Sexual, Domestic, and Gender-based Abuse A collection of experience and opinion
O’Rourke Scott, Lisa
Moran Stritch, Jennifer
Katherine Larkin4, Hazel
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The following five contributions, collectively, offer an exploration of various facets of societal challenges and public health issues, highlighting the need for awareness, research, and targeted interventions. The five commentaries for this special section, address the hugely important frequently invisible and secret topic, of sexual, domestic and gender-based abuse. The World Health Organization identifies violence against women, in particular intimate partner, and sexual violence as a major public health problem (1). They estimate that globally 30% of women have been subjected to either physical or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime. Violence can negatively affect women’s physical, mental, sexual, and reproductive health, and can lead to femicide and increased risk of suicide (2). In her commentary on the topic of Technology-Facilitated Domestic Abuse (TFDA) Dr Lisa O’Rourke Scott underscores the dark side of increasing global technology use for facilitating domestic abuse. The prevalence of cyber violence and technology-facilitated sexual harassment reveals the urgency of addressing this emerging threat. The nature of TFDA allows abusers to exert control remotely, presenting unique challenges for victims and necessitating continual awareness and research. Jennifer Moran Stritch's commentary delves into the intersection of disenfranchised grief and domestic abuse, emphasizing the hidden impact of loss experienced by survivors. By recognizing the layers of secrecy in domestic abuse, Stritch advocates for professionals to acknowledge and address disenfranchised grief, contributing to a more empathic and understanding response to the complex experiences of victims. Frank Houghton's analysis of The Sale of Alcohol Bill, 2022 in Ireland reveals potential conflicts with the Public Health (Alcohol) Act, 2018. The article highlights the tension between economic interests and public health goals, with the alcohol industry's influence on legislation raising concerns. His commentary emphasizes the importance of recognizing alcohol's role in issues like domestic violence and advocates for policies that align with public health objectives.Hazel Katherine Larkin's commentary focuses on "The Lilac Programme" and brings attention to a targeted initiative for parents with a history of childhood sexual abuse. This innovative program acknowledges the specific challenges faced by these parents during critical life events, providing structured support and fostering a transformative experience. Larkin's work sheds light on the healing potential of community-focused programs tailored to the unique needs of abuse survivors. Melinda Heinz's exploration of the alarming tolerance for sexual violence in the U.S. unpacks the societal acceptance of such behavior, especially among political leaders and athletes. The commentary critically examines the revictimization process within legal systems and points to the challenges posed by right-wing authoritarianism. Heinz calls for cultural change and increased public awareness to challenge ingrained norms that perpetuate sexual violence. While each article addresses a distinct subject, the common thread lies in the recognition of hidden, nuanced, or evolving problems that demand attention, understanding, and concerted efforts. Collectively, these articles paint a detailed picture of contemporary challenges in public health, urging a multidimensional and collaborative approach. They underscore the importance of tailored interventions, awareness campaigns, and ethical research practices to address the evolving landscape of societal issues and ensure the well-being of communities.
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