Written by Felya Amaraputri Andhini, Social Media Admin intern at Project Child Indonesia
What comes to mind when you hear about domestic violence?
To give you a short definition, according to the United Nations, domestic violence or domestic abuse can be defined as a pattern of behavior in a relationship that is used to gain power or control over the other partner.
Perhaps for most people, they would start picturing an image of a man being abusive to a woman in a relationship, and that’s not wrong. As a matter of fact, women are most likely to become a victim of domestic violence.
But that’s not always the case. In reality, anyone can be a victim of domestic violence no matter what age, gender, race, social orientation, faith, or class. So when it happens in a family setting where children are involved, there is a high possibility that they will also get affected. They can either witness their dad getting bruises on his body because of one small mistake or they’re the one that is being pushed for breaking mom’s favorite vase.
One thing for sure, whether they become a witness or a victim, in the end it will affect what needs to be valued the most; their mental health.
When children at an early age are exposed to any kind of domestic violence, it will impair their brain development and other systems. A lack of affection from their parents due to stress can develop attachment issues and it can go a long way in their life.
Also note that children see their parents as their role models, so when a parent starts performing any form of abuse, they may pick that behaviour up and perform it to someone else, be it their peers or even someone that is much older than them. That can result in facing difficulties when they are socializing with kids around their age.
They may also become an individual that has a closed personality and has a hard time opening up to people. And the sad part, they may live with anxiety, depression, and that trauma for the rest of their lives.
Family should be a place where children can get all the love they deserve and they are supposed to be protected from all harm. When they are living with parents that can’t give them that, they can’t really do anything as they don’t really have a choice.
Those who experience domestic violence have a possibility to project their trauma to their future partner or child. It proves that domestic violence can be seen as a chain that must be broken.
First, every future parent or caregiver should be provided with support in raising a child. This can be in the form of giving training to future parents so they will have the knowledge on how to promote their child’s healthy development. Another crucial thing is to create a safe environment for children. If one happens to experience domestic violence in their childhood, they must first be aware of the long-term effects that they may still have. Although it won’t be easy, seeking professional help to deal with the trauma will not only benefit the victim, but also the future family.
For us, the society, we can help by giving the victims encouragement to seek support from the professionals. We can also use our ears to listen to the victims and let them know that they are not alone. Lastly, we can help break the chain by keeping on using our voice to raise awareness.
James, Marianne. (1994). Domestic violence as a form of child abuse: Identification and prevention. Retrieved from https://aifs.gov.au/cfca/publications/domestic-violence-form-child-abuse-identification
Violence against children. UNICEF. Retrieved from https://www.unicef.org/protection/violence-against-children
Violence against children. WHO. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/violence-against-children
What Is Domestic Abuse?. UN. Retrieved from https://www.un.org/en/coronavirus/what-is-domestic-abuse