Women Victims of Domestic Violence Have Been Increasing for 19 Consecutive Years and the Report Shows the Sad Reality. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Women Victims of Domestic Violence Have Been Increasing for 19 Consecutive Years and the Report Shows the Sad Reality.

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Many women have nowhere to go when they leave home to escape their partner’s fierce domestic violence.

A woman with mild mental disabilities living in eastern Japan was confined to her apartment by her husband, who was one year older than her, for roughly 10 years after they married at the age of 20.

She was not allowed to leave the apartment without her husband’s permission and had to use honorific language when speaking to him. Her husband would violate her and play with her sexually whenever he felt like it. If he didn’t like something, he would take away her food for two or three days.

It was not until she was over 30 years old that she was taken into custody. When asked why she did not run away during that time, she said

I thought I couldn’t live [outside] because I didn’t have any money. I thought that if I went outside, I would have to die. That’s what my husband told me.

She was mentally dominated by her husband, and she could do nothing but stay by his side with such feelings.

“Young Homeless,” a series that follows the generation of young people who have lost their homes, has often featured people who have lost their homes due to domestic violence by their spouses. However, society does not provide sufficient support to help victims.

More than 73% of victims are women.

Some women sell their bodies on the streets at night because they are in need of a place to go and money.

This is a deficiency in Japan’s domestic violence support. We would like to shed light on the problems of those who fall into this category.

Last year, the number of DV consultations received by the police reached 84,496, an increase for the 19th consecutive year; DV is a term that refers to spousal or partner violence, and 73.1% of the victims are women.

DV itself has been occurring for a long time, as depicted in historical dramas. In the course of time, it gradually came to be recognized as a social problem, and in 2001, the “Law for the Prevention of Spousal Violence and the Protection of Victims (DV Prevention Law)” was enacted.

With the enactment of the law, the momentum to protect victims of domestic violence spread throughout Japan. Consultation services were set up by public and private organizations, and a system was established to provide temporary shelter and other forms of protection for victims, leading to social independence.

Nevertheless, even after the enactment of the Law for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, many cases continue to occur. Why is this? One reason is that domestic violence has changed in recent years.

Endo of Jikka, which supports women victims of domestic violence

Yoshiko Endo, the head of Kunitachi Yume Farm Jikka, a non-profit organization that provides support to victims of domestic violence, says, “In the past, domestic violence was mostly physical violence such as punching and kicking.”

However, with the enactment of the Law for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, society became more aware that spousal violence is wrong, and this has led to an increase in verbal DV, which is a form of mental abuse that drives spouses away.

Specifically, yelling at one’s spouse, saying degrading words, denying living expenses, and forcing one to engage in sexual acts that one does not want to engage in. This has increased the tendency to dominate the psyche through words rather than violence.”

Domestic violence is classified into four main categories: physical DV, psychological DV, economic DV, and sexual DV. One of the characteristics of recent years is that the percentage of non-physical DV has been increasing.

Incidentally, this also applies to child abuse from parents to children and bullying between children. At home, verbal psychological abuse has increased due to the strict prohibition of parental violence and corporal punishment, and bullying has increased in schools due to the strict control of school violence.

“You can see the stupidity rubbing off on the kids.”

Jikka supports women victims of domestic violence.

What the government is doing is not a cause treatment, but a symptomatic treatment on the top. Hence, suppressing one will only cause another problem to appear.

Some readers may think that this is a good thing because it has reduced physical DV. This is a big mistake.

The reduction in physical violence may indeed have reduced the immediate threat to the victim’s life. However, the psychological damage can be more difficult to deal with when considering the rest of one’s life.

One of the women I interviewed was a woman named Ami. She married a 38-year-old man when she was 19. She had a child the following year, and although she did her best to raise her child and take care of the house, it was not enough for her husband. Her husband would verbally push her to the edge.

He would say to her, “Don’t talk inside the house, you idiot. You’ll pass your stupidity on to the children.”

I don’t like it when I see your ugly face. When I’m home, hide in the bathroom.

If you can’t even make money, you don’t deserve to eat the same food as me. Bread for breakfast, lunch, and dinner is enough for you.

These words were hurled at her dozens of times a day. The more she was abused, the more her sense of self-denial grew, and she began to think that she was a worthless person who had no business being alive. She became mentally ill and attempted suicide several times.

A handmade section set up in “Jikka”

Eventually, she was taken into custody with the intervention of medical institutions and the local government. However, the psychological scars that were once etched into her mind cannot be said to have been undone, and more than 15 years later, she is still unable to even work with a sick mind.

In this way, psychological DV can tear a victim’s heart to pieces and even drive her to death.

Why does domestic violence occur, by the way? Endo, who mentioned earlier, says the following about cases where men are the perpetrators and women are the victims:

In Japan, there is still an air of patriarchy. The idea is that the family is maintained by the man holding power and providing for his wife and children. However, due to the current recession in Japanese society, it is becoming harder and harder for men to maintain a family on their own, and they are under a lot of pressure.

If men in Japanese society were to proud to say, “I can’t do it alone. I’m sorry, let’s work together.” But because there is no such atmosphere, men are at their limits, and they blame their wives for their stress. Even for women, not all of them are able to play an active role in society and not depend on men, or are able to do their household chores perfectly.

There are a certain number of women who, due to their natural characteristics, personalities, and upbringing, are unable to raise a family or spend time with others. But these women are also forced to play the role of a good wife in the patriarchal system. That doesn’t work out well, does it? The husband’s frustration can turn into domestic violence against the woman at this time.

Inadequate Relief System

Jikka warmly welcomes women victims of domestic violence.

Among the women who have actually been victims of domestic violence, there are a certain number of women with intellectual disabilities, developmental disabilities, and mental illnesses, such as the woman mentioned above. In this series of articles [ Women in Maternal and Child Living Assistance “Neglected and Lost” Childhood], we have seen that more than half of the women who are victims of domestic violence fall into this category, depending on the maternal and child living assistance facility.

Of course, the majority of women should be able to maintain a respectable family despite such characteristics. However, focusing on DV victims highlights that such women are at a greater disadvantage.

Despite this, Japanese society does not have a system in place to successfully help these women. How did this happen?

Part 2: Supporters Reveal Groundbreaking Independence Method for Victims of Domestic Violence” will discuss the reality of what is happening in the field of helping victims of domestic violence.

Part 2: Supporters Reveal Groundbreaking Independence Method for Victims of Domestic Violence

  • Interview, text, and photos Kota Ishii

    Born in Tokyo in 1977. Nonfiction writer. He has reported and written about culture, history, and medicine in Japan and abroad. His books include "Absolute Poverty," "The Body," "The House of 'Demons'," "43 Killing Intent," "Let's Talk about Real Poverty," "Social Map of Disparity and Division," and "Reporto: Who Kills Japanese Language Ability?

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