Domestic Violence – What you can Do

Domestic violence is abuse that happens within relationships. This can include abuse between husband and wife or partners, or between parents and children. The many types of domestic violence (discussed below) are very damaging to a victim. It can also be damaging to a community, causing the breakdown of relationships and dispossession of children. Importantly, it is a violation of human rights, which governments must protect under international law. In many countries domestic violence is also against the law.
Domestic violence is often thought of as a “private matter” that should be dealt with in the home, but the key to ending domestic violence is knowing that it is a widespread problem that should be dealt with by the whole community. The most important thing to remember is that everyone has the right to live a life free from violence and abuse, and to be in healthy, loving relationships. It is therefore vital that we as a society speak up for these rights: as victims and as supporters.

There are many different types of domestic violence, not just physical. Common to all types of domestic violence is that the violence is often ongoing and cyclic, which can make it difficult to see and confusing for the victim. Perpetrators want power and control over their victims, and the weakness and fear a victim may feel often means they feel trapped in the relationship. Even though the perpetrator may also be a good person at times, this doesn’t make up for the harm they do cause.?
Physical and Sexual: This type of domestic violence involves the perpetrator hurting, or threatening to hurt, the victim or someone they love: including hitting or punching and smashing things. Sexual violence includes rape or sexual assault.
Emotional: This type of domestic violence is often ignored, even though it can be as harmful as physical violence. The perpetrator tries to harm the victim’s confidence and make them feel weak in the relationship. This can include things like insulting and teasing the victim.?
Economic: This involves controlling financial decisions made in the relationship. This results in the victim’s dependence on the perpetrator, making it very difficult to live their own life or to leave the relationship.

Social: This involves controlling who, when and how the victim spends time with other people. The perpetrator often behaves in a jealous way. Keeping a victim isolated from their friends and family is a way of making it hard for the victim to seek help. Social violence can also include treating the victim badly in front of other people, like teasing or insulting.?
Domestic violence is a common problem for many communities and hurts many people. If you can see signs of domestic violence in your relationship, or in relationships around you, it is important to know that this is a violation of human rights. Standing up for yourself as a victim can be very scary, but it is an important part of making sure that you are safe. Seek help from those around you to do this. Supporting victims to do this is key to making sure the pattern of domestic violence is broken. No one should have to face domestic violence.?
The services available for victims of domestic violence are different in different places, and in many cases they are still being created. This will take time. In most countries domestic violence is punishable by law, so if you believe you are, or someone you know is, in immediate danger from domestic violence, seek police or legal protection. If you have access to advice and help through local non-governmental organisations or domestic violence support groups, take advantage of these services.?
It is often helpful to seek the support of those around you: speak up to people you trust, whether they are family or friends, or a community leader. They can help you to make decisions about your future, comfort you and empower you.