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Tita Yanez

Mrs. Greene
Capstone- 7
14 November 2016
Domestic Violence Around the World: None Involved Leave Unscathed
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, or NCADV, defines domestic
violence as the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other
abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate
partner against another. However, most organizations shy away from giving domestic violence
a set definition as there are many intricate factors at work when abuse occurs and many different
ways in which someone can be hurt. Although anyone can be a victim of domestic violence,
regardless of race, age, gender, and religion, for the purposes of this writing victims are going to
be classified as female and the perpetrators are going to be classified as male. Domestic violence
is a devastating phenomena throughout the world and although anyone can fall victim to it, those
that are perceived weaker are often targeted; however, all parties involved often suffer both
physical and emotional damage as a result.
Domestic Violence in Latin America
Domestic violence occurs in all regions throughout the world and impacts the culture and
society where it is largely rooted. In Latin America, domestic violence has become so deeply
ingrained in peoples lifestyles that it is often not recognized as a problem. Violence in Latin
American homes has allowed for aggressive behavior to become the norm; most victims and

perpetrators no longer recognize the damage of their actions within the family nor how it affects
the community as a whole. A study on domestic violence was conducted in Colombia and
Guatemala in order to examine the role this violence played within these communities. Of the
people interviewed, women were more candid than men because men were less likely to
recognize this as a form of violence (Moser and McIlwaine). This allows for people to become
desensitized to abuse that occurs within homes. Perpetrators of violence will feel entitled to
abusing their victims and may even convince themselves that it is their duty to do so. In some
areas honor [is] used as a justification for violence and formal customs and legal traditions
have often developed that sanction or excuse such violence (Cohen and Vandello). The
normification of this abuse leaves victims feeling helpless as they reside not only in a home that
permits this crime but also in a nation that justifies it.
Due to the high prevalence of domestic violence in this region, changes in the legal
systems have occurred in order to begin combating this issue. In fact, during these past 20
years, advocacy and intervention for battered women and their families has been expanded to
include changes in the legal and mental health systems to better accommodate the complexities
of domestic violence(Walker). This is a huge step in Latin America because it shows that the
misogynistic views that have dominated these patriarchal societies are beginning to change, and

people are beginning to realize that victims are in need of systems in place that will work to stop
this abuse.
However, there is still a lot of work that must be done in order for these legal practices to
fully bring about the desired effects. A feminist scholar in Latin America pointed out the issue
that the criminal justice system is centred on the State, which is cast as the offended party. The
victim is thus relegated to being a mere witness to her own abuse(Macaulay). This belittles the
abuse the victim has faced and doesnt allow them the rights they deserve as they are listed as a
merewitness. In addition, the criminal justice system is more concerned with due process and
the assignment of blame and punishment. This makes it slow and focused on prosecution, rather
than with the victims immediate need for protection (Macaulay). This is not only inefficient,
but it also places the victim in a dangerous position. Victims are more likely to be abused or even
killed after they report their batterer to authorities. While their claim gets processed, victims are
exposed and unprotected, and as the ruling of the court gets dragged out, perpetrators are more
and more likely to come after the victim. Another disheartening factor is that despite making the
victims wait so long for an answer, a courts ruling usually does not initially condemn or jail the
batterer. Instead, the courts long-term desire [is] for the violence to cease and for pacic family
relations to be restored, and as a result, a number of countries (Argentina, Bolivia, Chile,

Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, Venezuela and Colombia) [make] conciliation between the two parties in
conict an obligatory rst stage and primary aim of court intervention
(Macaulay). This conciliation period is usually ineffective and only provides perpetrators another
opportunity to get at their victim- whether it be physically or psychologically. Although Latin
American nations are advancing in the right direction, they are still in need of reform in order to
bring justice to perpetrators of domestic abuse.
Many people dont criminalize domestic violence as they should, but children are
unusually more adept to recognizing the negative effects of abuse. When children in Guatemala
and Colombia were interviewed. in both countries... family by its very nature was often
perceived as a violent institution (Moser and McIlwaine). This not only brings about unsteady
family relationships, but it can also destroy a childs trust in his parents. This study also showed
that children are more likely to face danger within their own home than on the streets.
Because the crime is perpetrated most often by a father, stepfather, grandfather, brother, uncle,
or another male relative in a position of trust, the rights of the child are usually sacrificed in
order to protect the name of the family and that of the adult perpetrator.
Domestic Violence Toward the Disabled
Those that are diagnosed with a disability are more likely to be victims of domestic
violence and are prone to be more helpless than others in these cases. They face many issues in

