In the world around us, we often hear people in uncomfortable scenarios remark “I just want to go home”. The concept of a ‘home’ as most understand, is one that is representative of a safe space. A space where you go to at the end of a tiring day to relax, unwind, and forget about your troubles. Home is not just where the heart is, it’s also where our comfort zone lies. When this comfort zone is disturbed by gruesome acts of abuse and violence, the consequences go beyond mere physical harm. Domestic violence is a plague that transcends social and economic barriers. It is a disease that afflicts mankind and just does not let go.
It is not only challenging to become cognizant of what domestic violence constitutes, but also to know whether or not it has been inflicted upon you or someone you know. This violence does not fit into a straightjacket definition- it can be viewed from a myriad of lenses, ranging from monitoring your call log to forcing increased dependency. It is more complicated than getting beaten up, and even includes withholding of needs like sleep and meals. It extends from something as large as marital rape to adultery and even using reality distorting statements or exhibiting hostile behaviour.
Being a victim of domestic violence, the individual undergoes serious emotional and mental trauma. This must be dealt with through self-care and therapy to improve self-esteem and taking control of their own lives. The situation has escalated to a point where institutions such as Northeastern University are tackling domestic violence, child abuse, and sexual assault. Dan Lebowitz, the Executive Director of the Center for Study of Sport in Society, states, “The scourge of violence against women and children is a worldwide issue of epidemic proportion”. This is, unfortunately, empirically verifiable. 25% of women and 11% of men experience domestic violence in the United States; while over 90% of children are witnesses to this violence.
It is not just problematic to perpetrate or self-victimise even further. Awareness campaigns, such as the CADV (Citizens Against Domestic Violence), need to be held to learn and educate, more with every passing day.