Domestic violence & Law

Domestic violence is a form of violence against women. Violence Against Women (VAW) as defined by the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women (1993) is “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or metal harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life”  .

This definition then emphasizes that any act that forces women to do certain things that result to any type of harm is considered as an act of DV. More importantly, the scope of DV has been made broad as it encompasses not only DV in terms of the household, but also certain oppression against women that might happen in the latter’s course of relating towards people.

Violence against women includes the “physical, sexual and psychological violence that happens in the family or the community which includes battering, sexual abuse of children, dowry related violence, rape, female genital mutilation and other traditional practices harmful to women, non-spousal violence and violence related to exploitation, sexual harassment and intimidation at work, in educational institutions and elsewhere, trafficking in women, forced prostitution, and violence perpetrated or condoned by the state”   More specifically, the World Health Organization (WHO) claimed that the violence against women does not only poses human rights issue but also contains other problems such as health and social concerns. This definition then provided by WHO further elaborates the definition provided by VAW. More importantly, the threats upon the health of women that came into effect because of the abuses that were brought forth unto them are also a growing health concern according to WHO. Domestic Violence is also labeled as Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) by the Center for Disease and Control Prevention (CDC) has four major types which are: physical, sexual, psychological abuse and stalking . The World Health Organization perceived IPV not only as a human rights issue but also a growing health concern.

The population based study of WHO found out that 10-69% of women admitted that they have been physically assaulted by a male partner at some point within their lives. In a larger scale, the range is between 10-34%. IPV incidents are perceived to be not regularly reported to the police, hence the inability to picture the entire magnitude of the problem. CDC also reported that majority of IPV incidents reported (i. e. 50%) are stalking, 25% physical assaults and 20% rape or sexual assaults. The CDC said that the consequences of domestic violence are perceived to be more damaging on the part of the victim and more costly in terms of treatment. Physical consequences include injuries that were left as a result on the victimization such as scratches, bruises and welts.

Other more damaging effects are central nervous system disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, gynecological disorders, pregnancy difficulties and the likes. Psychological violence which stemmed out from emotional or psychological assault makes the victims develop problematic behaviors such as being anti social, develops suicidal tendencies, depressions and anxiety. Social implications of domestic violence also create a web of problem for the victims in terms of relating with other people and performing well in their workplace. More often than not, a difficult relationship is perceived in terms of the victims’ employers, peers and/ or colleagues .

The health implications that resulted from domestic violence are primarily characterized by a very risky sexual behavior such as unprotected sex or even sexual trade. In addition, the use of addictive substances such as drugs or alcohols is also perceived. Corollary with this, the abuse of various medicines or pills for in order to lose weight is also paramount; while in some cases, overeating was the documented consequence . The economic implications of domestic violence are also very alarming. On 2003, the perceived costs of IPV is roughly $4. 1 billion which primarily comprises of $460 for rape cases, $6. 2 billion for physical assault, $461 billion for stalking and $1. 2  billion for the value of cost lives .