BlessWorld Foundation International

Affecting the World Through Health
A Global Health Initiative

Global health and Domestic Violence



Domestic violence or abuse is any behavior, not just physical violence, that aims to gain power and control over a spouse, partner or  family member. Like many  behaviors in life, abuse is a learned behavior and not caused by common excuses such as anger, mental problems, drugs and alcohol. Major categories of abuse include Physical, Sexual, Emotional, Verbal and Economic Abuse. Domestic violence, like other manifestations of abuse,  can be classified under, or take the form of any of the above listed categories of abuse.

The major purpose of the abuser is to gain and maintain total control over the abused by instilling negative emotions such as fear, guilt, shame and intimidation. Threats, blackmail, blame, dominance, isolation, humiliation, emotional and physical violence are often used to achieve these means. Sometimes, abusers hurt people or things that are dear to the abused in order to keep them in the constant state of depression, pain and powerlessness. Clearly, these injuries and emotions that result from domestic violence affect health negatively.

Domestic violence and abuse do not happen in only certain groups of people, it occurs irrespective of people‘s characteristics such as age, gender, race, social class, and level of education. Also, it happens both in heterosexual and homosexual relationships and is not specific to any gender in particular. Hence, while women are more commonly victimized and physically harmed because men may be stronger, men are also abused—especially verbally and emotionally. The fact is, abuse or violence is never acceptable for whatever reason, whether it’s coming from a man, a woman, a teenager, or an older adult- everyone deserves to be safe and respected.

Most often, domestic abuse often begins with threats, emotional blackmail and verbal abuse, and then escalates to violence, which is the most obvious act. Despite not being as obvious as violence or physical injury, emotional and psychological forms of domestic abuse are as severe and damaging. Emotionally abusive relationships can destroy an individual’s self-worth, lead to anxiety and depression, and make one feel helpless and alone. No one should have to endure the pain and worthlessness that comes with such manipulation.

The first step to breaking free from an abuser is recognizing that there is a problem- that a relationship is abusive or has abusive potentials. Once the reality of the abusive situation is acknowledged, it then becomes easier for the abused individual to get the much needed help, which is usually available through many NGOs, government funded, community -based and charitable organizations.

There are several characteristics of an abusive relationship, the major one being the fear of one’s partner. Once an individual feels like there’s need to be overly cautious around their partner, either by constantly watching what they say or do, it is likely  the relationship is unhealthy and potentially abusive. Other signs of an abusive or potentially abusive relationship include: being belittled or controlled, humiliation, hyper-criticism, refusal to communicate, being ignored or excluded, extramarital affairs, use of sarcasm and unpleasant tone of voice, unreasonable jealousy, withdrawal of affection or money and guilt trips.

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