Most cases of abuse target children and women, and this causes trauma which may be irreversible even with treatment. Abuse victims may develop poor impulse control, stress disorders, low self esteem, depression, drug abuse, fear, isolation, suicide and other undesirable traits. These effects have a negative bearing on children and mothers since they affect self-confidence and ability to meet life goals. Separation, substance abuse, mental disorders and divorce are effects which adversely affect children’s development stages. Abused children may replicate abuse as adults, which lengthen the violence cycle.
This paper will briefly evaluate domestic violence and drug abuse. Various aspects of both domestic violence and drug abuse will be explored. These include reasons for domestic violence and drug abuse and interventions for prevention of the same. The relationship between domestic violence and drug abuse will also be discussed. The paper will prove that the two have a dual relationship and that domestic violence leads to drug abuse and vice verse. All discussed issues will be summarized at the end of the paper.
Domestic violence is prevalent in society today. Over 60% of families have experienced domestic violence at some point (Dutton, 2006). In addition, over half of domestic violence cases are not reported. In most cases, assault was reported in family violence, with stalking, criminal harassment and threats being other forms of abuse committed. In over 80% of abuse cases, people familiar to victims performed abuse. More than 40% of women are also reported to have experienced marital rape. Generally, these statistics reveal that children and women suffer the largest proportion of abuse, with this being performed by men they are in relationships with.
Domestic abuse comprises over 10% of the overall crime committed in US, which reveals the severity of the issue. It is imperative that abuse is analyzed in further detail and prevention measures developed to stem this rising crime. In addition, few cases are reported due to close relationships between victims and offenders. When over 50% of domestic violence cases are unreported, then this has an adverse effect on the family unit. It shows that social values have been neglected and society has embraced the vice, domestic violence, and accepted it as a tolerable vice. Since this is the case, measures to discourage this vice should be taken.
Alcohol and drug abuse
Alcohol and drug abuse are major vices facing today’s society. Drug abuse has become a vice which threatens to destabilize society by creating more social deviants. Over 40 million people in US abuse drugs, and these result in over $50 billion being spent annually to cater for medical treatment of victims (Stimson, 2007). Although alcohol abuse is considered a “mild” drug of choice, the reality is that it kills five times more teenagers than those who use all other drugs combined. This is attributed to the widespread nature of abuse and consequences of actions of people who abuse it. For instance, most fatal accidents caused by teenagers are attributed to alcohol abuse.
More harmful drugs are being manufactured, and unless steps are taken to eradicate drug use, many teenagers and adults will die early due to harmful effects of drugs. For instance, methamphetamine is a new drug which drastically reduces the life span of abusers, and it is gaining popularity as the drug of choice. Drug use is related to various social vices such as crimes, and these also have a negative impact on society. As will be later discussed, drug use may lead to domestic violence. Drugs cause aggressiveness and hinder the formulation of rational decisions, which may lead to domestic violence among users (Learn about alcoholism website, 2009). The relationship between domestic violence and drug use will be analyzed in more detail.
Relationship between domestic violence and drug abuse
Domestic violence and drug abuse have a dual relationship, as has been discussed. This means that domestic violence can lead to drug abuse, and vice verse. When people are abused, or violence used against them, they may view themselves as powerless and decide to bear the pain. As will be later discussed, there are many reasons which may make victims fail to take action against their abusers. When this happens, victims may use drugs to ease their suffering. They may develop depression and stress, and drugs may appear effective in easing the suffering which they undergo. Drugs commonly abused in these circumstances include alcohol, nicotine and marijuana. However, harder drugs such as cocaine and heroin are also increasingly being used to escape the realities of life. These drugs are addictive, and unless users seek professional help, they are usually unable to quit abusing them. Drug abuse is therefore seen as being caused by domestic violence.
On the other hand, domestic violence may be caused by drug abuse. When people abuse drugs, it makes them unable to make rational decisions. Drug abuse detaches people from reality and when they commit family violence, they may be unable to view the repercussions of their actions (DeGrandpre, 2006). Other drugs such as alcohol and marijuana make people more aggressive. Such people may project their aggression against their families through use of family violence. Domestic violence is therefore caused by drug abuse hence a dual relationship.
Reasons for domestic abuse
Power and domination
The quest for power contributes highly to cases of domestic violence. Some people need to dominate others to feel they have power. These people use oppression and abuse as tools to attain power. Physical abuse enables them to make victims powerless over them. Economic abuse ensures that victims are dependent and cannot escape abuse. Mental disorders, low esteem or stress may drive offenders who use violence to attain power. Such abuse may be reversed through medication and therapy with support from family.
When people use drugs, they may be unaware of consequences of actions. They are unable to reason rationally and may resort to abuse. People who live with drug abusers suffer most from effects of drugs including increasing irritability, delusions, stress and other effects. These may lead to domestic violence and can be treated through medication and therapeutic interventions.
