Relationship Violence and the Effects on Victims
Relationship violence refers to the aggressive behavior that typically involves the violent abuse of an intimate partner or spouse. Individuals who have been exposed to relationship violence often experience challenges concerning healing both emotionally and physically from multiple traumas (Edlin, Eric, and Kelli 509). Such traumas may have diverse effects on the body, mind, and spirit. Both men and women experience relationship violence, with the effects manifesting themselves immediately following the abuse, or long after the act has ended.
Some of the physical effects of relationship violence include chronic fatigue, involuntary shaking, sexual dysfunction, shortness of breath, disrupted sleeping and eating patterns, muscle tension, as well as fertility issues and disrupted menstrual cycles in women. Victims of relationship violence also suffer mental problems. For instance, battering, which is a major cause of injury among women, is more significant than rapes, automobile accidents, or even robberies. In fact, the psychological and emotional toll that results from abuse within relationships may be more difficult and costly to treat than physical injury.
Physical injuries caused by relationship violence also tend to cause medical difficulties as the victims age (Roberts, Kelsey, and Gene 46). Victims of relationship violence have identified heart disease, arthritis, and hypertension as directly resulting from or aggravated by spousal violence experienced during early adulthood. In addition, victims can lose their jobs due to absenteeism occasioned by illness resulting from the violence. Coping with the consequences of relationship violence can be overwhelming since the victims often have no control over the situation.
Victims may sometimes turn to drug and substance abuse in an attempt to cope with the devastating feelings. Engaging in self-harming behaviors may also give victims a sense of control over their environment, which may serve to ease the tension. Even though victims do not always engage in such behaviors with suicidal intent, they may nonetheless result in severe injury or death in some cases.
Edlin, Gordon, Eric Golanty, and Kelli M. C. Brown. Health and Wellness. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett, 2009. Print.
Roberts, Gwenneth, Kelsey Hegarty, and Gene Feder. Intimate Partner Abuse and Health Professionals: New Approaches to Domestic Violence. Edinburgh, AU: Churchill Livingstone, 2006. Print.