PHYSICAL ABUSE 8
Physicalabuse involves bodily contact aimed at instigating feelings ofintimidation, inflicting harm, injury, and other physical sufferings.In most instances, physical abuse can result in black eyes, bruises,broken bones, and damage to the internal organs, brain concussions,and in extreme cases, death (Tracy, 2015). According to the NationalCoalition against Domestic Violence (2015), on a regular basis, closeto twenty people experience physical abuse each minute. Physicalabuse is, therefore, a serious problem in society today. The essenceof this research paper is to explore physical mistreatment bydiscussing its history, types of physical abuse, the most affectedgender, and the psychological effects it has on families.
Accordingto statistics from the National Coalition against Domestic Violence,over ten million Americans are victims of physical abuse and violenceevery year. Again, the coalition states that in every single minute,twenty people are victims of physical abuse that degenerates toviolence (NCDV, 2015). These figures prove that indeed physical abuseis a problem that has persisted in the American society despite thenumerous efforts to sensitize people, particularly the perpetratorsof its adverse effects on the victims and community.
Physicalabuse, for example, domestic violence, has been present in manysocieties around the world and it is accepted in many culturesbecause it was embedded in their culture. For instance, an oldEnglish Common Law allowed husbands to beat their wives and children.Men were permitted to hit the companions as long as the stick usedwas not thicker than their thumb, hence the term “Rule of Thumb.”For many of the victims, particularly women and children, cruel andhumiliating words, stinging slaps, and hard kicks were an acceptablepart of their daily lives. Most people endure physical abuse becausetheir communities tolerated the practice or merely because theyfeared to report these assaults to the authorities (Sanchez, 2012).
Accordingto a survey by Mayra Sanchez, most of the population tends to acceptthe use of a different form of physical abuse, for example, corporalpunishment, in their parenting as a form of discipline. Sanchezstates that in one survey of about seven hundred college students,over eighty percent believed that parents hold the right to spanktheir children. Another eighty-three percent opined that they woulduse such practices with their children (Sanchez, 2012). Again,historical research on physical abuse indicates that in most cases,people who experienced harsh and abusive disciplinary practices intheir childhood are more likely to approve such practices in theirparenting roles. Imperatively, the history of physical abuse isrelated to the parenting response. For example, in one survey, asample of over six hundred first time mothers demonstrated a negativecorrelation between maternal self-reporting of a history of childhoodphysical abuse and the responsiveness of the mother towards a smallchild (Sanchez, 2012). Therefore, the study concluded that a historyof emotional and physical abuse was associated with the maternal useof physical punishment (Tracy, 2015). Imperatively, physical abuseis more intricate than what most people postulate because of itshistory that may start as early as possible in one’s life.
Physicalabuse consists of different forms of maltreatment aimed at causingharm, physical pain, and in severe cases, death. Physical abuse caninvolve scratching and biting, pushing or shoving, being kicked,slapping, and choking or strangulation, and in other cases forcedfeeding or being denied food. One form of physical abuse that hasbeen rampant in society is the use of guns. However, in a broaderperspective, physical abuse constitutes the intended bodily harm toparticular people in society because of their gender, age, and otherfactors, like race and ethnicity (Tracy, 2015). For example,gender-based violence, child maltreatment, and domestic violence areforms of physical abuse targeted at specific vulnerable groups insociety. Most of the victims of these acts state that the abusestarts as a small mistake that the abuser offers an apology for itsoccurrence. Again, the abuser may blame something, including thevictim or someone else for the situation. Again, another form ofphysical abuse is forced sex or rape or the performance of any sexualact through coercion. Furthermore, physical abuse arises when someonesmacks another person’s bottom without their consent or permission.Physical abuse can also be manifested through threats using weaponsor objects that can cause grievous harm to the victim.
TheMost Affected Gender
Physicalabuse is easier to approach than emotional abuse because it manifestsin many ways. However, discussing the issue with the victims is thetrickiest part unless they are willing to seek help. One of thereasons for this kind of situation is that victims of physical abuseare emotionally dependent on their abusers and see no way out of thesituation. As stated, women are the most affected gender based onstatistics by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).One form of abuse that these women have to endure is domesticviolence perpetrated by their spouses and in some cases, intimatepartners (CDC, 2016). For example, in their survey, the NationalCoalition against Domestic Violence states that seventy-six percentof intimate partner physical violence victims are women whiledomestic violence accounts for over fifteen percent of all violentcrimes in the United States.
Interestingly,the survey indicates that physical abuse is more common among datingpartners than in spouses with over three-quarters of women agedbetween 18 and 49 years having encountered physical abuse by the sameperpetrators more than once (NCDV, 2015). Physical abuse, includingpartner homicide, affects more women than men. According to theCoalition, over nine hundred and twenty women were killed by theirintimate partners while nearly half of the intimate homicides arecommitted by dating partners in a relationship. It suffices to notethat domestic violence is a type of physical abuse that does notdiscriminate based on race, financial status and sexual orientation(NCDV, 2015). However, it is important to note that most of thevictims of physical abuse are women. Women suffer different forms ofphysical abuse from their spousal partners, for example, they mayencounter sexual abuse that includes marital rape, physical attackson their sexual parts of the body, forced sexual intercourse after anincident of physical mistreatment or being subjected to sexuallydemeaning treatment.
Whilewomen face the most likelihood of suffering from physical abuse, menare also affected, though in small numbers compared to women.Furthermore, the physical abuse of children, particularly boys, hasbeen documented in many studies and their harmful long-term effectsdiscussed at length. For instance, the recent case of Zymere Perkins,a six year old who lost his life due to physical abuse (Stewart,2016).For the purpose of this research, the female gender is the mostaffected by physical abuse that may be manifested mainly throughdomestic violence and other forms of maltreatment targeted at them.
Physicalabuse presents long-term psychological effects on the victim becauseof their inflictions, especially among children. For example, peoplewho encounter physical violence while young are more likely to beperpetrators of these acts in their adult lives. Physical abusecauses long-lasting effects to children since many sufferers maydevelop mental problems that include depression, panic disorders, andin some extreme cases, post-traumatic stress disorder (Tracy, 2015).Again, others may resort to self-harming and drug and alcohol abuseas a way of coping with the abuse. Again, some victims of the abusemay experience constant nightmares and flashbacks and may isolatethemselves from others. Furthermore, studies show that physicallyabused children have low self-esteem and may not perform wellacademically. The abused children may run away from their homes andcan develop eating disorders to cope with the problem (Glick, Lorand& Bilka, 2016).
Depressionas an outcome of physical abuse is more prevalent in adults. However,drug and alcohol abuse are some of the coping mechanisms that peoplehave to deal with in their efforts to counter physical abuse.According to Natasha Tracy of Healthy Place, women have a sixteentimes greater risk of abusing alcohol and a nine-time likelihood ofdrug addiction compared to their non-abused counterparts (Tracy,2015). Women abused through domestic violence are more likely tosuffer from battered person syndrome. The battered syndrome makes itdifficult for many of the abused women to report their experiencesdue to fear.
Physicalabuse is not just about a maladjusted expression of someone’s angeror frustration and cannot be treated as an isolated incident in thesociety. Many perpetrators use it as a tool of control andoppression. For example, in intimate and spousal relationships, onepartner, particularly, the male partner may choose it as a way ofmanaging the relationship. Physical abuse is harmful both in theshort and long-term period of a victim’s life. It is thereforeimperative for the society to take decisive measures to prevent itsoccurrence.
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