Thesis: The comparison of three countries, the United States, Australia, and Russia, has shown that America displays the lowest rates of domestic violence with Australia having slightly higher rates, and Russia displaying the highest ones; at this, minority groups within the United States (Native Americans) and Australia (Aboriginal people) are subjected to domestic violence more often that the rest of the population.
Domestic violence is a criminal offense which entails legal punishment starting from restraining orders and ending with imprisonment. Domestic violence takes place when one of the family members, cohabitants, or partners makes an attempt to dominate the other one physically. It has many forms and can be classified according to the severity rates and other dimensions. The forms of domestic violence range from physical assault to emotional abuse; the latter, though not regarded as a criminal behavior, can still lead to criminal violence and, thus, responsibility. Apart from these cases, domestic violence also includes sexual abuse, economic abuse (taking away the partner’s money, not allowing getting a job, making to ask for money, etc.), destruction of property or pets (breaking of property items or injuring pets of a victim), and stalking (pursuing a person, often secretly, with the purpose of sexual or any other kind of assault)” (Helfrich, 2001). Domestic violence is present in any culture and it rarely depends on race, religion, or ethnicity. Though the government of every country tries to fight with domestic violence, its levels either increase with each year or remain constant. The comparison of three countries, the United States, Australia, and Russia, has shown that America displays the lowest rates of domestic violence with Australia having slightly higher rates, and Russia displaying the highest ones; at this, minority groups within the United States (Native Americans) and Australia (Aboriginal people) are subjected to domestic violence more often that the rest of the population.
To begin with, though domestic violence rates are rather high in general, they are still the lowest as compared with the other countries. According to the U.S. National Violence against Women Survey conducted in 2000, “22.1% of the women and 7.4% of the men surveyed reported they were physically assaulted by a current or former spouse in their lifetime” (Jaffe, Lemon, & Poisson, 2002, p. 5). Only one third of these cases are usually reported; at this, women name shame as one of the most widespread reasons for their concealing the act of violence. Moreover, Native American women are reported to experience domestic violence more often than White American females. Their situation is often aggravated by the fact that most of Native Americans live on reservations which are spread over the United States. Most of these reservations are in remote areas where there are few highways, public transportation does not exist, and law enforcement can be several hours and sometimes even days away. What is even more striking is that their reporting about the cases of domestic violence is often ignored and “even if a woman can reach the authorities, the number of law enforcement officers is limited, and other crimes are given higher priority” (McCue, 2007, p. 45). Another remarkable fact is that the cases of domestic violence are not limited to women only; the cases when men report about experiencing domestic violence continue increasing and already in 2000 835,000 of American men have reported about being physically assaulted by women or their male intimate partners. Though, in case with a woman’s assault on a man the latter does not get so much injured as in the contrary case, the men’s movement supporters still remain concerned with the increase of male victimization.
As far as Australia is concerned, the country experiences almost the same problems with domestic violence as the United States. According to the data presented by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, “23% of women experienced violence by a current or former intimate partner in their lifetime” (Jaffe, Lemon, & Poisson, 2002, p. 5). The survey has also revealed that Australian women were more often subjected to abuse in a past relationship, while 12% of them admitted that they feared abuse from their current partners (Jaffe, Lemon, & Poisson, 2002, p. 5). In addition, ethnical groups within the Australian society were reported to be even more vulnerable to abuse. Thus, half of the incidents of domestic violence which have been reported to police happened with Aboriginal women who, by the way, constitute only 3% of adult females in Australia. One in three of these women die because of the inflicted injuries, but the saddest fact about this situation is that it is almost completely ignored by the Australian government. Though the government of the country has long been trying to improve the lives of indigenous people, it still “has not shown any consistent interest in intervening to prevent ad respond to violence in Aboriginal women’s relationships” (Summer & Hoffman, p. 4). This makes Australian problems with domestic violence similar to those which the USA has.
Finally, in comparison with the abovementioned countries, Russia has the highest rate of domestic violence instances. In 2003 the Council for Women of Moscow State University carried out a study in 89 regions of the country in which “70 percent of women reported that their husbands had subjected them to psychological, sexual, physical, or economic abuse” (McCue, 2007, p. 95). Fourteen thousand of these women are killed every year as a result of domestic violence and this number continues increasing; besides, this number concerns only instances where women were either seriously injured or killed with minor abuses not even being taken into consideration. Russian people jokingly justify men who beat their wives stating that “if he beats you, he loves you,” (Parrot & Cummings, 2006, p.27) but the truth still remains appalling and the government continues focusing only on serious cases of abuse. One of the alleged reasons for such a situation with domestic violence in Russia is that the standards of life still remain rather low in most of the regions. Though in the past several decades Russian women have become relatively independent, most of them still depend on their husbands financially. Housing in the country remains limited this is why “many extended families live together so the option to live an abusive home and go live with relatives is not available for most women” (Parrot & Cummings, 2006, p.27). This makes Russian problem with domestic violence similar to that of America and Australia.
In conclusion, as compared with Russia and Australia, the Unites States has low levels of domestic violence. Among these three countries the situation in Russia is the least favorable with the percentage of women subjected to domestic violence being more than three times bigger that that in America and Australia. However, what unites the victims of domestic violence in all these countries is their desperate condition. In case with Russia, this condition consists in the women having no way to go from the house where they are abused; in case with Americas and Australia’s Native women this is ignorance to the seriousness of the situation on the part of governments.
- Helfrich, C.A. (2001). Domestic abuse across the lifespan: the role of occupational therapy. New York: Routledge.
- Jaffe, P.G., Lemon, N.K.D., & Poisson, S.E. (2002). Child custody & domestic violence: a call for safety and accountability. London: SAGE.
- McCue, M.L. (2007). Domestic violence: a reference handbook. London: ABC-CLIO.
- Parrot, A. & Cummings, N. (2006). Forsaken females: the global brutalization of women. London: Rowman & Littlefield.
- Summers, R.W. & Hoffman, A.M. (2002). Domestic violence: a global view. London: Greenwood Publishing Group.