Sunday, November 1, 2009

Domestic Violence: A Heart-Rendering Experience (1)

By Miriam Medina

Violence, is defined as "an abusive exercise of power; injury; outrage. Swift and intense force, rough or injurious physical force, action, or treatment. An act tending to intimidate or overawe by causing apprehension of bodily injury."

Her loud shrieking anguished cry and plea for help fades away to a barely audible whisper, as the battered victim of domestic violence, rape, or brutal assault desperately struggles against her attacker, clinging to her life. Oftentimes, horribly beaten and bleeding from gashes on her neck, face and head, she lies there almost senseless, as nearby doors and windows remain closed and passersby not wishing to interfere, scurry away in fear for their own lives.

For those that are fortunate enough to live through their horrifying near death experience of broken bones and faces beaten beyond recognition, emotionally scarred they face a fearful and disturbing future. Many victims are reluctant to speak out as they suffer their endless shame, feelings of helplessness, guilt and desperation in isolated silence turning to alcohol, drugs or self-mutilation even to the point of contemplating suicide.

Let's not forget the innocent children, which are also subjected to Neglect, Sexual, Physical and Emotional abuse as well as being silent spectators to domestic violence.

Not only are children witnesses to domestic violence, but also are at high risk for suffering physical abuse themselves, by being in the line of fire when things are thrown or weapons are used. Sometimes an older child will try to protect its mother and the batterer will turn on him/her.

Traumatic experiences such as these, whether it be physical, emotional, or sexual abuse particularly in the early stages of development, can have a devastating and lasting effect on children in their "ability to think, feel, trust and relate to others."

One of the most common and most overlooked forms of family violence in the United States is Sibling Abuse. Most of their violent acts consist of slaps, pushes, bites, kicks and punches, sometimes ending in death. Many young people are not only violent toward their siblings they also physically victimize their parents. Most of these acts consist of biting, kicking, shoving and smacking. Even profanity is used. Parents who are the victims of a violent teenager often find themselves in a terrible dilemma. They love this child desperately and would rather suffer silently in fear and shame than to report the abuse to the proper authorities, for fear of having their child taken away from them. They soul search, feeling guilty, believing that they must have done something wrong to incur such a violent display of anger. Although calling 911 can be the most difficult decision a parent can make yet it is one of the most effective ways for that teenager to take responsibility for his/her actions, that violence doesn't pay.

To be continued: Domestic Violence (2)

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