The Geography of Fear and Domestic Violence and Its Relationship to Space

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Domestic violence has been defined as violence that occurs between partners who are either currently or were in a relationship. It takes the form of physical, mental and psychological abuse. (Domestic, 2007) As a result of the violence, fear is ingrained into the victims.


It is estimated that 78% of all rape and sexual assault victims are usually women. In addition, of the 600 000 to 800 000 people who become the victims of human trafficking every year, a whooping 80% comprises of women and girls. (2008) This helps explain the geography of fear, including the spatial aspects of fear and domestic violence.
Geography of fear analyses the spatial aspects of people's fear of violence in different settings. Valentine posits that women are often fearful of crime that seems to be directly related to their sense of vulnerability to men and the understanding of the seriousness and terror that such crimes bring to mind. (1989, p. 385) Childhood and adult experiences are said to highly influence women's fear as far as sexual violence is concerned. These fears are then deeply ingrained in the women through social messaging; how society views and treats its women. If they are treated as sex objects the fear of violence becomes even more real to them. The fears that women have with regards to rape and other forms of violence, either physical or sexual determines to a large extent the kind of choices they make that affect their lives on a daily and /or on a long term basis. The women therefore take precautions that are spatial in nature as a way of dealing with their fear. This may involve not going out at night or even avoiding certain places.
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