Breaking Silence, Ending Violence
May 7, 2011 in Health and wellbeing
‘Home is where the heart is.’ This is a phrase many hear and relate to. The home is a place of comfort, peace and, above all, security. Yet is this truly the case?
Millions of women are beaten brutally each year, and every fifteen seconds a woman is being abused in her own home. On a national scale, domestic violence has become the number one cause of death amongst women. Research and statistics validate the fact that women, men and children are all being affected by this shocking social illness. And it is hard to believe that 1 in 5 victims think domestic violence is justified; this misconception needs to be addressed and it must be clarified that the victim is never to blame for domestic violence.
Domestic violence is a term used to describe aggressive, oppressive and dominant behaviour over a fellow human being. This behaviour occurs in families and relationships around the world and across culture, religion, race, and geography. Domestic violence manifests in various forms, most frequently as physical violence, but also as emotional and financial abuse. Although domestic violence may be experienced by both men and women, the majority of the victims are women. It hurts everyone, including children. People may often neglect the potential consequences, including serious injuries and even death. Of course, the emotional side of this abuse is that victims may break down and feel hopeless, helpless and oppressed.
Domestic violence has often been swept under the carpet, and thus not addressing this ‘taboo’ is making the situation worse; allowing ignorance to spread in its place. We need to raise awareness to break misinformed perceptions that it should remain a private matter between spouses and not exposed to the public eye. People are too afraid to admit or even talk about certain issues and subjects that subsequently get sidelined. Spouse beating is not an acceptable practice, and it is essential this fact is propagated and the factors that lead to domestic abuse are addressed.
To silence the issue of domestic violence is to turn a blind eye to those whose lives are in danger; the more we speak out about this ‘taboo’ the more confident victims will feel in seeking help and the sooner the ‘taboo’ image can be overcome. To knows of a victim of domestic violence and not speak out or help is to neglect a fellow human being in need.
As members of the younger generation of the British community, the leaders of tomorrow, we cannot be tolerant towards domestic violence on any level. The Britain we envision and hope to build should be one where injustice is eliminated, whether it be on the street or in the home. Furthermore, we should be aware of the attitudes particularly within our smaller communities; some may address and tackle the issue openly and some may seek to sideline it and prove more difficult minds to change.
The problem will not be abolished unless people act. We must encourage victims of Domestic Violence to seek professional help. Today there are a growing number of services available for victims; helplines, websites, and even local centres who give the victims the confidential treatment they need in a safe environment. There are also a growing number of faith centred institutions that offer culturally sensitive services. An example of this is Nour Domestic Violence, an organisation set up to address the needs of the Muslim community in particular through a faith sensitive approach.
A key means of challenging domestic violence is by raising awareness and directly countering a silence that has been too dominative for too long. Through numerous channels such as hosting informative events, seminars, workshops, and of course using the internet to reach out to a wider audience, this can be achieved. It is through such forms of active engagement that one can eliminated domestic abuse once and for all.
Everyone has a right to security and peace in their own home. By tackling this issue, we can help to realise this.
Hafeeza Yasmin is a founding member of Nour Domestic Violenceand a freelance writer.