Domestic abuse is a case in which a family member tries to control a partner or child to dominate them for specific purposes. Violence has a physical, psychological, sexual nature and is applied to a relationship with a family member, which is the result of emotional, mental trauma and bodily injury. The reasons for this issue can be external and internal, developing within a person, a family, and in the country, the state, and society. Abusers, in some cases, have an unstable psyche, greater vulnerability to provocations and various kinds of failures; they project in practice the model of behavior that seems appropriate to them. Domestic mistreatment is a traumatic experience that leads to severe consequences. The more prolonged and violent the cruelty, the deeper the trauma. In fact, adolescents and adult women are at high risk of acquiring emotional and behavioral problems such as anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, fears, and nightmares.
Nowadays, domestic violence is one of the most critical and urgent problems that contribute to the family’s social and psychological ill-health, depriving it of stability and security. Most children and their mothers face domestic violence and conflicts in their homes caused by discord between family members. This phenomenon of ill-treatment is characteristic of all social strata and cultures in the countries of the modern world. Despotism and tyranny committed on a household basis can affect the feelings of adolescents and adult women, their perception of the world, and relationships with other people throughout their later life. The issue remains relevant and poorly understood due to a wide range of causes, conventions, obstacles, and problems. Most scientists and researchers continue to collect the received data on this topic, analyze and systematize them and transform them into scientific discoveries – journals, books, monographs, and dissertations. The purpose of this research is to study the causes and consequences of abuse committed at home or within the family against adult women and adolescents, and to understand the mind frame of abusers and victims.
This is the purposeful, independent study conducted in September 2021, as part of student work, using actual research methods and narrative literary review. The research includes analysis, synthesizing, interpreting, summarizing the articles, and identifying gaps and inconsistencies in the data received. This study could be replicated with the provided sources of information. The subjects of the research are abusers and their victims, and the materials are scientific journals. The design of the research is descriptive and qualitative, and data analysis is text and diagnostic. The keywords used for searching articles were “domestic abuse,” “domestic violence against women and adolescents,” “causes and consequences of domestic abuse.” The six selected scientific articles are better, more profound and broader reflect the essence of the problem. They helped to comprehensively highlight the way of thinking of criminals and their victims and focus on the causes and consequences of crimes committed within the framework of the public institution of family and marriage.
Domestic violence against women and adolescents is an increasingly widespread phenomenon, regardless of geographical boundaries, age categories, and race, affecting all family relations and social strata. It is an action that causes harm to a person’s physical and mental health, creates conditions that interfere with the optimal functioning of all family members. Cruelty at home has multiple adverse effects on a person even when he or she is not the object of violence.
The reasons for the domestic abuse of children and women are complex and not fully understood. Many factors associated with cruelty in the family include individual characteristics of both abusers and victims, environmental stress factors, financial distress, and lack of outside help (Papáček, 2018). Primarily physical and sexual violence are manifested in dysfunctional families, where it is not accepted to consider the norms of ethics and morality.
Within the framework of the modern world, the problem of violence against “minorities” is particularly acute during the COVID-19 pandemic. Home coziness and comfort become a source of fear, stress, and phobias; family members are forced to become victims of cruel treatment (Marques et al., 2020). Being under the same roof with an abuser, victims are more vulnerable due to reduced social contacts and lowered opportunities to seek help (Marques et al., 2020). In contrast, provocateurs may have tension and hysteria due to fear of getting sick, losing their jobs and income (Marques et al., 2020). In addition, a person may be addicted to alcohol and drugs, reducing the ability to control behavior (Hsieh & Shu, 2019). However, some abusers, even after undergoing treatment, continue to be cruel to their loved ones.
There are many facts and guesses about offenders’ way of thinking and behavior. Often, the incidents can be explained in terms of individual and social factors (Hsieh & Shu, 2019). In the role of an abuser, a man or woman copies the relationship model that was considered quite natural in childhood (Papáček, 2018). Thus, aggressive behavior and hostility towards others are considered the norm. Also, a person may have sadistic tendencies in character but not notice them. Getting used to seeing violence, a person ceases to consider it a deviant phenomenon. Such people are often relatively easy to provoke; they will always find a reason for violence, as well as ways to assert themselves or vent their anger – this is how their mind works (Papáček, 2018). In this case, a spouse or child can tolerate once, forgive a second time, and then physical abuse will become a habit of an offender. Moreover, abusers may have an inferiority complex and be dissatisfied with themselves – aggressors seek to make up for the lack of their own merits and qualities by humiliating others.
