The Impacts of Domestic Violence on Health

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This paper discusses the long- and short-term effects of domestic violence on the health of the abused. Even though the injuries caused by physical assault are the direct outcome of domestic violence, partner abuse has been linked to much more sophisticated health effects, which are long-term (Bacchus, Mezey, & Bewley, 2004). People exposed to domestic violence frequently experience mental or physical shifts, which can worsen if the effects are not addressed. Studies have showed that about 32 million women and one in ten men experiencing domestic violence suffer from various health effects (Huth-Bocks, Levendosky, & Bogat, 2002). Although some victims experience the same form of abuse, the response to trauma may differ from one person to another.

Immediate Health Impacts of Domestic Violence

Coker et al (2002) pointed out that intimate domestic abuse, by either current or former partner, is one of the common causes of injury among women. The patterns of injury linked to domestic violence are the following: bruises, cuts, miscarriages among expectant women, partial loss of vision or hearing, scars from knife wounds, and liver trauma (Huth-Bocks, Levendosky, & Bogat, 2002). Injuries of chest breast and abdomen have also been found to be more popular among battered women. Defensive injuries have also been reffered to as common. For instance, dislocations, fractures, and contusions of the lower arms and wrists result from the efforts of fending blows to the chest (Huth-Bocks, Levendosky, & Bogat, 2002).

Moreover, domestic violence is linked to the increased outpatient and emergency department services. Tolman and Rosen (2001) approximated that domestic violence accounts for at least 35 per cent of all emergency visits by women. Nevertheless, acute injuries account for between 25 per cent and 50 per cent of these visits (Jasinski, 2004).

According to Bacchus, Mezey, and Bewley (2004), there are extensive obstetric risk factors connected to domestic violence. Sexually abused or battered women are more vulnerable to sexually transmitted diseases, cervical and vaginal infections, and kidneyproblems, which are risk factors for pregnant women.

Domestic violence might be fatal resulting in death. However, women are the most vulnerable to death in event of violence. According to Ellsberg, Heise, Pena, Agurto, and Winkvist (2001), women are deliberately killed by the injuries inflicted upon them by their partners. The WHO estimated that about 38 percent of women murdered are killed by their partners (Coker, et al, 2002). Studies in the US have reported strangulation as the frequent tactic used by batterers. Since strangulation conceals external physical bruises or marks, emergency responders do not recognize the urgency for medical attention. According to Coker et al (2002), injuries caused by strangulation are often lethal, despite appearing mild. it has been determined that strangulation increases the chances of death.

Long-Term Health Effects of Domestic Violence

Satisfactory confirmation points out that domestic violence has long-standing adverse health effects on the survivors, even after the abuse (Huth-Bocks, Levendosky, & Bogat, 2002). Compared to non-abused women, abused women witness an increase of between 50 and 70 percent in chronic stress, central nervous system, and gynecological related problems. According to Coker et al (2002), these impacts are likely to be witnessed by women experiencing sexual and physical abuse within their intimate relationships. Ellsberg, Heise, Pena, Agurto, and Winkvist (2001) listed chronic stress-related problems as loss of appetite, gastrointestinal problems, and viral infections including flu and colds. Problems related to central nervous systems include fainting, back pain, and headaches. Gynecological complications include fibroids, sexually transmitted problems, vaginal bleeding, pelvic pain, and urinary tract infections (UTIs). Jasinski’s (2004) study revealed that domestic violence and assault tripled the chances of being diagnosed with gynecological problems.

The lack of women’s sexual independence in domestically violent intimate relationships contributes to unwanted pregnancies and unnecessary abortions. Both abortions and unwanted pregnancies may lead to health problems as a woman undergoes the proceedure of getting rid of these problems. According to Jasinski (2004), in certain cultures, marriage is presumed to grant men unrestricted sexual access to their wives. As a result, it is allowable for a man to forcefully engage a woman sexually. According to the United Population study, about 222 million women in third world economies do not have the ways of delaying childbearing and pregnancies. It is partly caused by the violence and coercion by their partners.

Moreover, the studies have established a relationship between HIV and domestic violence. This relationship has been witnessed among women in violent relations being compelled to engage in sexual intercourse (Ellsberg, Heise, Pena, Agurto, & Winkvist, 2001). The fact that such women cannot take preventive measures against HIV in such relationships for fear of being abused further explains the prevalence of HIV in domestically violent relationships. In 2010, the International AIDS Conference in Vienna reported that the risk of being infected with HIV is, at least, two times greater for women in violent relationships.

Physical health effects have been found to be reliant on the length of the relationship. According to Jasinski (2004), this implies that the length, severity of the abuse, as well as the regularity of incidents seem to play a considerable role in the determination of the degree of the illness or injury resulting from the violence.

Bacchus, Mezey, and Bewley’s (2004) exploratory study revealed that women who have been in violent intimate relationships for very long periods, who had high occurrence and severity of sexual or domestic abuse, and who had injuries linked to physical injuries, might have an increased risk of contracting cervical neoplasia. The disease is linked to individuals having a history of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Moreover, this investigation revealed that women suffering from domestically violent relations without an STD were likely to develop cervical neoplasia as compared to the non-abused women. According to Huth-Bocks, Levendosky, and Bogat (2002), women in domestically violent intimate relationship suffer from stress and fear that might result in long-term health problems and decreased immunity.

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