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Domestic Violence

What is domestic violence?

Domestic Violence is defined in many ways. Generally, it means a range of behaviour against a current or former partner. The behaviour may be in the form of physical and sexual assault, verbal abuse, threats, emotional and financial abuse. Domestic violence is usually repetitive and follows a certain pattern; it worsens over time and may continue even after an end of a relationship. It is always associated with the perpetrator’s aim to reinforce authority and control. In most cases, the abuser is a man and the victim is always a woman or a child.

What is the type of domestic violence?

Domestic violence can be either of several forms :

  • Physical
  • Verbal
  • Psychological
  • Emotional

What is the health effect of violence?

Here are some of the health impact of domestic violence :

  • Physical or bodily :
    • Injuries ranging from bruises, cuts, fractures to permanent disability and death.
  • Psychological and Behavioral :
    • Women who are abused by their partners suffer more depression, anxiety and phobias than non abused women. They are also at risk of suicidal behaviours and self-harm.
    • o Abused women are also associated more with smoking, alcohol and drug abuse.

How do I know that I am in an abusive relationship?

Here are some questions about you and your partner that may help you in determining whether you are in an abusive relationship or not. If the answer is yes to majority of the questions, you are likely involved in an abusive relationship.

  • Are you fearful of your partner most of the time?
  • Do you avoid certain topics so as not to trigger your partner’s anger?
  • Do you ever feel that you can’t do anything right for your partner?
  • Do you feel terribly bad about yourself that you think you deserve to be hurt by your partner?
  • Do you feel that you don’t love your partner anymore?
  • Do you feel that you don’t respect your partner anymore?
  • Do you sometimes wonder if you are the one who is crazy, that maybe you are over reacting to your partner’s behaviour?
  • Have you ever fantasised about ways to get rid of your partner from your life?
  • Have you ever wished that your partner is dead?
  • Are you afraid that your partner might kill you?
  • Are you afraid that your partner may take away your kids from you?
  • Do you think domestic violence is a normal happening in a married life?
  • Your inner feelings: Feeling of fear, self-loathing and desperation.
  • Your partner’s behaviour
    • Is your partner unpredictable?
    • Is your partner a pleasant individual in between bouts of violence.
    • Is he a bad tempered person?
    • Has he ever threatened you? Verbally or physically? To kill or to hurt you?
    • Has he ever threatened to take the children away from you?
    • Has he ever hurt you physically?
    • Has he ever threatened you at work?
    • Does he destroy your belongings or household objects?
    • Does he keep you away from your family or your friends?
    • Has he limited your access to money, telephone or car?
    • Is your partner jealous and possessive, always checking on you and frequently accuse you of having an affair?
    • Does your partner prohibit you from going outside your house?
    • Does your partner verbally abuse you?
    • Does your partner humiliate and criticise you in front of others?
    • Does your partner often ignore or put down your opinion or contribution?
    • Does your partner blame you for his violent behaviour?
    • Does your partner disrespect women?
    • Does he see you only as a sex object rather than as a person?

What are the signs that a person may be a victim of domestic violence?

If you witness your officemate, friend or anyone with a cluster of the following signs, you can reasonably suspect domestic violence :

  • Bruises, cuts, swelling or other form of physical injuries with the excuses of ‘accidents’
  • Depression, crying
  • Frequent or sudden absences
  • Frequent lateness
  • Receive frequent, harassing phone calls to the person while they are at work
  • Fearful of the partner
  • Decreased level of productivity and attentiveness
  • Withdrawn
  • Having financial problems.

If you are a victim of domestic violence or you know some one being the victim of violence, where should you go to for help?

Don’t keep it to yourself, let it out, share your problem with others. You have to put a stop to it. Love yourself and your life. You are important and you deserve to lead a happy life. REMEMBER you are never alone; all you have to do is reach out! We are here to help you :

  • Your Mom and Dad
  • Your sister and brother
  • Your neighbour
  • Your friend
  • Your counselor
  • Your teacher
  • Your health personnel in Health Clinics and OSCC

If you are in immediate danger or already been hurt, call 999 immediately

How do I report suspected domestic violence?

Reporting suspected domestic violence is IMPORTANT and CONFIDENTIAL. Your prompt action can protect the victim from further harm or even DEATH. Please report to the nearest Police Station or to the nearest Welfare Office in your community.

How do I get help if I am an abuser?

If you want to get help for someone you have just hurt, please call 999. If you need to get out of the cycle of abuse and violence, please come to see a doctor for counseling and necessary assistance.

Last Reviewed : 27 April 2012
Writer : Dr. Rosnah Ramly
Reviewer : Dr. Stanley CY Lim