For anyone out there looking for an interesting research topic for their PhD, how about exploring the possibility of correlations between feelings of loneliness and isolation and domestic violence? It has well been documented the relationship power and control has to domestic violence, but it is also interesting to note as George Monbiot has in this incredible article on loneliness, that the Journal of Physiology and Behaviour last month suggest that, given a choice of physical pain or isolation, social mammals will choose the former. Capuchin monkeys starved of both food and contact for 22 hours will rejoin their companions before eating. Children who experience emotional neglect, according to some findings, suffer worse mental health consequences than children suffering both emotional neglect and physical abuse: hideous as it is, violence involves attention and contact. Self-harm is often used as an attempt to alleviate distress: another indication that physical pain is not as bad as emotional pain. As the prison system knows only too well, one of the most effective forms of torture is solitary confinement.
In 2013 the World Health Organisations Global Domestic Violence assessment reported as many as 85% of women who experience intimate partner abuse in the U.S.A return to violence, either the same or a different relationship after being rescued to safety. In Canada, 44% of women return to abusive relationships; in the UK, 50% of women return to abusive relationships; in Europe, 33% of women return to abusive relationships; in Japan, 80% of women return to abusive relationships; in Australia, 37% of women return to abusive relationships. These are all alarming statistics and points to a pattern of violence. Whilst there are many contributing factors, is it possible loneliness contributes to patterns of abuse? Read here and share your thoughts.
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Illustration by Andrzej Krauze