11 Unknown Impacts of Domestic Violence on Children

Domestic violence (KDRT) is a variety of actions against family members, especially women that result in negative effects on Yusnita's physical, psychological, and sexual conditions (2018). Some people only know that domestic violence is violence that is shown only physically. However, domestic violence can also be in the form of neglect, threats, coercion, or deprivation of rights which are included in violence against a person's psychology.

The World Health Organization states that violence against children is an act of physical, emotional, sexual abuse or unpleasant treatment, neglect of child care, and exploitation for the commercial interests of certain parties. Therefore, domestic violence can cause various negative impacts on the lives, security, and welfare of children.

Domestic violence that occurs can have an impact on children either directly or indirectly. The direct impact means that the child actually feels the violence from other family members. While the indirect impact means that the child does not accept violence, but he sees or hears his family members committing domestic violence to other family members.

Broadly speaking, the impact of domestic violence on children is divided into three types, namely the impact of physical violence, the impact of psychological violence, and the impact of social violence. The following is the impact of domestic violence on children according to more detail, including:

1. Changes in physical condition or body organs

Physical violence can cause pain and scars in children. For example, bruises, bumps, burns, or even bigger impacts such as disability.

2. Loss of trust in others

Usually, children are abused or abused by an older family member, such as a father, mother, uncle, or aunt. This can also change the pattern of thinking that adults will always do evil to him so that the child loses trust and also a sense of security.

3. Moral development is hampered

There are three levels with six stages of moral development according to Lawrence Kohlberg. Moral development is very important and has a relationship with the cognitive development of children. If in the process there are disturbances (in this case because of domestic violence), then the morals formed in children may not be in accordance with the next stages. In the long run, this will most likely affect the morale of the child when he grows up. An example is the lack of empathy and compassion when someone else feels something painful.

4. There is an opportunity for children to commit acts of violence

Children have simple minds because they do not have maximum cognitive development. Everything he sees, hears, and experiences as a child is very likely to influence how he behaves and how he thinks in the next phase of development. Violence against children may lead the child to commit the same violence as an adult. In addition, children may also commit other immoral acts, such as being rude to others.

5. Feelings of inferiority and shame

Domestic violence in a family can make children lose self-efficacy and create shame. He may hear ridicule or insults from others because his family did something bad. In addition, if the child receives physical abuse, there may be scars on his body that make him feel ashamed and want to always close himself off from the social environment.

6. Sexual behavior disorders

Children who experience domestic violence in the form of sexual violence can lead to sexual problems. On the one hand, the treatment that children receive can make it difficult for them to have sexual relations when they are adults because of negative feelings when they were young. On the other hand, children may actually feel that the violence is a form of self-gratification because they do not understand what really happened. Children can also feel that they do not have self-respect and honor anymore so that others are free to treat themselves.

7. Impaired brain growth

The condition of the brain at the age of a child is still very flexible because he has not used his brain functions fully, only on simple things. Children who have experienced violence will focus their brain function to survive and respond to the violence they feel. One of the effects of violence on the brain and body functions lies in the secretion of the hormone cortisol, which actually functions to help the body prepare for stress through metabolism and the immune system. Perpetrators of violence have a more dominant brain stem and midbrain, while the limbic and cortex, which is the site of emotional and thought regulation, are weaker.

8. Decreased learning achievement

Bad experiences of domestic violence experienced by children directly or indirectly can affect their lives, including reducing learning achievement. Children may find it difficult to focus when studying because of negative thoughts in their heads. In addition, the child may also show a tendency to bad behavior such as truancy, stealing, being rude which can cause him to lose his learning achievement. Research in America also shows that children who have been abused by their parents have lower IQs.

9. Anxiety

When a child feels that something bad has happened to him, it will be easier for him to feel anxious because he is worried that he will get the same treatment next time. Stigma from society that assumes children who experience domestic violence as adults will be the same as their parents can also cause children to feel anxious.

10. Trauma

If domestic violence becomes a traumatic event, children can experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This trauma begins with excessive fear and lasts a long time. The trauma experienced during childhood has an influence on his personality until he is an adult because it is quite difficult to get rid of it, especially if it does not get treatment

11. Difficult to live daily life

Bad conditions after experiencing domestic violence can change a child's life to be abnormal. Children can have disorders such as mental disorders, personality, mental, and so on which of course have the potential to interfere with the child's physical condition as well. The social environment that labels the child with negative things also makes it difficult for the child to have a safe and peaceful life.

Such is the impact of domestic violence on children. As parents, both from the family and as members of the community, we must make every effort to prevent children from experiencing harmful effects so that the above impacts can be minimized.

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