“If the numbers we see in domestic violence were applied to terrorism or gang violence, the entire country would be up in arms, and it would be the lead story on the news every night.”
— Rep. Mark Green
Domestic violence occurs when a family member, partner or ex partner attempts to physically or psychologically dominate another. Domestic violence often refers to violence between spouses, or spousal abuse but can also include co-habitants and non married intimate partners. Though this is the widely accepted definition of domestic violence, it’s very narrow. A broader definition of domestic violence includes any kind of violence at a domestic level as domestic violence. This includes violence committed by parents towards children, children towards parents or siblings. Domestic violence covers all forms of physical, sexual, verbal, emotional and economic abuse that can harm, cause injury to, and endanger the health, safety, life, limb or well-being, either mental or physical of the aggrieved person.
Domestic violence occurs in all cultures; people of all races, ethnicities, religions, sexes and classes can be perpetrators of domestic violence. Domestic violence is perpetrated by both men and women, occurring in both same-sex and opposite –sex relationships.
In spite of several bills and laws being passed, domestic violence continues to remain a widespread issue. Here are 10 ways which can help us fight domestic violence and help us improve our and others’ life.
Yes, domestic violence does occur within educated households as well but an educated victim always has more power than an illiterate one. An educated victim, if an adult, can walk out of house and support himself/herself by taking a job but the same doesn’t apply for an uneducated person. Most of the women in India, tolerate domestic violence as they don’t have any source of earning because of being illiterate.
A great way to protect a person from domestic violence, especially a woman is to educate her. Let the pen be her sword; educate her, liberate her.
- Spread awareness
Most of the people, educated or not, are not aware of signs of domestic violence or of the fact that it’s a punishable offence and there is help available for it. People must be made aware of the signs of domestic violence and how and who can they approach for help.
Workshops which spread awareness against domestic violence must be held in schools, colleges, offices, colonies, villages etc. Other mediums of communication such as television and radio also must be used to spread awareness among people.
“Awareness is like the sun. When it shines on things, they are transformed.”
― Thich Nhat Hanah
- Stop victim blaming
“You must have done something wrong”, “It takes two to tango”; victim blaming doesn’t only traumatize the victim further but discourages them to stand up and speak out against the violence they’re going through.
Even if the victim is somewhere at fault, violence is never a solution to anything. Stop justifying violence, stop blaming the victim and help them fight against it.
- Stand up, speak out
It’s very important for a victim not to stay silent and raise their voice against the violence they have been facing. One must not be embarrassed to confide in close friends or anyone who they feel can be of help. Sharing on social media may seem like going overboard but in today’s world, nothing helps you get the much needed attention as social media does. Bring into light the issues that need attention, seek help, help and make this world a safer place to be in.
- Seek government’s help
Most countries across the world have laws to protect its people from domestic violence. These laws are designed to help the victims fight against domestic violence and lead a happy & safe life. Government has also set up various toll free helpline numbers on which a person can call and seek immediate help.
In India, a complaint in case of domestic violence does not necessarily have to be lodged by the aggrieved party but by any person who has reason to believe that such an act has been or is being committed.
Know the laws, know your rights, keep your spirits up and fight!
- Get in touch with NGO’s
When government is too lazy or corrupt to work, NGO’s come to one’s rescue. There are several non – governmental organizations dedicated to help people affected by domestic violence. It’s advised to keep the contact details of such organizations handy and seek help as and when needed.
- Support the victim
Victims of domestic violence usually lack support as most of us dismiss the problems they are going through as their ‘personal problems’. Not only do we ignore their plight, we also don’t make efforts to support that person.
A few words ensuring the victim that someone is there for his/her help can make a huge difference in their lives. It can help them regain their lost confidence and fight against domestic violence.
We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. ~ Elie Wiesel
Though it’s not a very safe thing to do but it’s okay to take a risk at times and especially when it’s about your physical and mental well –being. If you’re being physically hurt by a person hit them back as hard as you can, an act of protection isn’t seen as violence. Stay strong, stay safe.
- Reform notions
In patriarchal societies, a woman reporting domestic violence is seen as cunning & uncultured and man reporting it is often laughed at and considered to be a sissy. It’s high time we look beyond our prejudices and accept that no form of domestic violence either against a man or a woman is justifiable under any circumstances. It’s time we accept it to be as grave issue as any other and support its victims rather than ridicule them.
- Right upbringing
The biggest cause behind domestic violence is faulty upbringing. A study reveals that the children who face violence through hands of their parents are more likely to physically abuse their children than the ones who didn’t. It is a well known fact that, the sons of men who’re wife beaters are more likely to beat up their wives/girlfriends and the daughters who encounter this are more likely to be submissive and suppressed.
Until we don’t give up patriarchal beliefs and don’t bring up our children the right way, no reform, rule or bill can help the society. As it’s said, charity begins at home; to bring a change in society we must begin the change in our homes, our families, ourselves.
Domestic violence awareness month is celebrated in October every year. A purple ribbon is a way of spreading awareness regarding it. Every one in four women and one in seven men face domestic violence, don’t let this go unnoticed. Stand up, unite and fight.
“To those who abuse: the sin is yours, the crime is yours, and the shame is yours. To those who protect the perpetrators: blaming the victims only masks the evil within, making you as guilty as those who abuse. Stand up for the innocent or go down with the rest.”
― Flora Jessop
When Rati Agnihotri, a famous actress, revealed in public that she was a victim of domestic violence and she tolerated the crap for many years because of her son, people realized that it’s a phenomenon that’s almost universal and more or less every couple has experienced it in some form or the other. But we mustn’t be complacent that since every woman (and at times, even men) has been at the receiving end of domestic violence, we must accept it as a necessary evil. Domestic violence must be fought and addressed tooth and nail because it’s the fundamental right of the sufferer to raise his/her voice against this social and familial dysfunctional behavior.