Is domestic violence being dealt with effectively?

The international day for the elimination of violence against women is 25th November. It was launched by Latin American and Caribbean feminists in 1981 to raise awareness for the violence towards women because that the day in 1960 when Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo had the three Mirabal sisters assassinated, a group of feminists openly protesting against his cruel regime. It was officially commemorated by the UN on the 7th of February 2000 in order to consolidate the day as that of remembrance and awareness for the violence some women face on a daily basis. But is this all for nothing? Is the government trying to solve this problem? This article will explore the types of domestic violence, the action taken on by governments while highlighting some “reasons” for it and flaws in the system of persecuting domestic violence.

There are four key types of domestic violence: physical, sexual, emotional and economical. Physical and sexual are self-explanatory and the most common cases are often a combination of both. The United States for disease control and prevention (CDC) took a study which showed that 30.3% of women have sexually or physically abused by a romantic partner in their lifetime. Emotional abuse is more complicated as it can be a variety of things like intimidation, threatening, undermining, making unpleasant comments and dictating how a partner should or shouldn’t act. There are almost no criminal cases of this because it is so hard to define and decide when “making a joke” crosses into abuse. Economic abuse is the most straightforward as it is when one partner controls all the spending of the other. While it is a legitimate classification of abuse, it is not illegal but can be just as damaging as rape or beatings because, for a lot of victims, it will be something that looms over them for decades as if the victims ends the relationship, they usually end it with no money, no savings, no house and no confidence. 

There is a great irony in how domestic violence is handled because when a woman (or a man but in this case mostly women) appeals for help after suffering domestic abuse, she is given almost no meaningful help in rebuilding her life nor is the abusive partner often brought to justice but when a woman kills said partner, all of a sudden everybody cares and demands she must be brought to justice when she just protects herself. While murder is undoubtedly wrong, it is very hypocritical that a man is allowed to beat his partner but the moment the partner even shows resistance they are punished and persecuted for the crime of trying to stay alive. 

There are many ridiculous “justifications” for domestic abuse. Many people claim that “women ask for it” by behaving badly, which if it is even the case, as this claim is often over-exaggerated, is still wrong. Just because someone isn’t doing as they’re told or acting immaturely, doesn’t give anybody the right to beat them. Men often use silly reasons for their outbursts like “I only lost my temper” or “I was just under stress” or “it’s because of my mental illness”, all of these are built on sand. Abusers like to be in control and losing their temper is a sign of losing their control, they are often selective of where they beat their partner, the rarely do it on a part of the body which is visible in public. While stress can be a factor in abuse, it is neither the cause nor explanation for abuse as many of the abused women are under stress yet they never beat their husbands. Mental illness isn’t a justification either because if the mental illness forces him to abuse his partner, why doesn’t he do it to his friends or family or co-workers? Because it isn’t a mental illness, it is cruelty.

There have been little change in the number of cases in domestic abuse over the years. The Office for National statistics stated “the percentage of convictions secured for domestic abuse-related persecutions is at its highest level since the year ending March 2010. In the year ending March 2018, 76% of prosecutions resulted in a conviction”. This not only means that there are more and more and more cases, but also that only about ¾ of them are actually resolved. This begs the question, are the government doing enough? No. they may have other things on their plate like the general election and Brexit, but every government faces multiple issues yet still manage to solve most of them, Britain should not be the exception. 

By Spike Wyatt