Research reveals that children who undergo abuse when young may replicate the abuse as adults. Abused children have higher chances of practicing family violence as adults compared to those not abused. This is explained by the sociological theory where children practice things imparted on them during the sociological process. When they are abused, they may view it as part of socialization and they may commit the same to their families as adults. In addition, children who do not have proper social vices imparted during socialization are likely to commit vices such as drug use.
Stigma among victims
Many victims suffer from stigma which hinders them from reporting cases of domestic violence. Wives suffer from stigma in situations where they prosecute their husbands, due to children’s social needs. Children require both parents for normal development and when one parent is jailed for a crime, children are raised by single parents. Fathers play roles such as ensuring security and economic well-being in families, and their absence may adversely affect children’s development. This hinders the reporting and prosecution of marital rape cases by wives and explains the high number of marital abuse cases globally.
Reasons for alcohol and drug addiction
Sociological theories such as the labeling theory explain reason crimes are committed as the labeling of deviants as “criminals”. This drives them to commit crime in order to be consistent with society’s expectations. When people abuse drugs and alcohol, the society labels them as “drug users” and segregates them. Such people form social groups in which they view themselves as outcasts and begin rebelling against social norms. Since society perceives them as “drug users”, they are likely to continue abusing drugs in order to conform to society’s expectations.
Stress and depression
Stress is a major factor which drives people to abuse drugs. When people are stressed, they lose hope and look for alternative means of relieving the stress. Many opt to use drugs, and the common drug abused due to stress is alcohol. Alcohol detaches victims from life’s realities and they temporarily forget their problems. This is why it is their drug of choice. Other drugs abused due to stress include marijuana, cocaine, heroin and others. All these drugs are addictive and have potential to detach users from reality. This may lead to the commission of violent acts by drug users. Victims of violence may include family members, hence domestic violence.
Although research on this perspective of alcohol abuse has been inconclusive, there is evidence that family history plays a role in abuse of alcohol. Families which have histories of alcoholism report higher incidence of abuse of alcohol than those which do not have such histories. This may be linked to exposure to alcohol at early ages. In such families, children may be exposed to alcohol at an early age hence the development of alcoholism. Such children begin consuming alcohol at early ages, become addicted and abuse it as adults.
Summary and conclusion
Various aspects of domestic violence and drug use have been discussed. Domestic violence and drug use are two major social vices which threaten the stability of society. Domestic violence cases are very common in society although most cases go unreported. This is associated with stigma which victims are exposed to when they are abused by close family members. Drug use is seen to adversely affect the health of users, with huge costs being used to treat drug users. In addition, many fatalities are caused by drug use, with alcohol abuse being a leading cause of drug-related fatalities.
The dual relationship between domestic abuse and drug use has also been discussed. Drug use leads to domestic abuse and vice verse. Both vices should therefore be fought hand in hand in order to achieve the desirable results. However, drug use and domestic violence are two complicated problems which should be dealt with carefully due to their impacts on the family unit. Most of domestic violence cases are unreported due to stigma faced by victims. It is important to publicize both vices and make the society more aware of them in order for various interventions to be effective. The barriers which lead to high rates of commission of the crime including weak laws and stigma should also be removed. This will facilitate reporting and prosecution of more offenders who commit these crimes. Other interventions needed to be implemented to reduce cases of drug use and domestic violence will be discussed below;
Recommendations on reducing family violence
Legislation plays a crucial role in acting as deterrent to crime. Many people cannot commit crime due to fear of repercussions. In tackling domestic abuse, a similar approach is effective since harsh repercussions will deter offenders (Johnson & Ferraro, 2004).. Parliament around the world should develop harsher legislation to deal with domestic abuse and drug use since it is a significant societal problem. This will reduce commission of both vices since the long sentences to abusers will discourage these crimes.
Victims of drug use and domestic abuse need shelters and help to rebuild their lives. Rehabilitation shelters should offer victims an environment away from abuse, where they can seek medical, financial and legal help to enable them overcome the abuse they experience. This will encourage victims to report abuse and cushion them against adverse economic consequences of reporting abuse, in case the perpetrator was the breadwinner. Victims in rehabilitation centers should also access counseling in order to reduce trauma caused by domestic and drug abuse.
Proper socialization will ensure that children are aware of social vices. They need to have social virtues and awareness on consequences of committing crimes such as drug use and family violence. When children have social virtues, they are unlikely to commit these vices. The family unit is responsible for instilling these virtues; hence parents should educate their children against drug use. The society should use negative interventions to discourage commission of family violence and drug use. This will ensure that these vices are not tolerable in society and it will discourage their commission.
According to Hamel and Nicholls (2007), education is very effective in reducing abuse. The public should be educated at individual, society and family levels on domestic abuse and drug use. When people are educated about social vices, they are aware of how they can deal with them and discourage their commission. Abuse signs from victims should be discussed in order to make society report suspected abuse cases. Cooperation with law enforcers will also help eradicate this vice through more prosecution of perpetrators. In addition, shelters for victims should be publicized to ensure victims seek justice. Education on abuse will prevent the normalization of abuse in families.