Domestic violence is a pattern of coercive behavior used to establish power and control over another person--usually an intimate partner. It happens when one person believes they are entitled to control another and can include physical, psychological, emotional, verbal, sexual, and/or economic abuse .
Abusive relationships can develop gradually. There is a definite cycle that combines the good times with often subtle abusive acts that allow the abuser to gain power and control over the relationship and, eventually, lead the victim to emotional dependence and learned helplessness. By the time a pattern has emerged there are often children involved, financial ties, and emotional bonds that are difficult to break.
Because domestic violence is often viewed as a private matter between those involved, victims may not seek the help and support that they deserve. Instead, they accept abusive behavior as a "part of life" and live with shame, embarrassment, and isolation.
In hope that the problem will go away, many victims make excuses for the abuser, rationalize abusive acts, or blame themselves. Others deny or do not even realize that they are, in fact, in a domestic violence situation.
Results can include loss of self-esteem, anxiety, detachment from family and friends, homelessness, severe beatings, and death.
Children of domestic violence are fifteen times more likely to be abused or neglected than the average child. The devastating results of the physical, sexual and mental injuries commonly endured by these children include:
PHYSICAL: slapping, hitting, punching, pinching, shoving, pushing, grabbing, biting, preventing partner from entering or leaving a room/house, restraining, abandoning partner in a dangerous place, throwing objects, destroying property, refusing to assist with medical care.
SEXUAL: forcing sex or specific sexual acts, minimizing the importance of partner's feelings towards sex, criticizing partner's sexual performance, publicly showing interest in other women.
EMOTIONAL/PSYCHOLOGICAL: isolating partner from family and friends, ignoring partner's feelings, calling derogatory names, constant criticism, accusations of infidelity, manipulating with lies, threats (to leave, take away the children, etc.), excessive possessiveness.
VERBAL: name calling, using a threatening tone of voice, degrading comments, interrogating partner, blaming partner.
ECONOMIC: preventing partner from working, refusing to work or share money, restricting partner to an allowance, taking or hiding money, not letting partner be involved in money-making decisions
Stronger measures under the Domestic Violence Bill will ensure fewer perpetrators go unpunished. The criminal justice system must implement the law and send out the message that domestic violence is criminal and will not be tolerated.
Abused women need a range of services. For too many women the choice is between staying with a violent partner and becoming homeless. The government must channel additional funds into more services which recognise women's varied needs.
We must raise awareness among all ages that violence is unacceptable. Professionals in every field - teachers, health workers, legal professionals - must receive specific training to enable them to spot the signs of abuse and respond appropriately. If we do not understand the problem, we cannot challenge it.
Supreme Clientele Travel along with The Florida Center for Women strive to strengthen national and statewide communications efforts, focusing on public education and awareness of domestic violence issues. Supreme Clientele's Media Department works collaboratively with a variety of media outlets in the development and distribution of important news releases, feature stories, story ideas and opinion/editorial (op/ed) pieces on domestic violence issues which are appropriate to statewide/national audiences.
Domestic violence is the biggest social issue affecting women in the country today - it is an issue which not only takes lives but ruins lives in great number. Supreme Clientele Travel's campaign will help women recognize the early warning signs of domestic violence and in so doing prevent them from a life time of abuse.
Research highlights a worrying lack of awareness amongst women of the techniques used by violent men to control women. However, domestic violence is a subject matter that young women are crying out to learn more about.
81% of women said they received no information about domestic violence when they were at school and two thirds of them would have liked to have had lessons about domestic violence
95% of respondents recognized physical abuse as domestic violence but only a quarter of respondents understood the more subtle techniques of control such as jealousy and possessiveness as indicators of domestic violence
And yet approximately a quarter of all the women questioned had experienced jealousy and possessiveness in an intimate partner relationship
50% of respondents said they had experienced at least one of the warning signs
Of this 50% just over a third of respondents said they had spoken to someone about the abuse - friends, followed by family, were the most trusted confidantes
It is essential that women receive the right education and information so they can understand the techniques of control frequently used by abusive men. It's all too easy for women to excuse their partner's possessive and jealous behavior - but in so doing they run the risk of the abuse increasing in frequency and severity over time. By understanding the signs early a woman is forewarned and forearmed.
I have no doubt this campaign will give strength to many women who may be experiencing abuse now, or who may do so in the future, to reach out and get help.
Supreme Clientele Travel donates 30% of all commissions made through its service website to The Florida Center for Women and The Donate Life Program. Your travel contributes to these organizations and helps those in need of their services.
Supreme Clientele Travel also distributes Domestic Violence Awareness literature to all clients and staff members within our network.