Domestic violence, also referred to as intimate partner violence, is a
serious public health problem worldwide. This term refers to a pattern of
aggressive and abusive behavior performed by one of the intimate partners.
deliberate and systematic behavior includes not only physical and sexual abuse
but also emotional, psychological, and economic forms of oppression . Domestic
violence can affect individuals of all sexes, races, and cultures, but it
typically targets the most vulnerable populations including women, teenagers,
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Community, and older adults. This short
paper looks closely at these people’s experiences and tries to understand the
causes of their victimization.
Women are undoubtedly the main victims of violence. They may be attacked by
anyone, from an intimate partner to a colleague, a friend, or an acquaintance.
Intimate partner violence, however, is the most widespread as, according to the
estimates, one in three women worldwide has experienced this abusive behavior at
least once in the lifetime (WHO, 2016). The U.S. Department of Justice found
that women are 90-95% more likely to become victims of domestic violence
compared to men.
Women from disadvantaged communities or with greater perceived vulnerability
have higher risks for becoming victims of domestic violence. World Health
Organization emphasized that risk factors for domestic violence may also include
poor education, alcohol abuse, and family-instilled attitudes accepting of
violence and aggression.
Women facing domestic violence have limited opportunities to stop the abuse.
Their social background and attitudes are probably the most important barrier to
ending the relationships with the perpetrator. However, even those desperately
wanting to break up with their abusive partners sometimes cannot do it. Evidence
shows that domestic violence continues even when the victim seeks professional
help or tries to escape the abuser. In fact, it often intensifies because
abusers begin to threaten and stalk their victims even more. Vittes and
Sorenson found that women are in the most danger after the escape, with some of
them being killed even after they receive restraining orders.
Representatives of the LGBT community also have increased risks of becoming
victims of domestic abuse. Statistics shows that abusive patterns of behavior
occur in same-sex couples at equal rates – and sometimes higher – than in
straight couples . However, these victims have even less social support than
heterosexual people have, mainly because of the lack of legal recognition and
limited social resources. Often, victims of domestic violence are reluctant to
report abuse because they are afraid of revealing their sexual orientation and
being stigmatized and judged.
Teenagers are older adults are also extremely vulnerable, but their problems are
usually ignored by the wider public. Teenagers become victims of abuse from
their dating partners, who use physical, emotional and verbal intimidation and
pressure to control them. The problem is that they rarely report the cases of
abuse and know little about available social services and legal measures that
could help them stop the violence.
Finally, older adults are also vulnerable to intimate partner violence, which
tends to become more severe and dangerous with time. These individuals continue
to suffer in silence because of the inability to break the relationships with
their spouses. They get used to being abused and often accept their partners’
contrition, which usually does not last long.
Given this information, one may conclude that domestic violence affects the most
vulnerable population groups that cannot protect themselves for a number of
reasons. Some of them do not have access to support services, while others do
not perceive abuse as a serious offense. Abusers choose victims who can be
easily intimidated or blackmailed in order to control them physically and
emotionally. Therefore, the needs and challenges of each vulnerable group should
be explored further in order to develop effective legal and community measures
for tackling domestic violence.