Ways through Which Domestic Violence Can Be Exhibited in the Family

 Ways through Which Domestic Violence Can Be Exhibited in the Family


Domestic violence can be described as a pattern of ill behaviors that consist of attacks both physically, mentally, sexually and verbally. Besides, it can also entail economic intimidation which is mainly applied by people in intimate relationships. It is expressed in the form of threats, intimidation, manipulation, physical violence among others, by an individual who is seeking to exercise control over an intimate partner. The strategies that are applied by the perpetrators are a depiction of a pattern of desired behaviors from their subjects, which the perpetrators think are the reason for the abusive acts (McCue, 2008).

This paper examines ways through which domestic violence can be exhibited in the family.

Impacts on Children Who Experience Domestic Violence

Domestic violence can impact a variety of mental, behavioral and emotional conditions on children. The exposure of children to acts of domestic violence is exhibited in different forms like hearing about events of violence, direct involvement in terms of eye witnessing, intervention and experience of the aftermath of violence (Wolfe et al, 2003). It may also entail the use of children as spies for interrogating older victims, coerced to take part in the violence or abuse of a victim or being bribed by the perpetrators to convince the victim to getting back into a violent relationship (McCue, 2008).

Many children suffer physical injuries in the course of violence. However, some culprits intentionally abuse the children physically, sexually and emotionally with the aim of showing intimidation so as to take control over their partners. In some cases, children are often harmed by accident in the course of violence, for instance, when the perpetrator throws an object to the victim who may at that time be holding a child. The injury may also occur to the child in the process of trying to intervene during violence. Besides, such children may fall victims and be coerced to keep their mouths shut regarding the violence so that it stays a secret (Wolfe et al, 2003).

As a result of domestic violence, children are exposed to distressing events, the threat of facing neglect or abuse, ands losing guardians or caregivers. All these can have negative impacts that may expose children to lots of problems at tender ages (Wolfe et al, 2003).

Cognitive and Attitudinal Problems

These can be determined when the child shows poor cognitive performance, partial problem solving skills, poor performance at school, gender stereotyping and approval of violence.

Behavioral, Social and Emotional Problems

These may be shown in terms of higher levels of aggression, oppositional conducts, rudeness, anger, anxiety, poor relationships (peer, sibling and social), withdrawal, hostility, low self esteem and depression.

Long-term Problems

This can be showcased through the increased forbearance for violence and its application in associations, high levels of adult depression, and symptoms of distress. Based on the latest data on the co-occurrence between domestic violence and child maltreatment, child welfare organizations and programs aimed at addressing domestic violence have been compelled to undertake a re-assessment of the existing approaches in policies, philosophies and practices for families that are going through both forms of violence.

Partner Rape

Partner or spouse rape happens when a partner or a person involved in an intimate relationship with another forces him or her to have sex without their consent. This occurs in the event that a partner feels that they are threatened or forced into taking part in any sexual activity against their wishes, when they feel pressured to engage in sex or when they are forced into it. This is an act of violence because it goes against the consent of the partner and can occur to partners of any gender, sexual orientation or ethnicity (McCue, 2008).

This form of violence can be between a man and a woman or partners of the same sexual orientation. Most people do not understand how possible it is for someone that an individual has known for a long time to turn against and rape them. Most countries, like New Zealand have passed laws aimed at protecting partners and spouses from partner rape, encouraging victims to report any form of non-consensual sex. The reports can be made irrespective of the kind of relationships that these people are involved in and can be reported as rape (McCue, 2008). However, several victims find it uncomfortable terming these offenses as rape and their partners as rapists. The key impact of partner rape is the pain of accepting that they have been raped by a partner.

Forced Pregnancy of a Partner

A forced pregnancy of a partner is a form of domestic violence whereby a male partner forces or tricks their female partners into getting pregnant. Research has reveled that men who engage in this act do it with the aim of satisfying their urge of being in control of the relationship and ultimately the body of the woman, thereby giving them a feeling of superiority (McCue, 2008). Several women from different age groups have been victims of this form of violence which leaves them in distress. There are even men who have punctured the condoms or hidden birth control pills to get their women pregnant. Partners may also issue threats to their women to get pregnant against their wishes. Some of the offenders force their women into having unprotected sex, removing the condom during intercourse and or disposing birth control pills. This form of violence is referred to as ‘reproductive coercion’ which happens to people in abusive relationships.

How the Concepts of Women’s Role, Latch Key Children, and Division of Labor at Home Contribute to Domestic Violence

The Role of Women

In many societies, economic and social programs are run in a way that is supportive of patriarchy, which is linked to subordination and oppression of women. This form of violence is often formalized in traditional laws and customs, whereby husbands are given the go ahead to punish their wives physically. The lower economic status of many women across the world has also impacted them negatively. Their dependence on the men as the bread winners makes them more susceptible to becoming entangled in an abusive relationship.

Latch Key Children

Latch Key children are those who are often left on their own at home with minimal or complete lack of supervision from supervision from parents or guardians. They may return from school to find the homes empty because their parents are still busy at work. These children are exposed to loneliness, boredom, fear, peer pressure that may result into sexual promiscuity and drug abuse at advanced ages. These behaviors might be impacted by peer pressure forcing the children to be naughty or hostile due to lack of attention from parents (McCue, 2008).

Despite the advantage of adaptation to difficult situations, independence and self-reliance, latch key children suffer high levels of depression, behavioral problems and low self esteem unlike other children. Besides, they may also turn out to be hyperactive, conduct disorders and academic problems, which may make them to alienate themselves from other children. These behaviors may follow the children into adulthood where they may experience difficulties in keeping intimate relationships and becoming violent to people who try to act concerned about their lives. This may be elevated by the toll of drug abuse and addiction (McCue, 2008).

Division of Labor at Home

In most family set ups, women undertake voluntary domestic chores like the preparation of food, cleaning and general maintenance of the family. They also take care of children, the aged and even sick members of the family. On the other hand, the man is viewed as the head of the family who handles financial responsibility. In the modern society, the value that is attached to financial control is quite high, thereby giving the men more power over their female counterparts. This is further enhanced by male control over other resources in the family. The unpaid labor that is offered by women portrays them as the weaker sex, and a function that leads to violence against them (McCue, 2008).


From the above discussion about ways through which domestic violence can be exhibited in the family, some few things are clear; Behaviors that are abusive and violent are learned, thus, can be dropped through appropriate teaching or training just like others that are also acquired in the same way. Families should seek family and individual therapy or a combination of the two. This can enable them to acquire professional help through learning new and healthier skills on how to relate with other people, and more productive ways of offering support to intimate relationships when handling problems in life.


Wolfe, D. A., Crooks, C. V., Lee, V., McIntyre-Smith, A., & Jaffe, P. G. (2003). The effects of children’s exposure to domestic violence: A meta-analysis and critique. Clinical child and family psychology review, 6(3), 171-187.

McCue, M. L. (2008). Domestic violence: A reference handbook. Santa Barbara, Calif: ABC-CLIO.

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