Chapter 1: INTRODUCTION
Globally, domestic violence is a common issue that affects many defenseless individuals in the society. Owing to the increased awareness on the vice, more people are reporting the cases of domestic violence. In the past, domestic violence comprise of actions such as physical violence against the victims, majority who were women. The trend has changed in the modern days to include offences that cause more psychological pain than physical pain. Domestic violence in the form of stalking of the partners on the social media may not cause physical pain but it has the potential to cause stress and depression to the victims. Domestic violence does not involve strangers but it involves people who are close to the victims. The perpetrators of the offence in most cases include the intimate partners and close relatives to the victims. In Saudi Arabia, the society has been struggling to end domestic violence by all means including the use of the legal systems. Over the year, domestic violence in Saudi Arabia and other nations has been taken as normal and thus hindering the implementation of justice for the victims. In most cases, domestic violence involves harassment of women either sexually or physically. However, this does not imply that the men are not affected; they are also victims of domestic violence through abusive relationships that often lead to stress and depression. This implies that most of the perpetrators of the offences are men.
The perception of domestic violence laws thus differs between men and women. While women view the act as a troubling factor in the society, men do not find it much troubling. This is a primary factor that may hinder the formulation and application of the violence-related regulations. Regardless of the different perspectives of the two genders on domestic violence, there have been laws formulated to contain the situation. The increased awareness of the communities about the evils of domestic violence has led to the inclusion of domestic violence regulations in the judicial system. The sanctions on domestic violence have had impacts on the society over the years. The height of domestic violence in the nation has even attracted the attention of the international community. This paper examines the impact of the sanctions and it makes a comparison of the various judicial rulings made between the US and the King of Saudi Arabia.
Statement of the Problem
Domestic violence social, psychological and physical impacts on the victims and may even lead to death. The physical effects of the violence include bruises, broken bones, cuts, pregnancy complications and contraction of sexually transmitted illnesses. In addition to the physical pain, the victims may also suffer from psychological problems such as anxiety, low self-esteem, depression and suicidal behavior (Riggs, Caulfield & Street, 2000). The victims may also become socially isolated from the society. In my working experience as a social worker in a Saudi Arabian hospital, I realized that most of the domestic violence victims did not want to talk about their situation. Some of them even lied about issues such as the cause of their broken bones and bruises. On the same note, I learnt that most of the depression cases and suicide attempts had a link to domestic violence. In most cases, the society does not find domestic violence dangerous and people have learnt to live with it. The problem lies with the victims who suffer silently and even at times die from the effects of the domestic violence. The negative impacts of the violence are a clear indication that the act should not be tolerated in the society. The offenders ought to face the law. In most cases, the victims choose to remain silent about the violence for the fear of rejection in the community. In addition, most of the victims are ignorant about the laws that protect them against domestic violence (Riggs, Caulfield & Street, 2000). There is a need to sensitize the society about the various laws that protect them from the vice. With a clear system of justice for the domestic violence victims, the cases of the vice are likely to drop. Some of the offenders may take the advantage of the fact that the judicial systems are not keen on the domestic violence matters.
After carrying out a thorough research on the impacts of domestic violence on the society, it is evident that there are still some areas that are not well researched. Most of the research is not applicable in the modern days because of the dynamic nature of the society. Some of the relevant factors in domestic violence have changed over the years. For instance, the issue of domestic violence in marriage is different in modern context because the institution has changed. The impact of the laws on domestic violence has therefore changed and this may call for major reforms in the criminal justice system in the country. The study aims at developing new insights in domestic violence that may be relevant in making the judicial systems able to end the domestic violence permanently.
Significance of the Study
Most people in the society know that domestic violence is a crime but they do not know the legal framework that protects them against the vice. The majority of victims choose to keep quiet due to the ignorance on the legal implications of the violence. One of my career objectives is to help improve the welfare of the people and creating awareness of the legal implications of domestic violence is one of the ways I can achieve this. Apart from my work experience, my educational background has a strong influence in my need to carry out the study. From my bachelor’s degree in social work, I learnt the need to help improve the welfare of the communities. One of the factors that hinder development is the ignorance in the society about issues affecting the. Evidently, domestic violence is an issue that affects the well-being of the society and it has adverse implications on development.
By carrying out this study will enhance the understanding of the implications of the domestic violence laws. Depending on the outcome of the study the people will get to know the commitment of the Saudi Arabian government in protecting the welfare of its citizens. The various parties in the government will find the study useful in carrying out their work. The law makers for instance, will find the study useful as they will be in a position to understand the impact of the laws against domestic violence in the society. In my masters degree in criminal justice, I learnt that offenders must be brought to book for justice to prevail. The study will compare the judicial rulings made between the United States and the Saudi Arabia. This comparison will enhance the understanding of the judicial system with regard to domestic violence.
Most individuals suffer from domestic violence in silence due to the ignorance about the laws that govern domestic violence in Saudi Arabia. The fight against domestic violence in the United States is more intense than the situation in Saudi Arabia.
