When it comes to the discussions regarding society and gender roles, many argue that we still live according to a patriarchal hierarchy. This important aspect of our society is inextricably linked to the problem of domestic violence. It is important to mention that women can hurt men when it comes to the expectations and portrayal of men in modern society. The impulses of violence can be generated by a variety of ideas revolving around an unmanly character or weak personal image. Female domestic violence also exists, but it is not as prevalent as male is. Regardless of the aggressor’s gender, domestic violence is always a very distressing event that may lead to numerous negative consequences (Meffert, McCulloch, Neylan, Gandhi, & Lund, 2015). Anger, insults, and invader’s abusive behavior should be perceived as provocative and inaccurate manifestations of the inner voice. Nonetheless, despite the destructive power of several internal factors and indicators, several external aspects of human life can be regarded as major premises of domestic violence. These factors can also be characterized as a direct environmental influence and should be taken into consideration by every social and healthcare organization.
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Domestic violence is commonly the consequence of negative childhood experience, which may include witnessing abuse between family members or being abused personally. We have to address the factors that cause family members to engage in domestic violence and develop and implement programs that will help the community to mitigate the devastating consequences of these events (Usta, Antoun, Ambuel,& Khawaja, 2012). Moreover, the invaders will learn more about the aftermath of their actions and help their children to grow into tolerant and educated individuals. The society has to address the issue of the lack of empathy and self-reflection to help violent individuals to learn how to love their family members and children (if there are any). One of the most important aspects of this problem is that the majority of people do not possess the necessary level of psychological understanding concerning violence and coping strategies (Yamawaki, Ochoa-Shipp, Pulsipher, Harlos, & Swindler, 2012). Consequently, I believe that apart from the fact that domestic violence is one of the most common social problems, one cannot underestimate the role of healthcare institutions in resolving this matter, as this problem has a direct impact on public health. This paper discovers this aspect not only from a social perspective but also from the angle of healthcare since this social issue causes the development of different illnesses including depression.
Environmental Factors that Influence the Occurrence of Domestic Violence
Before addressing the issue of domestic violence from the healthcare point of view, we should pay special attention to the external factors that impact people the most. Therefore, it is crucial to analyze the implications of the modern society and evaluate the probable impact of each of the identified environmental factors on the occurrence of domestic violence (Yamawaki et al., 2012). It is important to note that environmental factors are usually combined other social, family, and community factors in the course of their manifestation as causes of domestic violence. The presence of certain physical environmental factors does not necessarily translate to domestic violence. Within the framework of the current research, I point out the four key environmental aspects, which include poverty, social isolation, community violence, and the promotion of violence in the media.
Poverty and Unemployment
The problem with poverty and unemployment consists in the fact that these two interconnected aspects do not unswervingly lead to domestic violence. On the contrary, they only increase the likelihood of maltreatment and violent behavior in the future. Social and healthcare workers have to be aware of the fact that the combination of poverty and risk factors associated with it may ultimately end in the manifestation of forceful behaviors (Yamawaki et al., 2012). Moreover, this may lead to substance abuse and increase the severity of the problem. Several psychological theories are associated with the issues of poverty and unemployment. One of these theories proposes that low levels of income lead to increased family stress and consequently, higher levels of domestic violence. Another theory of manifestation proposes that family providers who earn low income might not be able to influence their other family members due to the overriding factor of an unsafe environment.
Social Isolation and Social Support
Another environmental factor is a lack of social support. It is a well-known fact that the majority of individuals who manifest violent behaviors are exposed to the issue of social isolation (Yamawaki et al., 2012). What is even worse, the state of isolation may influence other family members (especially children) and impose certain moods on those individuals. On a bigger scale, domestic violence is triggered by seeming loneliness and lack of support. Also, social isolation might contribute to instances of domestic violence because spouses who have deficiencies in social and emotional support often experience reduced pressure to adapt to traditional and socially acceptable familial settings.
