Violence is a social problem which is not limited to any particular society. It is a social plague that has far reaching consequences and one which affects the very heart of any society. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) World Report on Violence and Health 2002, violence is defined as: …the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, that either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment or deprivation. In this report, further differentiation was made in the ways, which violence may be inflicted: physical, sexual and psychological attack and deprivation and from this definition reference was made to ‘interpersonal violence’; that is, violence between individuals and, this is further divided into family and intimate partner violence and community violence (WHO 2002). In light of the above introductory definition, the intent this paper is to focus on interpersonal violence, with specific reference to intimate partner violence or ‘domestic violence’ particularly in Trinidad and Tobago. This paper seeks to explore the theoretical perspectives proffered by the symbolic interactionist, feminist and functionalist, as it relates to the social issue of domestic violence; causes and effects of the issue, programmes formulated and implemented and omissions and gaps that may exist. It also offers possible solutions to the way forward, as is applicable to Trinidad and Tobago.
(The United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, General Assembly Resolution, December 1993) reported that: “Violence against women is a manifestation of historically unequal power relations between men and women, which have led to domination over and discrimination against women by men and to the prevention of the full advancement of women...” Additionally, Khan (2000) stated that for a lot of persons, ‘home’ is where they are faced with the terror of violence by an individual who is close to them; a person whom should be trusted. Individuals exposed to domestic violence often suffer physically and psychologically. Those affected are unable to make independent decisions or forward their opinions or protect themselves for fear of further repercussions. Their basic human rights are denied and their lives are engulfed in turmoil and constant threats of violence. Although both men and women are victims of domestic violence, one of the most deeply held assumptions is that violence against women is different from violence against men. It is also construed that women are most affected by domestic violence. The media, organizational and support groups and various facets of society often promote the prevention of violence amongst women and children and while this holds true; the media has also been linked to promoting negative modelling and images, which may encourage violence. Research suggests that the motives for violence against women are similar to the motives for violence against men, which is to gain control and/or to promote or defend self-image. The motives play a role in almost all violence, regardless of gender.
Conceptualizing domestic violence:
As far as, domestic violence rests upon the notion of a “domestic group” as a point of reference, it has become an almost indefinable concept. Nevertheless, there have been several attempts to define domestic violence to the extent that valid guidelines can be used across the definitions to formulate a basis for reconciling differences emanating from the diverse attempts to measure prevalence and other interesting dimensions of this social issue. To briefly engage in a broader Caribbean perspective of how domestic violence may be defined, Clarke (2001) evaluated domestic violence legislation in Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and...