Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Domestic Violence Bill to be passed in Angola

On a daily basis, we are confronted with negative news about domestic violence. Whether it be a woman who is sentenced to life in prison after killing her abusive partner, rising rates of domestic violence worldwide, or even learning that one of our loved once is a survivor of partner abuse, there just isn't much good news out there.

That's why I was particularly excited when I found a headline on Google titled "Bill on domestic violence to be passed". When I clicked the link, I was somewhat surprised to find that the bill was not being passed in the United States, but rather in Angola, a country in south-central Africa.

Angola, like many other parts of Africa, has extremely high rates of domestic violence; it is estimated that in certain areas of cities, incidence rates are as high as 62 percent. As if that statistic isn't sad enough, domestic violence is not illegal in Angola and therefore it rarely gets brought to court. The first article I am posting is from last April and briefly describes the magnitude of the problem of interpartner violence in Angola and then suggests that governmental bodies, churches, and social groups are coming together to try to raise awareness to put an end to domestic violence. It ends like many articles on dv do, by stating that their is little hope for these survivors.

However, this story has a positive update! Hooray! The second article I am posting is from yesterday. It details how an anti-domestic violence bill, which is designed to raise awareness, spread education, and protect survivors, has passed in Angola's Cabinet Council and is now waiting approval in the nation's National Assembly. This is a huge step in a country where seven months ago domestic violence was completely legal and there seemed little hope for change.

Although it is hard to say how much this bill will actually do IF it is passed, it does beg the question, what about U.S. policies and laws against domestic violence? How much does our country strive to protect survivors, offer support, and raise awareness in the general public?

I plan on going to graduate school to conduct research on domestic violence and create more effective interventions. After an extensive search for schools that offer the opportunity to do research on this subject, I can tell you not many do. Sadly, although dv interventions are far from perfect, there are not many professionals in academia doing the critical research necessary to create better ones. On the state and national levels, funding is simply not high enough. Instead, the burden of alleviating domestic violence in the U.S. falls upon dedicated individuals and non-profit organizations.

I certainly hope that this bill will be passed in Angola and serve as an example to other countries worldwide. Domestic violence is a crime that cannot be tolerated.


 Original article:

New bill update:

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