Speak Out on Violence: DORIS KASOTE
WHEN one looks at alcohol abuse and domestic violence, it is easy to see that there are connections between the two
behaviours. Often, the violence in the home is accompanied by excessive drinking of moderate to heavy amounts of alcohol over a long period of time.
While the drinking is not usually the cause of the violence, it can make the situation more volatile, increasing the severity and frequency of the abusive episodes.
This happens because the cost of alcohol increases stress on the family and reduces the normal common sense on socially unacceptable behaviours. In other words, when one is intoxicated, violence tendencies are exacerbated by the loss of inhibitions and increase in stress.
Meanwhile, while the drinking can make the violence worse, it may also become an escape for the person being abused, which in turn escalates the cycle of domestic violence even further. This violence can affect children exposed to the situation in a number of negative ways.
According to the Women’s Rural Advocacy Programme, alcohol abuse combined with domestic violence, oftentimes results in increased injury to the battered spouse.
How does alcohol abuse increase domestic violence?
Alcohol abuse increases domestic violence in several ways. According to the Tennessee Association of Alcohol, Drug and other Addiction, violent men are three times more likely to abuse alcohol or drugs.
Additionally, chronic long term alcohol abuse creates stress by way of financial pressure, behaviour changes, and lowered social standing in the family unit. Not only is there increased stress but the ability to cope with that stress may be reduced substantially because alcohol limits the control that the drinker has on their own behaviour.
When someone drinks heavily, the desire to drink sometimes is all they think about, and if the sober spouse attempts to stop the drinking, they may spark a violent episode. Clearly, alcohol abuse and domestic violence are an unhappy mix.
Even in work places or communities, those who are addicted to alcohol do not make much progression in life. They keep circling at one point because their minds are focused on nothing but alcohol. Alcohol addicts need psychological help but the problem is such people have to accept that they do have a problem before help can be extended to them.
It is no secret that some employees, good as they may be at their profession, end up stuffing their office drawers or pockets with alcohol because they can’t do without it.
What happens is that families of such people suffer because the breadwinner does not meet the needs of the family but instead spends their income on alcohol.
People who could have achieved much more in life, end up as destitute because they might end up being fired or get to a point where they are no longer able to perform their duties, such that instead of being at work to earn a living, they disappear from work and spend their time drinking.
Alcohol should never be a priority in one’s life. I tend to wonder why one should be enslaved by alcohol. It is important to prioritise what is best for our lives and in turn for the family that so much looks up to us.
Before you decide to spend that last coin on alcohol, think of that child who needs to go to school, that child who needs a decent meal for them to live a happy and healthy life.
Until next week: Let’s keep in touch.