Domestic abuse is often perceived by society as a form of physical violence against another person in the family. However, this article seeks to debunk that myth and to inform that abuse can also include psychological abuse and it may occur to both married and unmarried couples. Furthermore, it suggests that the possibility of being a victim of physical or psychological abuse cuts across the education level and socio-economic status of a person.
To combat the forms of abuse mentioned above, the article acknowledges the government’s recent proposal to amend the Protection from Harassment Act (POHA) and the requirements for Personal Protection Order (PPO) to better protect victims of domestic abuse.
The article further highlights the growing numbers of psychological and emotional abuse cases in Singapore. It suggests that this growth is due to greater awareness and education of the issue as women are increasingly better equipped to identify whether they are in an abusive relationship. Furthermore, with the advances of technology and social media, the article warns that psychological abuse has evolved to be more sophisticated whilst causing ever damaging effects to their victims and their daily lives.
Read the full article on Today Online:
With shifting attitudes of marriage in Singapore, it is conceivable that there will be a greater number of unmarried victims of domestic abuse. Hence, the publication of the article alone should be lauded as it provides greater awareness and education to the different forms of domestic abuse in Singapore and how victims can respond should they find themselves trapped in an abusive relationship.
The proposals suggested by the government should also be applauded as not only will they provide recourse for victims for all forms of abuses but also strive to ensure that intimate dating couples have an equal level of protection under the law as married couples.
However, despite the pertinent concerns raised by the article in respect of psychological abuse and its damaging effects, the article fails to acknowledge how these proposals may be insufficient to protect victims of psychological abuse.
Victims of psychological harm often suffer from an ‘invisible’ type of harm which is not apparent, nor will it be sufficient grounds for the police to undertake any action against their abusers. Therefore, should the victims wish to seek any recourse, they will have to do so by either filing a PPO or POHA application with the courts. Despite this, due to the level of legal costs and complexity required in filing such an application, victims may be deterred against taking any form of personal actions against their abusers as identified in this article.
Accordingly, the proposals should go further to comprehensively protect victims of psychological abuse and to ensure that any recourse available be made simple and affordable.
Questions for further personal evaluation:
- How can we prevent domestic violence occurring in our society?
- Is divorce or ending an intimate relationship the only way out for victims to escape an abusive relationship?
- ‘debunk’: to show that something is less important, less good, or less true than it has been made to appear
- ‘pertinent’: relating directly to the subject being considered
- ‘recourse’: using something or someone as a way of getting help, especially in a difficult or dangerous situation