

11 Child Abuse: A painful reality behind doors, Unicef, Number 9, July 2009

12 Child Maltreatment, Unicef, 2012



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