Domestic Violence and Psychological well being

Domestic violence is a pervasive term that covers various forms of cruel acts done in marriage or live-in- relationships. In other words, behavior patterns are used to maintain power over the intimate partner.  Some sources suggest that homosexual couples experience more intimate partner violence due to the stigma attached to it. Hence, they often become silent bearers while others suggest that heterosexual and homosexual individuals both suffer in the same ratio but there is no doubt it exists in both heterosexual couples and homosexuals couples.

Domestic violence could range from physical, verbal, emotional, economic, and sexual violence. Abusive behavior patterns in relationships are in the form of physical violence, intimidation, derogatory comments, coercion, verbal abuse, humiliation, etc. Psychologists have given the term for emotional abuse or psychological abuse that is called gaslighting; a form of psychological abuse that makes the person question their own perception. The gaslighter ( one who does gaslighting) questions their partner’s memories, diverts the attention, questions their abilities, stereotyping like you are weak, you can’t do this, and other various things. Hence, Victims of gaslighting often question their instincts, feelings, ability, etc.

 In simpler words, the seeds of doubt are sowed very deep. Emotional abuse is difficult to decipher in comparison with physical violence. Domestic violence is a serious crime against women in India. It has been documented that around one-third in the age group of 15-49 women are the victims of physical violence and around 1in 10 are the victims of sexual violence.  It has been observed that domestic violence increased due to lockdown. A report presented by NCW (National Commission for women), showed that there was a 100% increase in violence against women.

A study revealed that around 52.4% of guys suffer from violence based on their gender in India. 51.5% of guys have encountered a type of cruelty because of their spouses or by their intimate partner. 10.5% of guys have suffered from violence based on their gender at the hands of their spouses over the recent year. The most well-known spousal or abusive behavior at home against men is psychological abuse. India, being a patriarchal society, is under the belief that only women suffer from domestic violence but men are no strangers to it.

Anyone can be the perpetrator regardless of gender. Victims of abuse often go for medical aid from health problems instead of problems related to abuse.  It is observed that family members and socioeconomic status are also responsible for domestic violence  It is observed that victims of abuse often find it hard to leave the relationship. Victims believe that abuse is normal. The normality of the abuse makes it difficult for the victim to stand up for oneself especially in Indian society where it is believed that it is normal for men to raise their hands on women. They become compliant. Though physical abuse is still recognized to some extent other forms of abuse are still not discussed. Thus, victims are not even aware that they are being abused.  

Domestic violence has serious psychological consequences. The research explored the consequences of domestic violence on women who were survivors. Four types of abuse were studied that are physical, emotional, economic, and sexual abuse. It was revealed that women who were the victims of abuse have a negative impact on psychological well-being. Problems that are often faced by victims of domestic violence are feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness, sleep disturbances, low self-esteem, and low- self-conception. Domestic violence can also result in grave psychological disorders such as depression, Post-traumatic disorder (PTSD), etc.

Cross-sectional research was conducted on married women to determine the impact of domestic violence. There were around 827 participants in the study. It was revealed that occurrences of abuse such as emotional, physical, sexual, or some different type of abuse were high. Women who had suffered from domestic abuse displayed poor psychological well-being in comparison with women who haven’t suffered from domestic violence. Many papers were studied from western as well as developing nations. It was highlighted that domestic violence or intimate partner violence is related to negative consequences on psychological well-being.

It could include sleep disturbances, depression, self-harm, anxiety, and many other problems. Another research was conducted that aims to determine the degree to which domestic violence affects the lives of the person. It was revealed that those who were subjected to domestic violence have decreased sense of security and overall negative effects on individuals.

The more recent the abuse, the more the effect on the person. Not only the intimate partner suffers from domestic violence but also the children. A research carried out to study the effect of domestic abuse on adolescence provided the results that these children who witness domestic violence can acquire aggressive behavior patterns. Susceptible to violent outbursts, substance abuse, anxiety, suicidal tendencies, etc. They also suffer from psychosomatic problems.

Domestic violence is the act committed by an individual in the form of psychological, physical, verbal, economic, and sexual abuse. Victims of domestic abuse live there in fear. Also, these individuals have low self-efficacy; faith one has in themselves to carry out any task and they are likely to develop a dependent personality. It means they have constant assurance from someone.

From the above findings, it can be deduced that domestic abuse has an adverse impact on the psychological well-being of the person. They suffer from many psychological problems. It is also observed that the scars of domestic abuse take a long time to heal and sometimes they do not heal at all.

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