Apart from that, there are even cases when society in the country justifies violence against women and children, and there is also no law that would punish domestic aggressors. Economic problems in countries, rising unemployment, and low wages also aggravate the situation in families (Hsieh & Shu, 2019). Demonstration of violence in the media: films, games, and books reduce the criticality of aggressive behavior; even a fashion for cruelty appears.
The harm inflicted on a person has a much more diverse and multifaceted aspect. Intimate partner violence leads to severe and sometimes irreversible physical and mental results for women. Having experienced abuse, the victims are more likely to be at risk of developing alcoholism, depressive disorders, suicidal tendencies, as well as manifestations of HIV infections (Krahé, 2018). When mistreatment is used against a woman in the family, it is often committed against children too. Consequently, socialization is disrupted in adolescents, and problems in behavior and general health are generated (Amédée, et al., 2019). A traumatized personality is formed under negative experiences, characterized by a complex psychological characteristic. This is low self-esteem, inability to achieve success and build productive relationships (Amédée, et al., 2019). In some teenagers, the consequences of violence manifest themselves in aggressiveness, cruelty, a tendency to self-destruction, and in others – in the form of helplessness, doom, fears, self-doubt, a tendency to depression, suicide.
Violence gives rise to fears: fear of people and their anger, sleep disorders, and nightmares. As a rule, victims of domestic abuse feel constant tension and stress, sometimes impulsiveness and explosiveness, and sometimes vice versa – isolation and detachment from friends, acquaintances, and relatives. In this case, there may be more severe consequences, such as incurable disorders and diseases, substance abuse, difficulties in starting a family, unwanted pregnancy and forced abortion, as well as suicide attempts. However, an abuser keeps silent about what happened and forces their victim to be silent, too (Middleton, et al., 2017). Criminals and sacrifices form a special relationship characterized by an act of reticence and secrets; no one should know about what happened under any circumstances (Middleton, et al., 2017). Despite the terrible occasions, people continue to live their everyday lives due to fears of shedding light on the truth, the hidden nature of human rights violations.
To sum up, domestic violence is intentional actions of a family member’s physical, psychological, sexual nature concerning another one, violating rights, freedoms, and legitimate interests, causing physical or mental suffering. The reasons for domestic violence against teenagers and women can be both individual and social. Offenders may have deviations in social behavior, complexes, specific experiences suffered in childhood. They can vent their anger and internal disagreement with something under the influence of external conditions – political, social, economic. One such example is the spread of coronavirus when people are fired from work or get sick and thereby lose their earnings. Material problems can lead to a dead-end, and offenders see the only sure way – to take out pain on “weak people.”
In these situations, the consequences can be highly disastrous for victims. Women and children are more susceptible to attacks from a loved one. They may experience excruciating fears, isolation, and a lack of communication. There is a possibility of the appearance of bad habits, the development of depression, suicidal tendencies, and, as a consequence, early death. Despite the circumstances, family members continue to live their normal lives as if nothing had happened, silent about all the accidents. Accordingly, the next steps in this research can be to process and interpret the study results to identify ways, methods, and strategies to minimize and eliminate the current problem.
Amédée, L. M., Tremblay‐Perreault, A., Hébert, M., & Cyr, C. (2019). Child victims of sexual abuse: Teachers’ evaluation of emotion regulation and social adaptation in school. Psychology in the Schools, 56(7), pp. 1077-1088. Web.
Hsieh, H. F., & Shu, B. C. (2019). Factors associated with depressive symptoms in female victims of intimate partner violence in southern Taiwan. The Journal of Nursing Research, 27(4), e33. Web.
Krahé, B. (2018). Violence against women. Current Opinion in Psychology, 19, pp. 6-10. Web.
Marques, E. S., Moraes, C. L. D., Hasselmann, M. H., Deslandes, S. F., & Reichenheim, M. E. (2020). Violence against women, children, and adolescents during the COVID-19 pandemic: overview, contributing factors, and mitigating measures. Cadernos de saude publica, 36(4). Web.
Middleton, W., Sachs, A., & Dorahy, M. J. (2017). The abused and the abuser: Victim–perpetrator dynamics. Journal of Trauma & Dissociation, 18(3), pp. 249-258. Web.
Papáček, P. (2018). Etiology of domestic violence. CBU International Conference Proceedings, 6, pp. 690-696. Web.