Theories of domicide
What are the impacts of loss of home upon children, adults, families, communities, and societies? If having a home is a basic human right, then why is the destruction of one’s home not viewed as a violation of human rights and prosecuted accordingly? From Bureaucracy to Bullets answers these questions and more by focusing on domicide, or the intentional destruction of the home, as a human rights issue.
To experience one’s home being destroyed can cause significant distress and in some cases contribute to increased rates of depression, anxiety, and melancholia (mourning without end).
Without the stability of home, children who experience domicide have been documented to experience more aggression and challenging behaviour, depression, and decreased interest and achievement in education.
Women tend to suffer differently from domicide since home is a place where women from many cultures around the world spend most of their time.
Finally, the loss of home can also be compounded by other losses such as the loss of a loved one or loss of country (if forced to flee one’s country as a refugee, for example).
Castle and Cage:
A Theory of Home
Home can be both a castle and a cage. It is a castle in that it represents a place for the family, a center for identity formation offering a layer of protection.
Yet, home can also be unhealthy, unsafe, and like a prison. It can serve as a cage for family members who are not allowed to leave home or choose not to leave for fear of encountering the violence in the surrounding environment.
Despite experiencing home as a castle or a cage, many families would still defend their homes at all costs. And if their homes were destroyed, it would have serious psychosocial implications
A Typology of Domicide
The typology of extreme domicide offers a systematized way of categorizing different subtypes. It focuses on two elements:
(1) the magnitude of actions to partially or totally destroy a home or group of homes, and
(2) the methods they use to destroy homes, either through direct violence (“bullets”) or indirect violence (“bureaucracy”).
Understanding the magnitude and methods of people who commit domicide is critical to holding them accountable for their actions.