Effect of Domestic Violence on Teens in the African American Community
Effectof Domestic Violence on Teens in the African American Community
Effectof Domestic Violence on Teens in the African American Community
Conflictsin social as well as professional settings are common, but theiroutcomes depend on the strategies used to manage them. A poormanagement of conflicts that occur with the family settings resultsin domestic violence, which affects members in different ways. Theterm domestic violence is used to describe a pattern of behaviorsthat involves physical assault, sexual abuse, intimidation, andbattery by an intimate partner (Davies & Lyon, 2013). It is aglobal pandemic that affects all people, irrespective of theirdemographic as well as social characteristics, such as age, race,nationality, and religion (Chaudhy, 2014). However, its impacts canvary from one group to another. This paper will address the effectsof domestic violence on teens in the African American community. Thekey school-based interventions (including the student supportservices, classroom curriculum instructions, and home-communitylinkage) that can be used to assist the vulnerable teens and theirparent will be recommended.
Domesticviolence is a common phenomenon, but its prevalence is determined bydifferent factors, including the race. One study has shown that aboutfour in every 10 black women in the U.S. become victims of stalking,rape, physical abuse, and other forms of violence that result fromtheir intimate partners each year (Domestic Shelter Organization,2015). The same study indicated that about 38.6 % of the AfricanAmerican men suffer from at least one form of domestic violence intheir lifetime. The high prevalence of incidents of violence thatoccur in the homes of African Americans indicates that teens fromthis community are likely to be affected more than their age matesfrom other races.
Currently,it is known that one in every five teens in the U.S. is exposed todomestic violence in lifetime (DSO, 2015). This data does notindicate the racial disparity of the effects of home-based violencein the U.S. However, the fact that African American families areaffected disproportionately suggests that teens from this communityare at high risk of being impacted by domestic violence.
Thepopulation addressed in this paper is comprised of the AfricanAmerican teenagers, who are affected by incidents of violence thathappen within the home settings in different ways. This is apopulation of young people aged between 13 and 19 years. The factthat at least one in every five black women and 38 % of the AfricanAmerican men living in the U.S. are impacted by domestic violence atleast once in their lifetime is a clear indication of the teenagerswho live under the care of these adults are likely to suffer indifferent ways (DSO, 2015). They are highly exposed to violence,given that more than 62 % of all cases of abuse by intimate partnerstake place within the home settings (DSO, 2015). The high risk ofexposure makes it necessary to study how this vulnerable populationis affected by domestic violence.
Astudy of the effects of domestic violence on African American teensis important because its findings will indicate areas of the existingprograms that need to be adjusted in order to protect this vulnerablepopulation. These findings will facilitate an improvement on theprogram developed by the National Coalition against DomesticViolence, which is a public organization that seeks to reduce theprevalence of incidents of aggression in families.
Effectsof Domestic Violence on African American Teens
Anyincident that involves violence and victimization can lead to adversepsychological outcomes in teens. However, the effects are morepronounced when victimization as well as violence involves parents,who are expected to provide protection for their children. Studieshave shown that teens from families that experience frequentincidents of domestic violence are at a higher risk of suffering fromdepression and anxiety compared to their counterparts from stablehomes (Antai, Oke, Braithwaite & Lopez, 2014). This is commonwhen parents fight in the presence of the teens. A repeated exposureto serious incidents of domestic violence can lead to complicatedpsychological conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder(Fairbrook, 2013).
Therelationship between these psychological effects and domesticviolence is attributed to the loss of affectionate as well as atrustworthy relation that exists between parents and their children.This loss leads to the development of the sense of helplessness,isolation, and one’s doubt of self-worth (McFarlane, Younger,Francis, Gordon-Strachan & Wilks, 2013). Teens from the affectedfamilies tend to feel helpless when they develop a perception thatparents who resolve their issues through violence cannot guaranteetheir safety and provision. In addition, the association betweendomestic violence and psychological disorders is attributed to thefact that teens from the affected families witness at least one oftheir parents getting injured, sexually assaulted, physically abused,and thrown out of the house.
Parentsin families that experience cases of domestic violence frequentlyalso suffer from psychological disorders that trickle down to theirteens. For example, these parents suffer from emotional numbness,trauma, and depression (Voisin, Hotton & Schneider, 2014). Thislimits their capacity to provide their teens with emotionalconnection that they require in order to achieve the desiredpsychological development. It exacerbates the psychological sufferingof the children who perceive that they are living in an environmentthat is full of fear and tension.
