Domestic violence is a very complex issue based on the
Battered Woman
nature of the established relationship between the parties involved. It is not a random act of violence committed by a stranger. It is abuse, physical or non-physical that is committed against a person with whom there is an established relationship.

There are many definitions of domestic violence. The central theme of an abusive relationship is when one person exhibits a pattern of behavior that is used to either establish power and control or maintain power and control over the other person.

Just as there are many perspectives relative to the cause of domestic violence. The most prevalent view is that, for centuries, men have been allowed and encouraged, through established laws and religious beliefs, that

Man Yelling at a Child
it was a man's right to instill discipline against his wife in order to maintain power and control. The family systems perspective contends that each individual within a family desires to dominate the
Excerpt by Gilda Radner
other members. Therefore, all family members contribute to the violence through their interactions with the other members. The cognitive-behavioral perspective views domestic violence as a calculated decision made by the abuser based on the current situation and the way they have been taught to think based on previous experiences. The individual perspective focuses on emotional problems, which may have been caused by previous traumatic childhood experiences.

Woman Hitting Man

Men, as well as women, may be victims of domestic violence. However, statistics tell us that 85% of victims are women. According to the National Institute of Justice "women are substantially more likely than men to be murdered by their intimate partner." Children who witness violence in the home are more likely to exhibit behavioral problems. They may, in fact, learn to use violence to resolve their own disagreements. Domestic violence is about animal abuse, elder abuse, abuse against people with disabilities, child abuse, sibling abuse,

Abused Elderly Woman
teen dating violence and more…

There isn't a simple explanation as to the cause(s) of domestic violence. Likewise, there is not a simple solution to eliminate this very devastating form of violence. In order to break the cycle of abuse we must continue to explore the causes, effects and applicable solutions to end the terror experienced in homes that should be safe each and every day.

Massachusetts has taken a leadership role in dealing with issues of domestic violence. However, we still have a long way to go. It is no longer a private issue between two people. It is an issue that has permeated this country costing billions of dollars in medical care; millions of hours in lost work productivity and has taught our children that it is okay to use violence to solve problems. By working together to provide a unified front, we will be able to eliminate domestic violence in our society making a better world for everyone.