trying to lead a normal life. In order to get by, they entrust others to help them, but often those
they trust are the same ones that hurt them. Not enough studies have been conducted to allow for
the conclusion that the disabled face more abuse than those without disabilities however, studies
do show that violence toward the disabled is common. A study was conducted to assess the
prevalence of violence in the lives of children with either a mental or physical disability, or both.
The study showed that among these children prevalence was 21% for the combined measure of
violence, 27% for physical violence and 15% for sexual violence (Jones et al). This shows that
of the children studied, about one in five of them have experienced a form of domestic violence,
be it physical or sexual. Something that enables such a high percentage of abuse is that the
disabled are often pushed away and treated as if they were invisible or nonexistent. A study was
conducted in Orissa, India to see how domestic violence played a role in the lives of disabled
women that resided there and it was concluded that despite the various violations these women
faced, one of the main violations was that of visibility. They found that the disabled woman
is violated in her most intimate and deepest dimension - of physical identity, emotion, thought
and, of great importance to everyone, personal relationships. The violence consists in the
incapacity of others to recognise that disabled women are capable of these dimensions and
therefore exclude them(Mohapatra and Mihir). This exclusion of the victim can in a sense

dehumanize them and cause others to feel indifference toward their suffering. This can be
considered as domestic violence as the victim is being abused in her emotional and mental state.
The indifference of a loved one toward a disabled victim of abuse can be dangerous and
may lead to abusers feeling a sense of justification for the violence they caused. In a study
conducted in Poland, they found that many people felt indifferent toward domestic violence
entirely. In the Journal of Interpersonal Violence, the authors wrote that many people who
witness acts of violence against elders and the disabled do not react(Radkiewicz and
Korzeniowski). This is largely due to the idea that a caretaker has the ability to treat those under
their care whichever way they wish. This mentality leads to extreme cases of passivity in the face
of violence and although it is less common, it can result in people finding justifications for this
mistreatment. This sense of justification, however, turned out to be mainly a function of
environmental exposure to violence(Radkiewicz and Korzeniowski). This meaning that those
who grew up in an environment where domestic violence was prevalent and with a predisposed
exposure to abuse were the same ones that attempted to justify abuse toward disabled victims.
Caretakers that agree with this idea are more likely to abuse their victims at a higher rate, thus
decreasing the victims chance to leave them.
It is often difficult for victims to leave their abusers because of the care they require due
to their disability. This makes it more likely that a disabled victim will stay with their abuser

rather than attempt to leave. In fact, although research on this topic shows that disabled and
nondisabled women are at similar risk for abuse, women with disabilities may be at risk of
experiencing longer durations of abuse than women without disabilities (Moracco and Dulli).
This is largely due to a nondisabled woman being able to leave her abuser much easier, and a
woman with a disability will often stay because she recognizes how difficult it will be for her to
leave. Someone with a disability is usually aware of all the care they require. If their abuser is
their primary caregiver, that makes it all the more difficult for them to leave. Although there are
many places that provide care for women that are abused, there arent many shelters that are
adapted to the needs a disabled victim may have. As mentioned by Moracco and Dulli in Helping
Women with Disabilities and Domestic Violence: Strategies, Limitations, and Challenges of
Domestic Violence Programs and Services, disabled victims may require special transportation,
communication aides, accommodations, and other types of services to address their special
needs, many of which may not be available at traditional domestic violence programs(Moracco
and Dulli). These accommodations are not things that are readily available at this time, and this
may hinder a victim from seeking help as they are aware that the help they receive will most
likely not be sufficient for their needs. In order to better help disabled victims of domestic
violence shelters will have to eventually undergo changes and adapt to the needs of these
victims. Some changes may include things as simple as building a ramp so that a victim in a

