Domestic violence is abuse committed against a person by someone in the family. Domestic violence takes different forms, which includes:
People who commit domestic violence are trying to control the person being abused.
With the passing of the Domestic Violence Act in 1994, domestic violence is no longer a private matter but a societal concern. It is a crime under the Penal Code.
Women’s organisations lobbied for nearly ten years before the Domestic Violence Act was passed in 1994.
Today, battered women can seek help from government agencies like the police, welfare department, hospital, and women’s NGOs to take action against their abusers.
Violence against women can be classified into several types:
The cycle of violence describes the pattern that often occurs when a woman is abused by her husband or partner. While each woman’s experience may be different, the cycle points out the phases that tend to occur in an abusive relationship.
An abusive relationship often follows a three-phase cycle:
The cycle of violence can happen hundreds of times in an abusive relationship. The total cycle can take anywhere from a few hours to a year or more to complete. It is important to remember that not all domestic violence relationships fit the cycle. Often, as time goes on, the ‘honeymoon’ stage disappears.
In the end there is only the violent phase.
Abusers are usually self-centered. They think only of their own needs and neglect other people’s feelings. They try to use varying tactics to gain power to control their family members through violence. They make all the major decisions and treat their spouse or partner badly.
Some abusers may have been raised in a “violent home” environment. They may have experienced family violence in their childhood and learnt violent behaviour from their family.
Abusers tend to have traditional ideas about the roles of women and men, thinking women should be subordinate to men. They cannot accept that women have the right to make decisions about her own life. e.g. going out to work.
Abusers may suffer from psychological problems and have primary personality disorders. Disorder can be associated with severe mood swings, lying, sexual problems, substance abuse, or suicidal behaviour.