Since the dawn of time, physical force has been the means to keep smaller weaker groups in constant fear of the dominant people in society. Men have always been physically larger than women and since most societies are male dominated, to no one’s surprise the woman has almost always been the common victim. Many times when a woman seeks, help the problem of interest is given a band-aid solution such as a restraining order. Only giving the victim false hope that the problem will stop, other times women are too afraid for their lives to admit that they have been physically abused and therefore no charges are pressed.
As time goes by the abuse escalates and it becomes harder and harder for the victim to leave. Until the inevitable happens; the beating goes too far and a life is lost. Therefore I propose that equal and harsher punishment, better rehabilitation as well as outreach programs for victims, and teaching children that violence is inappropriate as well as providing better methods of problem solving without using physical means to reach a verdict, will ultimately prevent domestic violence. Educating society as a whole also is a very important key to ending domestic violence this is accomplished through changes in public policy and practices
Only recently, within the past twenty-five years, has been the issue of domestic violence been “brought into the open as a field of concern and study” (Violence against Women in the Family) The Domestic Violence Movements main focus is to improve the treatment of victims and make laws accountable for the act. Much tougher laws are needed since most abusers are given a slap on the wrist, it gives them and other people like them, the message that domestic violence is not a major crime and abusers can simply get away with it if they have the right amount of money. When communities establish mandatory arrest and prosecution policies, a message is sent from the police and the courts that domestic violence is a crime that society will not tolerate. When they join with counseling programs for abusers, the message will also be that those who want to change will be given a chance. It has been agreed upon by all those trying to end domestic violence that not only the individual abusers, but society itself needs help. One of the many ways to enforce putting a stop to domestic violence is by setting a good example.
Emphasis must also be given to other statues of society including the religious aspects of life as well as the workplace. Because preachers, doctors, and co-workers are all in the best position to reach out to the person facing the abuse letting them know that in no way shape or form this is their fault, it would be best to give everyone a crash course in how to deal with domestic violence. Evidence suggests that “many battered women are actually more comfortable talking with co-workers, friends, and or family members about the violence in their lives than with trained domestic violence professionals whom they do not know.” (Glazer) Many authorities insist that domestic violence has had a severe check but a Mercury News investigation shows that “many batterers spend little time in jail and are shuffled through a criminal justice system that lacks the resources to keep victims safe. Batterers that are convicted are not always put in jail and usually violate their restraining orders.” (Uniform Crime Reports) A restraining order is no more than a piece of paper; it isn’t a shield or a bullet proof vest, it is a piece of paper. So why give victims false hope that a piece of paper will save them and not the judicial system. One report stated that “in the last two decades, family violence has become one of the country’s largest health problems. Aggression affects one out of three marriages, accounts for approximately 12% of all homicides, and has been identified as the most common cause of injury in women”(Byron).
Women are sometimes afraid to leave because they fear they will lose their child but this does crazy things to a child’s psyche being raised in an unstable environment. If a child is forced to grow up in an unstable environment with either verbal or physical abuse “9 times out of 10” (Kellerman) they will find themselves in another abusive relationship dealing with the same problems that they grew up with or they will in turn become the monster that they feared so much. The mind clings on to the things that make the person who they are, if all they have ever known is screaming, violence, and abuse. Then that’s all they will be able to be. Usually for women they wind up abusive relationships because when they are in normal truthful ones it doesn’t feel right, “it’s as if it was never meant to be.
Once the relationship has reached the next level there is no abuse and it feels like your aren’t suppose to be with the person” (Five Year State Master Plan for the Prevention of and Service for Domestic Violence) because of the violence they experienced as a child they are never able to escape no matter how far they go from home. Many psychologists believe that “teaching children that violence is inappropriate, as well as better methods of problem solving, is the first step in ending domestic violence.” (Byron) Our media and entertainment industry denounce the gravity of domestic violence. Children grow up to reflect what they see; what they were brought up on. Subconsciously they are gathering information in their brain shaping who they are as a character. Since judges continue to give little or no punishment to famous rap stars, of BMX athletes. Children slowly understand that it’s ok to do bad things if you’re rich or famous, and that there is always a loop hole in any law.
The ultimate goal in the fight against domestic violence should be to provide the ground work to stop the abuse before it begins. By changing the way the media chooses to cover a story. By making the crime actually punishable to everyone instead of just a select few; by teaching children at an early age that it is wrong, and it is indeed a crime. Domestic violence will soon become a thing of the past. Too long the weaker group has been forced into the darkness with no way to get out, but now with the awareness of domestic violence and with the new ideas coming to mind, the light shines through.
Arthur Kellerman. “Men Women and Murder.” The Journal of Trauma. July 17, 1992, P 1-5.
Committee on the Judiciary United States Senate, 102nd congress, October 1992, P.3.
“Five Year State Mater Plan for the Prevention of and service for Domestic Violence.” Utah State Department of Human Services, January 1997.
Foege,W.H. Rosenberg, M. L. and Mercy, J. A. Public Health and Violence Prevention, Current Science (1995): 2-9.
Sara Glazer, “Violence, Against Women” Co researcher, Congressional Quarterly, Inc, Volume 3, number 8 February, 1993 P. 171.
Statistics, National. Clearing House for the Defense of Battered Women, Ruth Peachy, M.D. 1998.
Uniform Crime Reports, Federal Bureau of Investigation, 1991
Violence Against Women: A National Crime Victimization Survey Report.” U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice and Statistics. January 1994, P.9.
“Women and Violence,” Hearings before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, August 29 and December 11, 1997. Senate Hearing 101-939 pt.1 P.12.