It should not hurt to be a Woman:
The impact of domestic violence on health.
In partial fulfillment of the requirements for Nursing 350
“Just tell the nurse you slipped and fell. It starts to sting as it starts to swell. She looks at you she wants the truth, it’s right outside in the waiting-room with those hands looking just as sweet as he can…”(Nickleback, 2002).
It should not hurt to be a woman, and yet violence against women remains the “leading cause of death and disability among those aged 16 to 44-years of age” (UNICEF, 2000, p. 2). In the year 2000, the World Health Organization (WHO), declared violence against women to be “a universal health and human rights problem of epidemic proportions, with domestic violence recognized as the most common form, affecting at least one of every three women across the life-span” (p.89). Domestic violence is evident to some degree throughout every society in the world, even in those societies that enjoy relative peace and prosperity, many women are found living in a constant state of insecurity, shame, and secrecy. Many women believe they deserve to suffer the violence because of some wrong action on their part, while others refrain from speaking about such violence because they fear voice will bring further harm them in an act of vengeance for revealing family secrets, or they may be ashamed of their situation (WHO, 2002). Unfortunately, this too often concealment of violence against women makes it invisible to many, either literally because of its occurrence behind closed doors, or effectively, due to the many legal and cultural norms that treat violence against women as a simple family-concern or part of every day life rather than the crime it truly is. The result is a vast population of women vulnerable to many insecurities and fears, as well as specific risk factors that carry with them profound implications for women’s overall health and well-being (WHO, 2002).
Various organizations and individuals, worldwide, have worked relentlessly to draw increased attention to the issue of violence against women, in particular to domestic violence against women. The intent of this paper is to explore the issue of domestic violence and women from a variety of perspectives. Firstly, this paper will attempt to provide definition to the term of domestic violence, while outlining the extent of the issue from a global, national and provincial level, with additional focus on women of aboriginal decent. Secondly, this paper will investigate the socio-economical and health related impact domestic violence has on women in society. In addition, it will serve to research and present some health promotion strategies and programs that have been implemented to counter the issue of domestic violence and will also provide critique. Moreover, this paper will determine the role nurses have adopted within these promotion strategies and how they can continue to maintain or increase their levels of involvement in future encounters with such strategies. In conclusion, this paper will put forth a summary of findings and will provide discussion regarding areas of significant personal learning and implications for future practice. Domestic Violence Defined
Domestic violence refers to “violence and the creation of an environment” that fosters fear and intimidation that stems from the household and/or from those relationships encompassed by familial or emotional attachment (Aboriginal Healing Foundation, 2003, p.24). It encompasses physical, sexual, and psychological violence occurring within the domestic sphere including battery, emotional and psychological abuse, marital rape and other practices that may be harmful to women (WHO, 2002). A Note on Prevalence
Several factors have been found to affect the quality of prevalence data, including the way in which domestic violence is defined, the...