One of the most large-scale and complex problems America deals with each year is that of domestic violence. This crime is one in which leaves the victim (statistically more common a female) filled with fear, anxiety, and shame; feelings that one should not have to feel. Yet as America progresses through time, no one solution has been proven to significantly reduce the ongoing domestic violence occurrence. However, the potential for lowering the number of domestic violence occurrences is present, but first solutions for reducing this problem have to be found such as the creation of community based programs, increased censorship in television, administering treatment to potential perpetrators, and enforcing more harsh penalties.
In a study, published in the Archives of Family Medicine, Sugg, et al., defines domestic violence as “past or present physical and/or sexual violence between former or current intimate partners, adult household members, or adult children and a parent. Abused persons and perpetrators could be of either sex, and couples could be heterosexual or homosexual.” In addition, domestic violence is also present between siblings and elders of the same family. Thus, domestic violence can be described as abuse (physical, sexual, or psychological) towards a spouse, child, sibling, or elder.
One possible solution to reducing domestic violence is to implement educational, community based programs created to reduce violence within the home. These programs will keep families posted and aware of particular items such as signs of potential domestic violence, victim hotlines, locations of domestic violence shelters/therapy, and procedures to go about reporting domestic violence. In addition, the community based programs would emphasize the fact that domestic violence is not something witnesses should ignore and view as a private matter within that abused home, but a matter in which should be acted upon. Along with providing information and education of domestic violence in the community there is the possibility of instilling fear within a domestic violence perpetrator. This fear would make the potential perpetrator feel they are in the spotlight because they know that the community’s eyes are watching.
Another possible solution for reducing domestic violence would be to use more censorship on television. Statistics show that children exposed to large amounts of violence, whether fiction or reality, they themselves grow up to be an adult who displays domestic violence characteristics or even commits domestic violence. By removing television shows from time slots that are at high risk of children watching and by censoring out depictions of violence, there will be far less exposure to such acts. This solution does not just reach children but adults as well. Even keeping adults from watching domestic violence on television could potentially reduce the domestic violence adults commit.
Along with removing and censorship of television programs, pubic announcements and commercials could be more frequently played during the prime time hours. These commercials could be educational, informative, and appeal to both children and adults. These opportunities in television make domestic violence more identifiable for children and adults within the public.
Identifying and administering treatment to potential domestic violence perpetrators would also aid in reducing domestic violence. Too many times perpetrators are receiving treatment when it is too late; there is already a victim. This anger management approach seeks to find individuals who may succumb to domestic violence and place them in a treatment program, or if necessary a facility, where they may learn how to handle and displace their anger. Waiting until after domestic violence has occurred to administer treatment is not as reasonable as solving the problem before it occurs.
Lastly, a solution to reducing domestic violence involves better handling of the situation by law enforcement and by making the penalties more severe. When the police respond to a domestic violence call the perpetrator is apprehended, placed in jail for the night, and most of the time released the next day. This serves as a very weak way of dealing with obvious perpetrators because the victim (usually their wife) is forgiving by morning, therefore, not pressing charges. Instead, police should have charges automatically brought against the perpetrator and anger management classes made mandatory.
Enacting the death penalty for perpetrators of domestic violence would surely reduce the number of cases America sees each year. Though this is not reasonable and just, the idea behind it would serve true if more severe penalties were created for those convicted of domestic violence. Doubling jail time, increasing the hours of anger management or therapy, and having to report to a corrections officer would all serve as more harsh penalties that would aid in reducing domestic violence.
To reduce America’s large-scale and complex problem of domestic violence, one needs to take part in finding solutions to avoid or lessen the problem altogether. It is apparent that communities, censored television, anger-management, and more harsh penalties for the crime all have potential to significantly reduce the occurrences of domestic violence. Though the ongoing problem of domestic violence will never diminish, the number of victims plagued by this crime can by identifying ways of reducing domestic violence.
Sugg, N., Thompson, R., Thompson, D., Maiuro, R., and F. Rivara. Domestic Violence and Primary Care: Attitudes, Practices, and Beliefs. Archives of Family Medicine. 1999; 8: 301-306.