The study aims to provide answers to the following questions.
- What is the domestic violence?
- What is the attitude of the society towards domestic violence?
- What are the laws governing domestic violence in Saudi Arabia?
- What are the measures put in place to ensure justice for the domestic violence victim?
- What is the impact of domestic violence laws in the society?
CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW
It is important for the citizens of any particular nation to have confidence in the available judicial systems. Justice should be the ultimate goal of the legal framework in any country. The guarantee that the judicial system is guided by the principles of justice and fairness gives the citizens confidence to report the various issues affecting the. The awareness of the height of domestic violence in the society cannot be significant without the knowledge on the punitive measures taken against the domestic violence offenders. To understand the impacts of the sanctions on domestic violence it is crucial to examine the issue of the domestic violence. The attitude of the society towards the violence is also an important element in studying the impacts of the sanctions. It is also important to define the laws that are used in Saudi Arabia to control the criminal offence. The various measures put by the government to ensure that the domestic violence victims get justice are also important in the study. This is also important in making comparisons between the judicial rulings in the united state and those in Saudi Arabia.
One of the issues facing the system of criminal justice in the modern days is the violence of people within their social context. Domestic violence has existed for many years where it has been occurring in silence but in the modern days this has changed. Over the years, there has been more awareness on domestic violence. However, there is still a large percentage of the population who look at domestic violence as a normal occurrence where the men carry out the act and women are the main victims. In one of the studies by Summers and Hoffman (2002), the definition of domestic violence is inaccurate as it associates it with marriage between a man and woman. According to their study, domestic violence involves abuse of women by men in a marriage or an intimate relationship. In the modern days, this definition cannot be used accurately owing to the changed marital context. For instance, in a marriage between two men, the definition is not applicable (Ellsberg et.al, 2008). The study seems to focus only on the physical aspect of domestic violence which is mostly associated with men. There are other forms of domestic violence in the modern days such as stalking of the partners on social media and it can involve both men and women. It is therefore inaccurate to state that the victims of the violence are only women. The men are equally affected. There have been efforts to create awareness on domestic violence such as the passing of the Violence Against Women Act, more than two decades ago. This implies that domestic violence is not a new issue in the society but it has been there.
Men, according to a report by the National Crime Survey, perpetrate most cases of domestic violence. About 96 % of the victims in domestic violence cases are women. Between 1973 and 1977, about 95% of the cases of assaults on spouses were by men. The survey on national criminal violence against women carried out between 1995 and 1996 in the United States proved that women are the majority victims in domestic violence cases. About 25% of women in the survey and a 7.5% of men reported to have experienced domestic violence in their marriages (Tjaden & Thoennes, 2000). In the modern context, such statistics may not be applicable because the institution of marriage has changed. There is an increase in the number of families that are headed by single parents but this does not rule out domestic violence. In some cases, the children are also victims of domestic violence. In a study carried out in 1985 by the national family violence survey indicated that children and women are the main victims of domestic violence (Straus & Gelles, 1990).
The Attitude of the Society towards Domestic Violence
Due to the awareness created on domestic violence in many regions, majority of the people know the actions that constitute domestic violence. The psychological, physical and social impacts of domestic violence are not new to the society. Despite the campaigns against the vice, there are still a large number of people in the society who do not find anything wrong with the oppression against women. The society has been socialized to believe that the women are the victims of domestic violence. The masculinity of men does not give room for them to be abused by the women, but this is happening in the modern days (Bradley et.al, 2002). The impact of abusive relationships does not only affect women but men can also be victims as well. The society despises any man who reports to be in an abusive relationship and they are viewed as weak. In most cases many men suffer domestic violence silently for fear of rejection by the society. The fact that most of the domestic violence cases go unreported is one of the major barriers to carrying out study in the area. Most people who are in abusive relationships fear talking about it and they prefer suffering silently (Ellsberg et.al, 2008). In a study carried out by Locke and Richman (1999), most of the cases involving domestic violence are not reported as it is viewed as a private affair. The gender differences contribute to the social construction of the attitude towards domestic violence. At times the society blames the victims of domestic violence and this may lead to fear of the victims to report the cases. In a research carried out by Walby & Simmons (2004), 40% of the respondents agreed that the women who wear revealing clothes in public should be held responsible for the domestic violence acts that they may face. The report also justifies the acts of domestic violence in some cases, such as where a partner, especially the woman is in the wrong. Forcing a woman to have sex with a man when they are married is not considered as domestic violence by a majority of the people in the society; arguing that men have marital rights as well.
Laws Governing Domestic Violence
Due to the increase in the domestic violence cases in the nation, it is inevitable to have regulation to control the vice. The offenders of domestic violence need to face the law and there have been several laws with respect to that. In the United States, the creation of awareness on domestic violence started in the 1970s and it has led to various laws such as the Violence against Women Act. In Saudi Arabia, the awareness has been quite slow but there are laws governing the acts in the judicial system (Ellsberg et.al, 2008). The law on protection from abuse is one of the regulations that have been adopted by the judicial systems to handle the issue of domestic violence. Prior to the adoption the regulation, the judicial system relied on the provisions of Sharia law on violence to guide them on the domestic violence cases. In the current context, the new law defines domestic violence as any actions that may cause bodily, emotional, psychological or sexual abuse as well as threats against other persons. The domestic violence offenders may be jailed for a period ranging from one year and the judge has the authority to double the punishment in cases of a repeated offense.
