The negative impact of domestic violence goes beyond the uncontrollable rage of the perpetrator and the mental impairment or physical death of the victim. It creates a generation of adversely wired children, who struggle through life with serious psychological distress.


Whenever the issue of domestic abuse is raised, there is the tendency for people to focus mainly on domestic violence. However, domestic abuse includes any attempt in which a father, mother, brother, sister, husband, wife or someone with whom a person lives or is in an intimate relationship or marriage tries to control the other physically, sexually, financially or emotionally. The chances of a person becoming a victim of any kind of abuse is very high if they put up with an individual who displays such traits. This is more prevalent when a person is economically and emotionally dependent on the potential abuser, feels powerless in stopping such abuse or believes that jealousy is a proof of love and so forth.

While abuse can happen to anyone, women are markedly the most frequent victims and men are the most frequent perpetrators. But there are also instances where the reverse is the case. Domestic violence has many trigger points that include alcohol or substance abuse, mental illness, financial challenges, lack of love, understanding and communication and so many more. However, none of these factors is worth inflicting physical or emotional pain on another human being and definitely does not warrant the taking of human life.

The negative impact of domestic violence goes beyond the uncontrollable rage of the perpetrator and the mental impairment or physical death of the victim. It creates a generation of adversely wired children, who struggle through life with serious psychological distress. A child who grows up in a violently charged home, often sees life for what it is – hopeless, dangerous and worthless.

Nothing can take away a child’s innocence like watching his/her mother cry for help because she is being beaten by his/her father or a man. In the same vein, nothing can take a bite out of a little boy’s self-esteem or chase the angel out of a little girl as her mother berating, insulting, hounding or even physically abusing her father in her presence. The impact could be overwhelming and sadly very devastating.

Besides the physical harm that results from domestic violence, the real damage is the blow to the psychological well-being of the victims. No relationship is worth dying for it! I have heard women, in an attempt to justify their continued stay in an abusive relationship, say that they have invested so much in the relationship.


I have heard some people use just one factor to justify why they want to marry someone, such as: the sex is good (something to bear in mind for the future is this: at some point her sexual prowess slows down and his libido will begin to fade), he/she is good looking, he has money, she comes from a rich family, she has a good job, she knows how to cook, he lives overseas, he is cute, etc.

Something has to trigger the attraction that draws a person to another and it could be one of the aforementioned factors. However, once the initial attraction is used to establish contact, the next step should be to look for chemistry and compatibility. Since marriage is not a cakewalk, it is imperative that couples take time to date and get to know each other better before saying ‘I do.’ Some people change once they are married, but a violent person usually does not wait until marriage before giving signs of what s/he is capable of doing.

Violent persons often give subtle hints in the form of control, manipulation, angry outbursts, mood swings and many more before they morph into full blown physical abusers. While some people try so hard to hide their violent tendencies, the character trait manifests when least expected. A non-violent person, on the other hand, does not acquire the killer venom overnight. Such behaviour or character shift takes time to get acquired and often, it is not carried through.

Besides the physical harm that results from domestic violence, the real damage is the blow to the psychological well-being of the victims. No relationship is worth dying for it! I have heard women, in an attempt to justify their continued stay in an abusive relationship, say that they have invested so much in the relationship. Note that sometimes, investments do not yield the desired outcome and should not warrant the life of an investor going with it. A relationship is built through open communication and sustained trust. It is imperative that people communicate with their potential partners what they are bringing into a relationship and what they expect in return.

As a good coping mechanism, in the heat of the moment, take a deep breath, walk away from an argument if it becomes emotionally or verbally abusive, talk to someone you trust, pray in your heart and seek professional help. Say no to domestic violence!


Apart from the physical and mental pain that adult victims feel, as well as the justification perpetrators may have for inflicting pain, the real damage from domestic violence is done to the children who are witnesses to it and did not ask to be born in such unhealthy environments. It is out of the desire and interest of the two adults that the children were born. As such, it is unfair to saddle them with such heavy and excruciating burdens. Children who grow up in violently charged homes often leave with regrets, low senses of self-worth or even mental health challenges.

Adults should know that their actions at home impact on children for good or for bad. A man or woman who thinks he or she must stay in an abusive relationship or marriage because of the children, could be facilitating a more prolonged psychological trauma for the children. Men who go through abuse, may hide it due to shame, if they open up to someone. No reason is enough for one to accept mental or physical death in a relationship.

There is no relationship devoid of challenges and there is no marriage free of problems. Communication should be the starting point in the process of resolving relationship or marriage problems. However, there are instances where people build barriers against communication in their relationships from the start, which is a recipe for disaster, leading to violence.

As a good coping mechanism, in the heat of the moment, take a deep breath, walk away from an argument if it becomes emotionally or verbally abusive, talk to someone you trust, pray in your heart and seek professional help. Say no to domestic violence!

Chinna Okoroafor, a licensed psychotherapist writes about behavioral health, mental health and social issues.