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Domestic Violence: Mental Health Assessment Tools And Techniques For Helping Battered Women And Philosophical Aspects

Covid -19 or coronavirus had a dreadful impact on peoples' lives whether it is physically, mentally, socially, politically or economically. One of the issues where the situation worsened was domestic violence, it is the aggressive behavior or abuse of a spouse. The pandemic had a greater impact on domestic violence especially because of the lockdown imposed. Women are more frequently the victims in most of the cases.

One of the survivors had referred to the situation as being " locked down with the abuser". The data and statistics have shown an increase in calls to domestic violence helplines in many countries across the globe. In our country according to the statistics the state of Uttar Pradesh has recorded the highest number of cases with respect to domestic violence post pandemic.

Even though there are provisions for domestic violence in India such as the Domestic violence Act, 2005 we need to come up with more effective and speedy mechanisms to address the issue of domestic violence as it has been found to be increasing at an alarming rate. As much as the physical injuries that are sustained due to domestic violence, the victims go through a lot of mental and psychological issues, which is the paper's main objective is to discuss them especially with respect to battered women and provide effective techniques as well as suggestions to deal with the mental issues.

Domestic violence has been a serious concern lately all over the globe. Its effects are wide spread as it includes physical, psychological, economical as well as social effects on the battered women. Women who have experienced domestic violence or abuse are at a significantly higher risk of experiencing a range of mental health conditions including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and thoughts of suicide.

Mental Health Effects Of Battered Women Include:
  • Battered Women Syndrome
  • Behavioral Changes
  • Emotional Distress
  • Alcohol And Substance Abuse
  • Suicidal Feelings
  • Eating And Sleeping Disorders
  • Symptoms Of PTSD
  • Re-Experiencing Flashbacks Of The Events

Research Methodology
The methodology of research used in this paper is doctrinal research - gives suggestions and limitations on the effective techniques used to deal with mental issues of battered women as well as philosophical aspects of domestic violence.

Analysis
The BWS or battered women syndrome consists of the signs and pattern of the symptoms found in physically, sexually and psychologically abused in intimate relationships when the woman's partner exerted control over her to coerce her to do things he wanted and with no regard to her feelings or rights.

He feels superior to the woman and abused her in every manner to get what he wanted. The theoretical basis on which the BWS was developed on what later came to be known as the PTSD (American Psychiatric Association). Researches conducted have shown that there are seven groups of criteria tested scientifically to identify the syndrome, they are:
  • Intrusive Recollection Of The Traumatic Events
  • High Levels Of Anxiety
  • Emotionally Withdrawn And Numb
  • Frequent Changes In Mood
  • Disrupted Interpersonal Relationships
  • Body Image Consciousness/ Distortion
  • Sexual Intimacy Issues

Limitations:
  • Difficulty in assessing the magnitude of the problem
  • Questionnaires are made up of sensitive questions which the victim might not feel comfortable to answer
  • Illiteracy or low level understanding of the victim
  • Consent of the victim

Suggestions:
  • To maintain more confidentiality and develop a safe zone where the victim can open up
  • To build a bond with the patient before asking the sensitive questions
  • To conduct more awareness campaigns on the importance of mental health and well being especially for battered women
  • To educate the younger generations about domestic violence and gender equality

Philosophical Aspect:
The term "domestic violence":
Savagery between close accomplices is alluded to as personal connection viciousness by sociologists. Apparently the activities we commonly partner with the expression "aggressive behavior at home" are remembered for private illegal intimidation (IT). It is a succession of forceful and nonaggressive activities that proposes a general craving for power. "Psychological mistreatment, utilizing youngsters, utilizing manly honor, monetary maltreatment, terrorizing, and fault" are a few instances of peaceful ways of behaving or control procedures.

Immanuel Kant one of the famous philosophers who is a deontologist; from the Greek and who speaks about morality and his view on domestic violence - Kantian view:
We all have what Kant refers to as "autonomy of the will," and as such, we have obligations to both ourselves and others.

This is our capacity to choose the ideals we uphold and design our lives around them as conscious agents. It is the basis of our dignity or value that is out of reach for most people. Our respect for one another stems from our sense of dignity, according to Kant:
"Respect is consequently a recognition of the dignity in other people, that is, of a worth that has no price, no equivalent for which the object is evaluated, and that someone can demand from me."

Respecting someone else's autonomy—the freedom to "decide on their own values and objectives or aims, and to construct their lives according to them—is a part of respecting other people. In the event that somebody represents a steady danger to a specialist's office- to her capacity to follow up on her standards and closures or objectives after some time, this danger will in all likelihood start to influence her independence itself.

This is particularly evident in instances of aggressive behavior at home or IT where the victimizer is involving fierce and peaceful ways of behaving as a method for controlling his accomplice. He is attempting to control her activities, and sooner or later, the survivor of the maltreatment will start to go with decisions about her life and her activities in light of this control. She will, for instance, start to shape her activities in a method for attempting and keep away from more brutality.