CHAPTER 3: METHODOLOGY
The review of literature on the impacts of domestic violence clearly shows that the area is still ripe for research. The study on the area will be useful to various institutions such as the government, the law makers and the public. The other researchers can benefit from the study by building up on the already researched areas. This implies that a high level of accuracy will be required so as to give the best results. In this chapter, the instruments used in data collection are identified and the data analysis techniques as well as the research design. The chapter also discusses the hypotheses, which will guide the data analysis.
The study will adopt a descriptive type of research design because of its conclusive nature. The aim of the study is to examine the impacts of the laws governing domestic violence and making a comparison about the judicial rulings in the United States and Saudi Arabia. This can only be possible using where the data is quantifiable. This is the primary reason that the study will adopt the descriptive research (Neuman, 2005). The study will use close-ended questions on questionnaires so as to avoid the instances of unique insights from the respondents that may interfere with interpretation of the data. The nature of the questions will also be useful for the online respondents. In addition, it will be easier to measure the respondent’s strength of opinion regarding aspects such as their attitude towards domestic violence. Using this type of design, it will be possible to identify the characteristics of the respondents such as their age and marital status.
Population and sampling procedure
To enhance the accuracy of results the study will use a population that is most affected by the domestic violence. Going by the review of the literature on the domestic violence and the impacts of its sanctions, the most affected population is the young adults aged between 19 and 35 years. Domestic violence affects the women and men equally thus the population of men and women included in the study will be the same. The sample population will therefore include 100 men and 100 women either married or the unmarried.
Most of the scholars who have written about domestic violence have used the questionnaires as their data collection method and the case in this study will not be different. The most crucial factor in using the questionnaires is the ability to collect large amounts of data. The study aims to collect large amount of data using both online and manual filling of the questionnaires. The close-ended questions used in the questionnaires will make it easy for the respondents to fill in the responses within the shortest time possible. The other major reason of using the questionnaires is the fact that it will be easy to quantify and analyze the data collected.
To enhance accuracy of the study results, there will be the use of computer program known as the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences. The data collected using the questionnaires will be supplemented with the secondary data collected from the review of academic journals, books and private and government agencies.
The reliability and generalization of the results is likely to be affected by several factors. The accuracy of the responses cannot be determined using the questionnaire because of absence of personal contact (Neuman, 2005). Some of the respondents involved in the study may be the primary offenders and this is likely to affect the accuracy of their responses. The fact that the study is carried out in a small population relative to global or national populations make it impossible to generalize the results.
Additional Resources needed to complete the Project
The availability of the required resources in projects is important in achieving the objectives of the study. The data collection will be done on questionnaires that will be filled manually or electronically through a website. In relation to this, there will be need to have laptops for the 50 respondents who will be required to use the online questionnaires. The provision of internet services will also be required to carry out the data collection exercise. The cost of printing the hard copy questionnaires is also a relevant consideration in additional cost. There are also travelling expenses since the data will be collected from different parts of the nation.
Bradley, F., Smith, M., Long, J., & O’Dowd, T. (2002). Reported frequency of domestic violence: cross sectional survey of women attending general practice. BMJ, 324(7332), 271.
Ellsberg, M., Jansen, H. A., Heise, L., Watts, C. H., & Garcia-Moreno, C. (2008). Intimate partner violence and women’s physical and mental health in the WHO multi-country study on women’s health and domestic violence: an observational study. The Lancet, 371(9619), 1165-1172.
Locke, L. M., & Richman, C. L. (1999). Attitudes toward domestic violence: Race and gender issues. Sex Roles, 40(3-4), 227-247.
Neuman, W. L. (2005). Social research methods: Quantitative and qualitative approaches (Vol. 13). Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
Riggs, D. S., Caulfield, M. B., & Street, A. E. (2000). Risk for domestic violence: Factors associated with perpetration and victimization. Journal of clinical psychology, 56(10), 1289-1316.
Straus, M. A., & Gelles, R. J. (1990). How violent are American families? Estimates from the National Family Violence Resurvey and other studies. Physical violence in American families: Risk factors and adaptations to violence in, 8(145), 95-112.
Summers, R. W., & Hoffman, A. M. (Eds.). (2002). Domestic violence: a global view. Greenwood Publishing Group.
Tjaden, P. G., & Thoennes, N. (2000). Extent, nature, and consequences of intimate partner violence: Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey (Vol. 181867). Washington, DC: National Institute of Justice.
Walby, S., Allen, J., & Simmons, J. (2004). Domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking: Findings from the British Crime Survey. London: Home Office Research, Development and Statistics Directorate.