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The Nature of Domestic Violence and Countermeasures Against it


Domestic violence has always been a problem among families, yet people rarely view it as an issue that could be enforced by law. Because this type of violence is deeply rooted within one's family affairs, it is hard to find the necessary evidences that are required by law. There is no central authority in this issue and this creates a vague definition of domestic violence in various parts of the world. According to the United States Department of Justice, domestic violence is defined as "a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner" [1]. This definition is most suitable because it includes the elements of power and control which are key aspects of an abusive relationship. Although victims of domestic violence can be of both genders, it is usually women who are victimized. The unforgiving truth is that because most of our world has lived under patriarchy for many millennia, men have dominated women in many aspects of life. Men seek power and control over their female partners and this often leads to the use of violence against their spouses [2]. To end domestic violence, we as the community, must emphasize through education, that all men and women have equal rights. Even under patriarchal rule, women must realize that they also have access to law whenever it becomes necessary.
Example of Domestic Violence, Devastation to Women
In many domestic violence cases, the unequal power and financial structure in marriage have led to women's reliance and deference to their husbands. Because some women choose to obey after marriage, they become private property of their husbands and forfeit their rights. In a case done by the Centre for Women's Law Studies & Legal Services at Peking University, a woman named Li became the punching bag of her androcentric husband [3]. She was battered down both physically and mentally but succumbed to his brutality because she believed in the idea of obeying her husband after marriage [4]. Unfortunately for Li, her restraint did not help; instead, it encouraged her husband to use stronger force [5]. She was so badly beaten in several occasions where she lost consciousness and required hospitalization [6]. Because women like Li do not have a retaliating mentality, many women like her suffer the same fate at home under the hands of their abusive husbands. Domestic violence against women has had devastating effects to both their physical and mental health. Furthermore, men with problems in alcoholism, gambling, and other mal-habits can turn domestic violence into a life threatening issue for women [7].
Forms of Domestic Violence
Patriarchy establishes an environment where men can behave however they want to. Because of this, men have many reasons to provoke an attack on their spouses in attempt to preserve their dominance in the household. According to the Duluth Model, a "Domestic Abuse Intervention Project" developed by Minnesota Program Development Inc, "women are vulnerable to violence because of their unequal social, economic, and political status in society" [8]. The Duluth Model offers that men seek power and control over their female partners through physical, sexual, emotional, and financial abuse.
l        Physical Abuses: beating, displaying weapon, destroying property, etc.
l        Sexual Abuses: unwanted/forced sexual activity, stalking, etc.
l        Emotional Abuse: humiliation, mental harassment, isolation from people, etc.
l        Financial Abuse: taking away money, restricting access to family income, etc. [9]
Women's Unwillingness to Retaliate
These abusive tactics are all part of domestic violence. They have devastating effects on the abused, usually the women. However, male perpetrators rarely suffer punishments because of their power within the household. Unfortunately in a patriarchal society, both men and women treat domestic violence as "a family issue, not a public issue or an issue of women's rights, and as a result, many cases have gone unreported" [10]. Even after suffering brutal injuries, many women do not retaliate because they are hopeful that their husbands would change for the better. In many domestic violence cases, many men beat their wives because they are suffering from social and financial problems. However, after their problems are resolved, the violence would eventually stop. This reason has prevented women from retaliating because they believe that the violence would stop as soon as their husbands'problems have ceased. Without women's own effort to stop the violence that has been traumatizing for their own kind, male perpetrators continue to abuse their patriarchal powers without having to worry about law. The sad truth is that women who are victims of domestic violence accept the violence as a normal part of life. This is especially true for women in China. In a survey carried out by United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), domestic violence exists in 35% of Chinese marriages yet only 5% of the women said that they were unhappy [11]. This is a shocking statistic because it places great emphasis on the position of Chinese women. How could it be possible that out of so many abusive marriages, only 5% of the women felt unhappy? Realistically speaking, most of these women are reluctant to admit their displeasure with their husbands because they have developed a sense of fear which silences any type of complaint.


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