Violence in Communities
The risk of the manifestation of violent behaviors increases significantly when family members are exposed to different instances of violence in their communities. This may include dangerous neighborhoods, delinquent acquaintances, and association with the aspects of poverty and unemployment (Yamawaki et al., 2012). The problem with violence in communities consists in the fact that this environmental factor is directly connected to the theories of victimization and social learning that can be found in criminology studies. Therefore, individuals who encounter repeated instances of violence might interpret it as an acceptable form of response. The risk of violence in communities is also closely associated with poverty levels.
Societal Attitudes and Promotion of Violence
Despite the impact of other factors, the promotion of violence via mass media and social networks remains one of the most prevalent sources of violent behavior. Nowadays, almost everyone learns about domestic violence on the Internet, and the context may often be misleading and confusing. Healthcare employees and associated social workers have to realize the momentous impact of modern technologies on the societal attitudes toward domestic violence (Yamawaki et al., 2012). The development of efficient intervention programs that can be distributed online should be the cornerstone of further research on the subject. Another possible trigger for domestic violence within the realm of modern society is societal attitudes in its promotion of violence as a cultural norm. The digital media has been identified as an agent of normalizing violent behavior. Consequently, some research studies have indicated that there is a possible connection between violent tendencies and individuals who watch a great deal of violence on television (Wallace & Roberson, 2016).
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Most of the environmental factors that contribute to domestic violence are closely related to two common factors; community outlook and violence. Therefore, communities and the availability of social amenities are key considerations when laying out interventions against domestic violence. On the other hand, community engagement involves both the victims of domestic violence and those who are close to them.
As it stands, there are very few, if any, mechanisms for preventive action against domestic violence. The official approach to both governmental, law enforcement, and medical institutions usually takes a retroactive approach to family violence, dealing with its effects and trying to mitigate the damage dealt with the victims (Usta, Antoun, Ambuel, & Khawaja, 2012), while simultaneously punishing the offenders. While this is a form of justice, it does not have any positive net value – in every case, a family is destroyed, a victim is suffering, and an offender is incarcerated. The intervention proposed for this problem will take an indirect approach that would aim at improving the situation in the community where domestic violence is prevalent and preventing it from happening in the first place. Such an approach will, thus, minimize the number of aggressors and victims, help to form healthy and strong families and ensure prosperity and peace not just for the adults, but also for the children.
Inhibiting the spreading of violence within a certain community is a top priority for various interveners. Some of these interventions are geared towards creating a high level of public awareness with the view of raising the public response towards this problem. This type of approach takes an indirect response by turning domestic violence into a communal issue, as opposed to it being an individual’s problem (Shorey, Tirone, & Stuart, 2014). Furthermore, a community-based approach eliminates the possibility of destroying familial and social structures in the course of an intervention.
The idea proposed in this paper is the creation of a Community Centre for Children and Parents, under the patronage of the local medical care facilities. This center will have a multitude of purposes, ranging from offering children from low-income families to grow and learn new skills in a safe and friendly environment to consulting young couples about domestic violence, anger and stress management, and offering families to connect by engaging in communal actions together.
Benefits of the Proposed Intervention
The creation of a community center geared towards offering affordable hobbies and recreation for children and working with adults will improve both the level of knowledge about domestic violence, increase the level of empathy among family members, and improve the situation in the community as a whole by taking homeless kids off the street (Usta et al., 2012). As a result, the number of criminal activity in the area is expected to go down (Meffert, McCulloch, Neylan, Gandhi, & Lund, 2015). On an elevated level, the proposal for a community center seeks to challenge the underlying social and community factors in the process of addressing domestic violence. Therefore, the proposed intervention has to have the capacity to address victims’ need for stability, justice, overall wellbeing, and good health. A community center also recognizes the need for considering domestic violence together with other accompanying factors including poverty, child abuse, and community violence. Within the structure of a community center, stakeholders aim to take note of the factors that strengthen community bonds and the ones that undermine these important connections.
