Table of contents:
- Domestic violence is a complex and frightening phenomenon. Difficult because it can take different forms, not all of which can be recognized even by the victim, not to mention bystanders. And this "invisibility" makes him especially scary. It is precisely this "hidden" embodiment of violence that neglect is
- What is neglect manifested in?
- Why is neglect dangerous?
- How to overcome?
Video: Ignorance: Hidden Violence - Society
Domestic violence is a complex and frightening phenomenon. Difficult because it can take different forms, not all of which can be recognized even by the victim, not to mention bystanders. And this "invisibility" makes him especially scary. It is precisely this "hidden" embodiment of violence that neglect is
"Neglect" in English means "neglect, failure to fulfill one's duty." Most often in the English-language scientific literature, this concept is used in the context of parent-child relations, meaning by it the neglect on the part of adults of the physical or emotional needs of the child, leading to chronic disorders of his bodily or psychological health 1.
Some authors, however, rightly point out that neglect as a form of violence can be applied to other categories of people in a vulnerable state: old people 2, pregnant women 3, sick 4, etc. Moreover, neglect can exist as a form of auto-aggression, that is, used by a person in relation to himself 5.
What is neglect manifested in?
In the most general sense, neglect is a situation in which a person who has assumed obligations towards a person dependent on him systematically fails to fulfill these obligations 6. Researchers identify several forms of this phenomenon:
- physical neglect - leaving a dependent person in a situation of real danger (for example, if parents living with a small child regularly forget to close the windows in an apartment on the sixteenth floor);
- emotional neglect - ignoring the emotional needs of an addict (for example, when the doctor refuses to provide the woman in labor with privacy during a vaginal examination and conducts the procedure in an open office);
- medical neglect - insufficient provision of a dependent person with medical care, prevention and treatment of diseases (for example, if adult children do not buy prescribed medicines for parents who are bedridden);
- neglect in the field of psychological health - the systematic failure to comply with the recommendations of a psychologist or psychotherapist working with a child or an adult in a vulnerable situation (for example, when a grandmother, visiting her grandchild suffering from hyperactivity, regularly shames and scolds the child, inviting parents to "re-educate" him with the help of assault);
- educational neglect - an explicit or implicit obstacle to an addicted person's education (for example, if the father of a young child categorically forbids his wife to invite a nanny so that she can take refresher courses to restore her skills after maternity leave).
All these forms have common features by which one can distinguish neglect from ordinary inattention or defending one's own boundaries:
- Consistency. Failure to fulfill obligations can be presented as "accidental" (forgot, distracted, did not know what it was necessary to do), but under various pretexts it is repeated from time to time.
- Damage to the victim. An addicted person - be it a child, a young mother, an elderly person or a person with a disability - suffers tangible damage, expressed in poor health, accumulating stress, limited opportunities for development and communication with the outside world, etc.
- Shifting responsibility. The negligee most often does not recognize his own role in causing damage to the victim, preferring to blame the victim or others for his inaction (“what, couldn’t remind you?” etc.)
Why is neglect dangerous?
Typically, "quiet" violence is the first step towards more violent forms of abuse. A victim who is constantly told that her needs are not important, her dreams are laughable, and her efforts are insufficient, gradually loses faith in herself, accepting neglect as the norm. This, in turn, has a number of serious consequences 7:
- deterioration in health due to the inability to receive medical care, chronic stress and stress;
- the habit of "not noticing" one's own problems, designated by the neglect as "unimportant", "not worth attention";
- social isolation, inability to realize oneself personally, creatively and professionally due to insufficient material and emotional resources;
- financial and emotional dependence, developing according to the principle of the "Stockholm syndrome";
- launching a "chain of violence" against the weaker, when neglect is perceived as a norm of communication and is "transmitted", for example, from parents to children, and then is repeated in their own families of grown children;
- psychological disorders and suicide as an extreme form of autoaggression that develops as a result of a long stay in a traumatic situation.
Resisting non-intelligence is quite difficult for two reasons:
- Firstly, its level grows gradually: it is rather difficult to track when an innocent habit of “not noticing” minor inconveniences like dust on shelves or lack of ready-made food turns into a complete refusal to invest in family life under the motto “you need to, you do it”.
- Secondly, it is most vividly revealed precisely in those periods when the victim is in a situation dependent on the neglector and cannot provide his needs on his own due to age, illness, the need to care for the baby, etc. The victim's lack of resources simultaneously becomes and "Trigger" for "hidden violence", and the reason why it cannot break out of the vicious circle of addiction.
How to overcome?
The most sensible, but alas, not always possible way to get rid of violence is to "lay a straw" and have a backup plan in case the person who agreed to provide for your well-being during a difficult period suddenly changes his mind. Such a "straw" can be, for example, one's own premarital home; a profession that allows you to work remotely; financial "safety cushion"; contacts of a competent lawyer, etc.
The fewer “leverage” a partner has and the more equal (not only in words, but also in the real distribution of resources and responsibilities) the relationship is, the less likely it is to develop neglect.
However, the most important resource is social connections, which provide an objective assessment of the situation and, if required, the necessary assistance. Supportive family, friends and girlfriends, and the professional community can act as a bridge to build up assets and escape violent relationships. It is worth remembering that asking for and accepting help is not a shame, but absolutely normal - just like “washing dirty linen in public”, trying to figure out what is happening in a relationship with a partner. By uniting, we can become a support for each other, which means we can overcome even the most serious difficulties.
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- Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect et al. The role of the pediatrician in recognizing and intervening on behalf of abused women // Pediatrics. - 1998. - V. 101. - No. 6. - P. 1091-1092. - URL: pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/pediatrics/101/6/1091.full.pdf (date accessed: 16.10.2019).
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- Erickson MF et al. Child neglect // The APSAC handbook on child maltreatment. - 2002. - V. 2. - P. 3-20. - URL: us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/the-apsac-handbook-on-child-maltreatment/book248783 (date accessed: 2019-16-10).
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