Moreover, the control that her accomplice practices over her will restrict both what she can do (her office) and her decisions (her independence). This comprehension of our Kantian obligation of regard, then, at that point, shows that:
  1. Actual viciousness is an ethical wrong since it disregards the obligation to regard the pride or worth of others, and
  2. In the event that we neglect to recognize another singular's independence or we act in ways of harming their organization without defense, we entirely misunderstand likewise dedicated a moral.
The intimate terrorist uses his behaviour against his spouse, including physical violence, to try and control how she behaves. By using aggression, the threat of assault, psychological manipulation, access to members of his family, accessibility to money, as well as other control mechanisms, he manipulates the behaviour of his spouse.

The intimate terrorist deliberately strives to sabotage his partner's autonomy and agency by trying to control her activities, which constitutes a violation of his duty to respect her autonomy and agency. The abuser makes decisions based on those decisions and upholds those ideals. However, evidence demonstrates that some people who abuse others either experienced maltreatment as children themselves or were present when adult domestic violence occurred in their households.

Can we conclude that the abuser is entirely responsible for his conduct if this is the case? He certainly contributed to the disrespectful behavior, but how much? The picture of moral culpability in cases of domestic abuse is complicated by the cycle of violence. Nevertheless, the intimate terrorist is responsible for his actions at least on some level and his actions violate his duty to respect his partner because of this, we need to hold him accountable.

Under Kantian theory,As people, it is our responsibility to support those who have been the targets of domestic terrorism. The Categorical Imperative (CI), Kant's highest moral principle, is a key component of Kantian moral philosophy. The role of the CI in formulating humanity as a goal (FHE) requires us to "Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of another, always at the same time as an end and never simply as a means.

Therefore, from a Kantian perspective, when someone else's autonomy is under danger, it is our responsibility as individuals to work to protect and advance their agency. As people, it is our responsibility to work to restore and advance the agency and autonomy of domestic abuse victims. Supporting groups or organizations that provide IT victims the tools they need to define and pursue their own goals is something we should do.

The idea that every person has value and shouldn't be viewed as merely a tool should be the foundation of our society's rules. All of us must behave in a way that "does not make [us] a mere means for others but at the same time and end for them." Every person serves a purpose, and laws ought to acknowledge and reflect this. Therefore, practically speaking, rules should be written such that no one is reduced to a mere means by any laws when we come together to form a society.

Making rules that ensure fair treatment for everyone will thus be a part of uniting as a state.The idea that the laws of the state should secure just treatment for everyone is echoed in Kant's discussion of the right of a state: "Public rights are all of the laws that must be passed universally in order to create a just condition. Therefore, the goal of the state is to create and uphold the "rightful condition" that Kant refers to as regulating how individuals treat one another.

Kant defines "right" as "the sum of both the circumstances under which the option of one can be linked with the option of another in conformity with an universal rule of freedom" earlier in the Doctrine of Right. Any action is right if it can coexist with everyone's freedom in line with a universal law, according to this law of freedom. Kant claims that the universal law of right does, in fact, command us to "thus act externally that, in accord with a universal law, your freedom of choice and everyone else's freedom can coexist."

Kant says that coercion can be used to limit the freedom of individuals and domestic violence or IT is a form of coercion which must not be committed at any point of time by one spouse to another and instead we must come up with effective ways as mentioned above to help the battered women or individuals overcome the trauma.

Conclusion
As we know battered women syndrome is a very serious concern with respect to domestic violence. The state must implement more regulatory mechanisms and focus on the mental health of the victims.

End Notes:
  • Hirschmann, N. J. (1996). Domestic Violence and the Theoretical Discourse of Freedom. Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies, 16(1), 126–151. https://doi.org/10.2307/3346935
  • Bramer, M. (1970, January 1). Marilea Bramer, domestic violence as a violation of autonomy and agency: The required response of the Kantian state. PhilPapers. Retrieved October 20, 2022, from https://philpapers.org/rec/BRADVA
  • Pashakhanlou, A. H. (2013, January 31). Kant's writings on the state of nature and coercion: The domestic analogy and the level of analysis. E. Retrieved October 20, 2022, from https://www.e-ir.info/2009/09/04/kant%E2%80%99s-writings-on-the-state-of-nature-and-coercion-the-domestic-analogy-and-the-level-of-analysis/
  • History of battered women's movement: St. martha's hall. St. Martha's Hall - Breaking the Cycle of Domestic Violence. (n.d.). Retrieved October 20, 2022, from https://saintmarthas.org/resources/history-of-battered-womens-movement/
  • Marzana D, Vecina ML, Alfieri S. The Morality of Men Convicted of Domestic Violence: How It Supports the Maintenance of the Moral Self-Concept. Violence Vict. 2016 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27641432/
  • The idea of human dignity. (2011). Human Dignity, 1–27.https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctvjnrt4r?turn_away=true
  • Varden, H. (2020). 4 Kant on Sexual Violence and Oppression. In Sex, Love, and gender: A Kantian theory (pp. 138–164). essay, Oxford University Press.

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