This strategy promises numerous benefits to the community. Since human life is considered to have infinite value, according to the holistic contemporary medical philosophies, saving lives and preventing domestic violence has infinite value in itself. Other than that, however, numerous long-term benefits would eventually be felt in the community. There is a distinct correlation between the levels of violence in families, and in communities at large. The reduction of domestic violence will automatically cause a decrease in criminal activity within a community. Families will become stronger. Children will be cared for and supervised, the number of spontaneous and irresponsible sexual activity will decrease (Pallitto et al., 2013). All three will contribute to the social and economic stability within the community (Meffert et al., 2015). A community center is set to act as a pillar of the community regarding all other aspects of social organization.
Of course, such a project will require numerous materials and resources to be implemented. Depending on the size of the community, such a center can take either an office or an entire building. The format of the Community Centre for Children and Parents would likely be that of a non-profit organization that is funded either by the government, through donations from members and businesses, or by both. Government support will not be limited to money alone, but also with simplifying the formalities, paperwork, providing spaces, and medical personnel. A community center is also set to act as an engagement site and this affects its location. In some instances, community centers also require certain amounts of collaboration from other respective organizations and entities.
Naturally, the resources required for creating and maintaining the Community Center for Children and Parents could be split into four groups:
The latter is extremely important, as the community will not be able to utilize the newfound facility if they do not know about it. The initial funding required for opening one such Community Center will cost somewhere between 1 to 2 million dollars, which will be spent on setting up the place, buying equipment, attracting specialists, and advertising. After some time, the non-profit organization will be able to maintain itself to a certain degree through attracting donations and sponsors among the local charity and business communities. Collaboration with charity organizations and other non-profit entities is also possible within the context of this community center.
Domestic violence is widely common in our society, to the point that people view it as something that cannot be avoided and should be simply taken as due. That is wrong – many people around the country and the world suffer within their households, unable to protect themselves, and in some cases unable to restrain their violent impulses towards others. Lives are lost, homes are destroyed, and children are left without parents, and put into orphanages. They are robbed of their childhoods, and often turn to crime once they come of age, and even before. Just because such tragedies are commonplace, it does not mean we should get used to them and ignore them. Punishing perpetrators is not enough – the jails are full of various criminals, yet the USA remains one of the most criminal countries in the world. Prevention is the answer, and the Community Center for Parents and Children can be a solution. Instead of directly interfering and splitting families apart, it will encourage community action, getting people together, and promoting love, friendship, and understanding. Where such exist, there is no need for violence.
Meffert, S., McCulloch, C., Neylan, T., Gandhi, M., & Lund, C. (2015). Increase of perceived frequency of neighborhood domestic violence is associated with increase of women’s depression symptoms in a nationally representative longitudinal study in South Africa.Social Science & Medicine, 1982(131), 86-97.
Usta, J., Antoun, J., Ambuel, B., & Khawaja, M. (2012). Involving the health care system in domestic violence: What women want.Annals of Family Medicine,10(3), 213–220.
Yamawaki, N., Ochoa-Shipp, M., Pulsipher, C., Harlos, A., & Swindler, S. (2012). The effects of domestic violence myths, victim’s relationship with her abuser, and the decision to return to her abuser. Journal of Interpersonal Violence,27(16), 3195-3212. doi:10.1023/A:1023564404773
Meffert, S., McCulloch, C., Neylan, T., Gandhi, M., & Lund, C. (2015). Increase of perceived frequency of neighborhood domestic violence is associated with increase of women’s depression symptoms in a nationally representative longitudinal study in South Africa. Social Science & Medicine, 1982(131), 86-97.
Pallitto, C. C., García-Moreno, C., Jansen, H. A., Heise, L., Ellsberg, M., & Watts, C. (2013). Intimate partner violence, abortion, and unintended pregnancy: Results from the WHO multi-country study on women’s health and domestic violence. International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics, 120(1), 3-9.
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Shorey, R. C., Tirone, V., & Stuart, G. L. (2014). Coordinated community response components for victims of intimate partner violence: A review of the literature. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 19(4), 363-371.
Usta, J., Antoun, J., Ambuel, B., & Khawaja, M. (2012). Involving the health care system in domestic violence: What women want. Annals of Family Medicine, 10(3), 213–220.
Wallace, P. H., & Roberson, C. (2016). Family violence: Legal, medical, and social perspectives. London, UK: Routledge.