Slow Economy Leads to Rise in Domestic Violence

By Saswat Pattanayak

As job losses increasingly become a norm, so does domestic violence. For the men who lose jobs what results is frustrations targeted at family; for women, it is dual oppression – at workplace and at home.

Bad economy is simply not bad for the country, it is sad for the family members who struggle to make ends meet in an increasingly controlled state of affairs in the country – a nation left at the mercy of private capital monopolists whose latest alibis for discriminations revolve around economic depression.

With the governments at both state and federal level washing their hands off from the responsibilities by sending funds across to the very same private concerns that are at the root cause of the greatest financial debacle of recent times, people have been rendered hapless, and clueless. Their anger unable to find an organized outlet (what with lack of employee unions or emancipated communities) is more than ever being misdirected towards the people they must support: their family. And as is the unwritten rule in households in a country increasingly sexist in conduct, the women are bound to bear the most grunt.

Women form the majority of employees who lose jobs routinely, and as a result, they also fall victim to their male counterparts at work, and home. The increasing number of domestic violence cases is alarming, to say the least. Speaking to KCTV 5, Candie Daniels, director of the Rose Brooks Center, said, “Women seeking (domestic violence) services has just skyrocketed in the last three months compared to this time last year.” If ten years ago the average cases of DV charges in Kansas City was 5,000 it is more than 10,000 now.

Similarly, in Rhode Island, the situation is worsening. Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence is facing economic hardships even as the felony cases have been increasing steadily. From their 2006 data, there has been an increase of 89 percent in recent years. In 2007 there were 169 felony domestic violence cases, in 2008 the number became 208. Annually, the combined total victims of domestic violence with criminal and restraining order cases hover around 7,700.

In Oshkosh, Wisconsin, the situation is quite similar. Christine Anne Domestic Abuse Services has witnessed the average length of stay for survivors in the shelter grow from 26 days in 2008 to 35 days in 2009. In the first quarter of this year, the agency has provided 259 clients with 1,515 hours of help compared to 235 clients with 1,254 hours in the first quarter of 2008. Within last year alone (since April 2008), 1,443 possible acts of domestic violence were reported. Police responded only to 448 of those. District Attorney’s office filed charges in 666 of these case. Yet another alarming trend in just one of the many cities.

Such trends can be easily duplicated everywhere in the country. And yet, the administration is virtually silent over the issue. Instead of treating domestic violence on women as a criminal issue deeply rooted with socio-economic problems afflicting the country, what we have been hearing over the years is a chorus of sympathetic waves towards the victims. Instead of conducting bloody wars with an aim to prevent future imaginative assaults on the power structure of America, the administration will do well to look inwards and notice the war within where the male powerfuls are continuously defeating the female initiatives. At work, and at home.