Rising to the challenge: Laws against domestic violence in the U.S.A
Although domestic violence, in its formal definition, does not specify a particular gender, it is not an unsubstantiated fact that women suffer more from domestic violence than men. It is not a culture-specific phenomenon, although today, certain cultures are more tolerant of abuse than others. The global bent of mind has always been slightly patriarchal in nature. Women were assumed to be the “weaker sex” on account of their physical lack of strength, and were routinely beaten up, or tortured in different ways by their partners. Up until the end of the nineteenth century, the fact that a woman was getting beaten up by a man was not something which had provoked a lot of outrage. However, times were changing fast, and a new world order was coming to stand, where educated woman were asserting their right to be treated with dignity, respect and equality.
In the U.S, it started with wife-beating getting banned in the state of Tennessee in 1850. Soon, the concept of a woman wanting to be separated from her husband also took roots, and laws also began to be set-up regarding the mistreatment of women by their husbands/partners. There exist, in the U.S, some very comprehensive laws today, which not only take stringent measures against people who cause domestic violence, but these laws also ensure that the small practices which ultimately lead to domestic violence, are discouraged.
One of the most substantive of these laws is the cluster of acts called the Violence Against Women Act. First established in 1994, the law was revised in 2000, as well as 2005, to make it more up to date and comprehensive. The VAWA covers not just domestic violence, but also other aspects such as stalking, violence against women who are dating as well as sexual abuse. This law has managed to control the number of domestic violence cases, because of the comprehensive acts which are incorporated within it.
The DELTA program is another very important initiative which goes beyond the surface factors and instead, focuses upon the root causes which lead to the perpetuation of such violence amongst couples. The program seeks to address the core issues which cause domestic violence, and to fix them, so as to not have it grow in society.
There are other laws too, which facilitate the prevention of domestic violence, and the punishment of the people who are guilty of indulging in this heinous activity. The FVPSA or the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act has been established to provide relief measures to victims of domestic violence, and mental, financial and other kinds of support which the victim may need. The Domestic Violence Offender Gun Ban also seeks to prevent the escalation of violence by not allowing offenders to use guns or even carry them.
Apart from these federal laws and programs which are sponsored by the government, there are many more non-governmental organizations which seek to eradicate this issue from society itself, and there are different state-based laws in the U.S against the phenomenon of domestic violence. The country also has a very good support structure to aid the victims in many different ways. Such measures and such comprehensive laws as well as their execution are the signs of a nation which is growing in conscience as well as economy and infrastructure.