Domesticviolence and development of aggressive behavior
Beingbrought up in a family where domestic violence is a common phenomenoncan subject the teens to the risk of developing aggressive behavior,just like their parents. An exposure to domestic violence leads tothe development of aggressive behavior because it makes the teensbelieve that the use of force is the most effective way of addressingconflicts (Martsolf, Colbert & Draucker, 2012). The developmentof aggressive behavior among these teens is seen in the way theyinteract with their peers and resolve disagreements that theyencounter in their day-to-day life. For example, studies have shownthat teen dating violence is more likely to occur among the AfricanAmerican teenagers who come from families that experience cases ofdomestic violence than their counterparts from stable homes or otherraces (Martsolf, Colbert & Draucker, 2012). The teen datingviolence serves as an indication of the fact that the affectedindividuals tend to treat their lovers in the same way as they sawtheir parents deal with each other. This aggressive behaviorcontinues to develop in other phases of human development.
Thedevelopment of criminal behavior among African American teens
Domesticviolence is a significant risk factor for the development of criminalbehavior among teens. Most types of crimes require aggressivebehavior, which development is boosted by one’s exposure todomestic violence. The affected teens start engaging in criminalbehaviors by bullying their peers in schools (Henry & Zeytinoglu,2012). These teens find satisfaction by using violence to harasstheir peers. This kind of behavior can be attributed to thepsychological damage that affects teenagers who are brought up byviolent parents. It is more common when teens are implicated in theviolence between their parents. The teens are also likely to engagein fights with other children over trivial issues. This type ofbehavior escalates to more serious type of crime, such as sexualassault. This occurs in teenagers who witnessed their parents beingassaulted.
Inaddition, frequent exposure to domestic violence increases theprobability of abusing drugs. There is a general misconception thataddictive substances are effective tools that help people managestress as well as depression. A large number of the teens fromfamilies that are characterized by frequent incidents of violencesuffer from depression and emotional numbness (Henry &Zeytinoglu, 2012). These teenagers are at higher risk of abusingsubstances (such as alcohol) with an excuse that they are trying toforget the hardships that they experience in their home. The use ofsubstances that are readily available subjects them to the risk ofusing hard or illegal drugs (such as cocaine and heroin), which leadsto their conflict with the law. The link between domestic violenceand the probability of abusing substances has been confirmed by datashowing that most of the African American youths abuse drugs becausethey lack opportunities in the community and the fact they areexposed to violence (Bell-Tlliver, Kramer, Lynch & Small, 2012).Aggression within the family settings is among the major sources ofviolence that contribute towards substance abuse. The use ofsubstances increases the probability of engaging in other types ofviolent crimes.
Theeffect of domestic violence on the academic performance
Theacademic performance of the African American teenagers who havesuffered from domestic violence is also affected. The affectedstudents lose concentration in class, which makes a significantcontribution towards a decline in their performance (Devaney, 2015).Although most learning takes place at school, there is a lot ofacademic work (including assignment) that student are expected to doat home. Domestic violence does not create an environment that canfacilitate learning, which puts the affected African Americans at adisadvantage compared to their counterparts from stable families.From the developmental perspective, domestic violence limits growthof one’s cognitive capacity, which reduces the ability to learn.Most importantly, students who are traumatized as a result ofexperiencing domestic violence are likely to score less marks inacademic tests compared to the rest of the learners (Devaney, 2015).Therefore, the psychological suffering that is associated withdomestic violence reduces the academic performance of the affectedteens.
Effectof domestic violence on the development of social skills
Violencein the domestic settings has significant effects on the ability ofthe teens to socialize with their peers. The experiences that teensfrom the affected African American families go through limit theircapacity to develop psychosocial skills. The association between thetwo variables can be attributed to different factors. For example,studies have shown that teenagers who are brought up in domesticsettings that are characterized by frequent incidents of violence are187 % more likely to develop internalizing problems (National Councilof Juvenile and Family Court Judges, 2015). Internalization is a typeof social disorder that is characterized by the tendency of theaffected persons to keep their problems to themselves. In the case ofdomestic violence, teens feel ashamed of what happens in their homes,which makes them fear interacting with other children. This reducestheir self-esteem with time, and eventually limits their capacity toestablish social interactions with their age mates and otherstudents. This problem can persist to later stages of development.
Domesticviolence causes homelessness among the African American teens
Homelessnessis a common problem that affects all people, but African Americansare impacted disproportionately. Domestic violence is one of the keyfactors that have contributed towards this disproportionate effect.Studies have shown that domestic violence ranks the third in the listof the major causes of homelessness in the U.S. (Moylan, Herronkohl,Sousa, Tajima, Herrenkohl & Russo, 2012). Unfortunately, there isa high probability that people who are evicted from home whenviolence takes place are women and children. This implies that teensfrom the African American community are at an extremely high risk ofsuffering from homelessness as a result of the violence that takesplace in their homes. This phenomenon explains why these teens areoverrepresented in the population of street families (Moylan etal.,2012). They are likely to drop out of school once they are thrown outof home.
