Domestic Violence as a Human Rights Violation

Domestic Violence as a Human Rights Violation

You’ve been watching the daily news and most of what you see is about accidents, typhoons and how the economy will work in the coming years. Sure, all of these could be considered vital information for everyone to know, but one broadcast caught your attention. It was about how domestic violence has become rampant in all parts of the globe. Regardless of a person’s income, their way of life or social standing, domestic violence can still happen. And most of the time, the victims of these violent acts are children and women of all ages. This immediately got your attention, and you began to study about domestic violence. Most of the resources you’ve seen online and print would tell you that domestic violence is a human rights violation. At the back of your mind, you still couldn’t see the connection between the two. You know that domestic violence and human rights violations are very sensitive issues today, but you still don’t understand where and how these two subjects meet.

There are a lot of ways in which domestic violence and human rights violations are connected to each other. When contemplating their connection, you don’t have to feel like you’re left in the dark. This article will educate you on how domestic violence is a human rights violation.

First Off, What Is Domestic Violence?

As defined by the United States Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women, domestic violence involves a pattern of abusive behaviour in any type of relationship which is used by a partner to gain or maintain control over the other person in the relationship. In a simpler sense, domestic violence is about compromising the needs of your partner just to satisfy your own. In the definition of domestic violence, different forms of abuse are included:

  1. Physical abuse: This can include battering, punching, pulling hair, biting, hitting, shoving, burning, pinching, cutting – or just about any type of violent behaviour purposely inflicted on the victim. It’s also considered as physical abuse when someone intentionally denies someone of any medical treatment or forces alcohol or drug use on them.
  2. Sexual abuse: This happens when an abuser forces their partner into having sexual contact or sexual behaviour without the victim’s consent. Sexual abuse often takes the form of marital rape, physical abuse which can include forcing sex, sexually demeaning the victim and even telling sexual jokes at the victim’s expense.
  3. Emotional abuse: This involves deflating or invalidating the victim’s sense of self-esteem and self-worth. This kind of abuse often takes the form of injuring the victim’s relationship with his/her children, name-calling, constant criticism or any act which is aimed to interfere with the victim’s abilities.
  4. Economic abuse: This happens when the abuser tries or strives to make the victim become financially reliant. Economic abusers would want total control of the victim’s financial resources, may prohibit the victim from attending school or work and withhold the victim’s access to funds. The abuser is hindering the victim to earn, spend or do anything with his/her finances.
  5. Psychological abuse: This happens when the abuser invokes fear through intimidation, destruction of the victim’s property, threatening to physically hurt the victims and his/her children and isolating the victim from loved ones. Threatening to injure, hit or use a weapon are also forms of psychological abuse.
  6. Stalking: This can also be considered as abuse especially because it’s done without the victim’s consent. It’s considered stalking when the abuser is spying, harassing, watching, showing up at the victim’s school, work or home, collecting information, sending gifts, making phone calls and leaving written messages. Generally, these acts are considered legal but any of these behaviours when done continuously or at the same time, can indicate an act of stalking.
  7. Cyberstalking: This refers to online actions or repeated e-mailing that inflicts emotional distress to the victim over time.

Yes, domestic violence can come in a lot of ways. The things you’ve seen in the news might only involve physical abuse, but domestic violence is not only limited to that concept. There are several ways on how a perpetrator can abuse the victim. Some abuse might wear off in weeks’ time, but some can leave permanent damage to the victim. And these damages can change how they think, behave and live their lives.

Why Is Domestic Violence A Human Rights Violation?

Everyone in the world shouldn’t be hindered on what they want to do. If someone would want to be employed even when they’re a single parent, they can. Nobody has the right to tell someone what to do or not to do in their own life. In the legal context, there are five basic human rights:

  • Article 1 – Right to equality
  • Article 2 – Freedom from discrimination
  • Article 3 – Right to life, liberty, and personal security
  • Article 4 – Freedom from slavery
  • Article 5 – Freedom from torture and degrading treatment

Everyone has the privilege of exercising these rights from the moment they’re born. But once domestic violence takes place, an individual can no longer exercise all of these rights – the abuser prevents the victim from exercising their human rights. Aside from violating the five most basic human rights, domestic violence also tends to violate the following:

  • A child or a young person’s right to leisure and play
  • Freedom of expression and the right to hold opinions without interference
  • The highest attainable standard of physical and mental health
  • The right to decent work
  • The right to education
  • The right to life

Who Can Be The Victims Of Domestic Violence?

Before, domestic violence was referred to as wife abuse because women were mostly the victims. As time passed, this term was abandoned when the definition of domestic violence was changed because wives are not the only people who can fall victim to domestic violence. The term of domestic violence now recognizes the fact the victims can be:

  • Children
  • Cohabitants
  • Dating, intimate or sexual partners
  • Family member
  • Spouses

This shows that anyone can become a victim of domestic violence. No matter how rich or prominent someone is in society, they too can become victims of domestic violence.

What Are The Typical Effects Of Domestic Violence?

The abuse might have been occurred years ago, but you can never expect victims to recover quickly. No matter how hard they try and how many treatments they sign themselves up for, forgetting a horrifying experience of abuse of any kind will never come easy. And some forms of abuse, especially severe and grave ones, can haunt a victim for the rest of his/her life. There are a lot of effects of domestic violence to victims. Some of these are as follows:

Physical effects of domestic violence include:

  • Bruises
  • Changes in sleeping and eating patterns
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Involuntary shaking
  • Red or purple marks on the neck
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Sprained or broken wrists

Mental effects of domestic violence include:

  • Alcohol and drug abuse
  • Depression and prolonged sadness
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder which can include flashbacks, severe anxiety, nightmares and uncontrollable thoughts
  • Questioning sense of self and lowered self-esteem
  • Suicidal thoughts and attempts

Spiritual and emotional effects of domestic violence include:

  • Discouraged feelings about the future
  • Feeling unworthy
  • Hopelessness
  • Inability to trust
  • General lack of motivation

To conclude

Just because domestic violence fortunately doesn’t happen to you, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t pay heed to this kind of information. On the contrary, you should be acquainted with these issues so if you’re faced with unfamiliar situations, you’d be able to determine if it’s considered domestic violence and you’d know what to do accordingly. You can also help other people once you’re equipped with this knowledge and realize that domestic violence is a human rights violation that can impact anyone.


Jean Clark

Jean Clark is a professional writer and loves anything to do with law in business or in the public. She is family oriented, and she loves spending her free time with her family.

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