What exactly is family violence? For anyone who is not familiar with it, it can happen to anyone at anytime. The victims come from all cultural backgrounds, social standings and gender, it does not matter if you are in a relationship or not (violence is ultimately just a power imbalance of an individual) (Canadian Bar Association, 1983-2010). This is where one person tries to control another person, it is the chronic abuse of power. In order to maintain control of the victim the aggressor uses intimidation, fear and abuse. Family violence takes place in many different forms, physical, psychological, sexual, financial, and spiritual abuse (What is Family Violence?). In my opinion no one should have to live in fear of someone they love, family violence should be taken extremely seriously.
It is a sad state of affairs when you are more likely to be physically assaulted, beaten, killed or sexually attacked at your own home at the hands of a loved one than any place else or by anyone else (Gilda, Berger 1990). The reason aggressors choose to abuse is due to unequal gender roles, violent influences in the media, abuse as a child, or stress on the caregiver (Gilda, Berger 1990). Personally I feel that we are not educated enough about family violence, it is quite unspoken of, this is because of privacy concerns, fear of retribution and maintaining the integrity of family relations. The under reporting on the issue has resulted in ignoring the crimes and denying the harm that the abusers are actually doing to their victims. This type of abuse is often over looked, excused or denied, especially when the abuse is psychological rather than physical (Gilda, Berger 1990). Even though this kind of abuse is minimized it leaves deep scars. For example; The victims of abuse are brainwashed, children who are severely punished are told that they are bad and uncontrollable and must be disciplined. Abused wives become convinced that they are not fulfilling their obligations and responsibilities to their husbands and children sexually abused are led to believe that their fathers intentions are normal signs of affection (Gilda, Berger 1990).
I have heard a lot of my peers say, “Family abuse? That only ever happens in movies and stuff, doesn’t it?” They are incorrect. Most batterers or abusers are men either towards their wife or children, with that being said there is still a number of men who are abused by their wives. Half of Canadian women (51%) have experienced at least one incident of physical or sexually violence since the age of 16 (Canadian Women’s Foundation Statistics). One to two women are murdered per week in Canada by a current or former partner, spousal violence makes up the largest category of convictions involving violent actions in non-specialized courts in Canada, over 90% of offenders were male (Canadian Women’s Foundation Statistics). 58,486 women and 36,840 children sought refuge in one of 473 shelters across Canada between April 1, 2003 and March 31, 2004 (Canadian Women’s Foundation Statistics). Every 13 seconds a child is abused, by someone they love and worldwide approximately 40 million children are subjected to child abuse each year. In the year 2000 Bibby conducted a survey revealing that 56% of adolescents rated child abuse as their top societal concern (Child abuse Statistics, Barriere, 2005-2011). So then why do we not take it more seriously?
Victims tend to blame themselves but trust me after time you learn to forget, recognize, ignore but never forgive. Let your abuser live with the heavy weight. It is not your fault.
A Guide to the 20th century, “nd”, Channel 4, Women’s Liberation or Feminism
Barriere, Darlene (2005-2011). Child Abuse Statistics
Berger, Gilda (1990). Violence and The Family. F. Watts, New York
Department of Justice, (2010, Nov), Family Violence Initiative
Facts About Violence Against Women, “n.d”, Canadian Women’s Foundation
Family Violence, (2010, Dec). CBA.ORG – The Canadian Bar Association
Lloyd, J.D. (2000) Family Violence, Current Controversies, Farmington Hills, MI
McGaha, Johnny. E & Leoni Edward. L, (1995, Summer). Family violence, abuse, and related family issues of incarcerated delinquents with alcoholic parents compared to those with nonalcoholic parents.
What is Family Violence?, (2000) Family Violence and Prevention