Healtheffects of domestic violence
Inmost cases, domestic violence involves two lovers. However, there areinstances when kids are caught in the middle and end up sufferingfrom physical injuries (Moylan etal.,2012). For example, physical violence that takes place inside thehouse can cause injuries to teens and other children. However, mostof the teenagers sustain physical injuries as they try to protecttheir mothers from violent fathers. Although there are no specificdata to show the amount of money spent in treating teenagers who areinjured during domestic violence, the existing research findingsindicate that about $ 4.1 billion is used every year in the U.S. topay for medical bills for the management of physical as well aspsychological conditions that result from domestic violence (DSO,2015). This data show that violence that occurs in the domesticsettings has significant health effects that cost the affectedfamilies a lot of money.
Recommendationsfor Improvement in the NCADV’s Program
Thecurrent program for prevention as well as the management of cases ofdomestic violence has many weaknesses that limit its capacity toaddress issues affecting the African American teens. The NCADV’sprogram seeks to drive change through the development of publicpolicies on domestic violence and educating members of the society(National Coalition against Domestic Violence, 2017). This programtargets adults and the U.S. population in general without takingaccount of the demographic differences. Although the program wasdesigned to provide support to victims as well as survivors ofdomestic violence in the U.S. its components cannot help the agencymanage the aforementioned effects of the menace on the AfricanAmerican teens. Therefore, this study recommends three school-basedinterventions that should be integrated into NCADV’s program inorder to enhance its capacity to address specific issues affectingthe vulnerable population of African American teens.
Classroomor Curriculum Instructions
Ithas been proven that African American teenagers who live in homeswhere domestic violence is a common phenomenon are at a high risk ofdeveloping aggressive behaviors (NCDV, 2015). This challenge can beaddressed through a school-based intervention that involves thedelivery of classroom instructions on how to manage conflicts. Thisintervention is founded on the theory that violence is a product ofbehavioral choices. Consequently, the risk of adopting aggressivebehaviors among the African Americans can be minimized through aneducational curriculum that provides members of this vulnerablepopulation with non-violent options for effective management ofdifferences that they encounter in social as well as professionalsettings. This curriculum should be developed in a manner that willmake it possible to equip the targeted youths with different skills,such as critical thinking, communication, and problem solving.
Theintegration of the student support services into a program that hasbeen designed to manage the effects of domestic violence can beeffective in helping teens from the African American community tomake healthy choices. Studies have established a link between theexposure of these teens to domestic violence and the probability ofmaking unhealthy choices, such as substance abuse and the adoption ofcriminal behaviors (NCDV, 2015). Some of the most effective studentsupport services include peer counseling and mentoring. Theeffectiveness of these strategies is attributed to the fact that theyprovide the affected teens with an opportunity to discuss incidentsof violence that they have experienced in life with people that theycan trust. Therefore, they are empowered to overcome the challenge ofinternalization of their experiences with the issue of domesticviolence. For an instant, the mentoring program will help the teensinteract with positive adults who will enable them to find value inschool, learn strategies that can help them avoid violence, and workhard in order to excel in school as well as life in general. Althoughthe student support programs should be developed by the schools,their implementation can take place outside the classroom settings.
Homeand community linkage
Thefact that more than 62 % of all incidents of domestic violence takeplace in homes (DSO, 2015) makes it necessary to create a platform onwhich parents can be included in the school-initiated programs forviolence prevention. The first two interventions (including thestudent support services and classroom curriculum instructions) aredesigned to empower students to manage conflicts effectively and makehealthy choices in life. However, there is a risk that theseinterventions may not work since the students go back to their homeswhere they continue being exposed to domestic violence. Thischallenge can be addressed through the collaboration between theschool administrators and parents. This collaboration seeks toempower parents who are expected to provide guidance to their teensand create a safe environment that can facilitate their successfuldevelopment. For example, the establishment of a school-communitytask force will lead to the identification of families that areaffected by domestic violence, with the objective of equipping theparents with the skills that they required to resolve their disputespeacefully. This will go a long way in creating a safe environment inwhich teens from black families will lead a fulfilling life.
Domesticviolence is quite common in all continents, but there are somecommunities that are affected more than others. For example, there isa high probability of aggressive behaviors being observed in theAfrican American families compared to other races. Consequently,teens from the African American families are more exposed to domesticviolence than their counterparts from other races. The existingprograms that have been developed to facilitate the prevention ofdomestic violence and manage its effects rarely address the uniquechallenges that African American teens face. These programs can beimproved through the integration of school-based interventions. Someof the most successful school-based interventions should include thestudent support services, classroom curriculum instructions, andhome-community linkage. The integration of these interventions willresult in the empowerment of the vulnerable teens to manage theeffects of domestic violence and enable parents to establish a safeenvironment for their children.
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