wheelchair may access the building or making the bathroom stalls larger. Some of the more
complex changes would be to have a staff that is ready and able to care for disabled victims that
require more attentive care. These changes, both small and large, are crucial to getting a victim
the help they need and not letting them fall through the cracks of society as many other victims
do.
Psychological Effects of Domestic Violence
When considering the effects domestic violence can have on others, physical damage is
what is mostly documented and taken into account. However, evidence shows that the
psychological and emotional effects are what usually causes the most damage on all involved.
\Domestic violence has devastating psychological effects on victims and abusers, as well as child
witnesses; it leaves an imprint on their mental and emotional health that could last a lifetime.
Eighty five percent of victims of domestic violence are female, and the violence these
women endure leaves many psychological and emotional scars(Steiner). A survivor of domestic
violence, Leslie Morgan Steiner, describes what went on through her head while she was abused
by her husband and explains that Domestic abuse happens only in intimate, interdependent,
long-term relationships, in other words, in families, the last place we would want or expect to
find violence, which is one reason domestic abuse is so confusing (Steiner). This is the primary
thing that allows for so much psychological damage to occur to the victim. Victims enter an

abusive relationship unaware of the harm their partner will bring to them further down the line.
When the abuse begins, the abuser has fully convinced the victim that she is loved by him, and
here is where she begins to be confused and where the psychological damage begins to occur.
When a victim is convinced that her abuser loves her, aside from experiencing depression, fear,
and anxiety due to the abuse, the victim often feels a deep sense of self hatred and guilt. An
article reads that, Domestic violence negatively affects mental health, and mental health issues
make a woman vulnerable to victimization. The womens suffering becomes a vicious cycle
(Feder). The emotions and mental damage done to a victim of abuse makes her more susceptible
to returning to or re-entering an abuse relationship. The damage done may become a permanent
part of who they are. Another article states that, experiencing domestic violence can cause
personality disorders for the rest of the victims lifetime. Even if a woman is able to escape her
abuser she may never be able to heal from the mental and emotional scars she received.
Domestic violence can have life altering effects for children even if they are not the ones
being abused. Many children grow up being witnesses to spousal abuse among their parents.
Witnessing domestic violence occur between parents can have many psychological effects on
children even if the child is not being abused and is loved by both parents. Studies have shown
that, Both boys and girls from violent homes evidenced significantly lower levels of social
competence, such as poorer problem-solving skills and lower levels of empathy, showing that

growing up in a violent home can affect a childs understanding as well as their mental
development (Fantuzzo). Javier Espinoza grew up witnessing his father abuse his mother and
vowed to never ever be like [his] father and wanted to hit him. [He] wanted him to bleed
too (Espinoza). It is not normal for a child to grow up having violent tendencies, yet it is
apparent that Javier grew up wanting to physically hurt his father. As mentioned before, this is
the norm among many children who witness abuse within their household. Javier also says, I
slipped into a new space between: On one side there was visceral violence and on the other there
was the untarnished lies and abuses. And in this new space between, I struggled with an all
encompassing feeling of powerlessness (Turning Pain). Here we see how the violence that was
prevalent in his life, affected his well being and emotions. The sense of powerlessness that Javier
felt, lead him to feeling many more things such as depression, hatred, and fear. This
psychological damage that Javier experienced was something he could not fully get a grip on
until he started living his own life as an adult and found a way to no longer feel powerless, as he
began to help victims of abuse and their children.
When thinking of those affected by domestic violence, we emphasize the damage done to
a victim and her children, but it is often hard to imagine that the abuser or batterer suffers from
his actions; however, his abuse also affects him psychologically- sometimes even worse than it
does the victim. Most abusers are not in their right mind when they begin abusing someone. In

fact, studies show that about 54% of batterers suffer from some form of severe mental illness
(Feder). Although this does not provide an excuse for the abuse, it does show that often times
abusers are already suffering in some way before the abuse has even begun. It is also proven that
when domestic violence occurs, Both victims and batterers sustain similar amounts of
long-term mental health problem (Bancroft). A person seeing this objectively, will probably be
confused as to how it is that a batterer can experience long-term mental health problems as
severe as the victim of the abuse. This is because although batterers usually continuing abusing
their partner, the violent acts they commit affect them mentally. What they do is something they
carry with them in their mind and although some may feel remorse while others do not, the acts
are something that can subconsciously haunt them.
Domestic violence, when a part of a familys life, is something that leaves nobody
untouched. Everyone, even the abuser, suffers because of the abuse that occurs. Although anyone
can be a victim to domestic violence, those that are perceived weaker have a higher likelihood of
falling prey to an abuser. This horrible tragedy occurs all throughout the world and many
measures need to be taken in order to put an end to it.

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