Domestic violence is:
A takeover, exercised by a spouse, in a couple, with the aim of dominating his partner and imposing his power over her.
Taking control can manifest itself through different means or different strategies, used by the aggressor.
Violence can be experienced in a romantic, friendly, family relationship or after a separation from a couple.
Cycle and forms of violence
Domestic violence is exercised by a spouse who takes control over his partner by using different means. This control is part of a cycle with 4 stages, which is repeated again and again.
The climate of tension is the moment when you know that things are likely to go wrong. You try to do everything to please, to avoid aggression. You feel like you are walking on eggshells. In the victim, this step creates anxiety, you may feel like you have a lump in your stomach, but you don't know how to explain it to yourself.
Aggression comes in one of the 5 forms of violence (Physical, economic, verbal, sexual and psychological). It can trigger anger, a feeling of outrage, shame, pain, the feeling of being humiliated by her partner.
To relieve himself of responsibility, the aggressor will explain his violent behavior by blaming his environment or the victim responsible. For as examples, you're too sensitive, he drank too much, that's what he's always experienced, his father beat him, it's you who misunderstood, you're making up stories, you're not a good mother, etc.
This is the moment when things are going well, when the tensions seems to disappear. You find the one you fell in love with, it's like when you started, he's kind, attentionate, promises you beautiful things, changes. Hope returns, you really hope that he will change and keep his promises.
Forms of violence
Punching or kicking, hitting, slapping, shoving, choking, cornering, throwing or destroying objects, spitting, making death threats.
Yelling, shouting, swearing at each other, insulting, saying mean/hurtful things, making threats, giving orders, cyberbullying, criticizing anything the other says or does.
Possessive jealousy, sulking with the aim of punishing, rejecting, isolating friends or family, contemptuous attitudes or remarks, ignoring, harassment, threatening looks or gestures, being under tension, blackmail.
Preventing or forcing work, stealing money, forcing debts, controlling expenses, threatening to be deprived of money or property, leading the other into debt, criticizing purchases in order to control , to borrow money with no intention of returning it.
Obscene remarks, sulking or exerting pressure in order to obtain sexual favours, abstinence (in order to punish), fondling, aggression, forced sexual relations, rape, forcing the other to use pornographic material (in an unhealthy way or with pressure), body bashing, forcing the other to have sex with another person for money or otherwise.
Differences between domestic violence and marital dispute
What is a couple fight?
- Two partners who argue and who want their opinion to prevail over that of the other.
- May include anger and aggression, but no violent gestures.
- Neither partner fears the other, nor the consequences by expressing their point of view, each feels free to do so.
- It's not always the same person who starts the fight, sometimes it's one, sometimes it's the other.
What about in a domestic violence relationship?
- The goal is to dominate the other, the different forms of violence are used in this sense.
- The aggressor wants to subjugate his victim, not win a disagreement.
- The victim will not feel free of his reactions, since he will fear the consequences that could follow.
- It's always the same partner who attacks, and the same one who is the victim, no matter the situation.
Ending an abusive relationship doesn't always mean ending the abuse, unfortunately. The breakup (or its announcement) can lead to an escalation of violence, since the aggressor feels that his victim is trying to regain power over his life.
The separation is often a critical moment where the aggressor will use multiple strategies, going from honeymoon to aggression very quickly, in order to regain control over his ex-partner. The violence can begin after the separation, be the same as during the relationship or increase in intensity following the separation.
Do you think you need help?
Your ex criticizes you for being a mother
You feel stressed because you never know what will trigger his anger
He threatens to call the DYP so that you lose the children
He accuses you of having a new lover
He texts you or calls you non-stop
He leaves you hateful, intimidating, threatening messages
He makes death threats
He makes you cry
He must have the last word
He pays nothing for children needs or child support
He accuses you of cheating on him
It blocks your access to the exit
He physically intimidates you
He makes you interrogate
He makes demeaning comments about your appearance
He threatens to publish photos (compromising or intimate) of you
You fear for yourself and your children
You are afraid during the exchange of children
If you have recognized in this list the reflection of certain lived situations and you feel sad, confused, worried or angry, it may be useful to remind you that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Millions of other women are in the same situation, because violence is a social problem. Call us, we are here for you!
Myths and facts
Reality: The only ones who can change their violent behavior are the persons themselves. Despite all our will and all our love, we cannot make changes for the other.
Reality: Abused women stay with their partner because they love him, believe he will change and they are afraid. They are caught in the cycle of violence.
Reality: Violence in romantic relationships is due to a partner's desire to impose their power and control their partner. It is therefore a TAKEOVER.
Reality: Domestic violence has 5 forms: physical, psychological, verbal, economic and sexual violence. The different forms can all be present in a relationship, or only some of them.
Reality: Nothing can justify a person's violent behavior. Violence is a choice that the person makes. By comparison, do you get violent when you have a drink?
Reality: Victims may remain silent for a long time because they feel shame, fear and guilt. They may also want to seek to protect their partner, since they love him and hope that he will change.
Réalité : « As-tu vu comment elle était habillée ? Elle l’a un peu cherché ! », « Elle n’aurait jamais dû marcher seule si tard le soir », « Elle n’arrêtait pas de jouer à la séductrice avec lui, elle devait s’attendre à ce qu’il ait des attentes et s’impatiente » : Ce ne sont que quelques exemples des propos culpabilisants que l’on entend trop souvent au sein de la société. De telles affirmations font porter aux victimes un lourd fardeau qui ne leur appartient aucunement, tandis qu’elles déresponsabilisent l’agresseur.
Reality: 8 times out of 10, the aggressor is known to the victim, this proportion being higher for young people under 18 (85%) than for adults (68%). 39% of sexual assaults are committed in a home that the victim shares with the aggressor, 16% at the victim's home, 22% at the home of the aggressor, 6.3% in a public place or at school, 4% at work and 1.4% in transport.
Reference : https://www.inspq.qc.ca/agression-sexuelle/statistiques
Reality: The absence of a “no” does not equal a “yes”. The Canadian Criminal Code stipulates that, for there to be consent, the person must express his agreement by words or gestures. In this sense, “the absence of resistance does not amount to consent”. In addition, consent is an agreement that must be voluntary, free and informed. However, in several cases of sexual violence, the victim may be constrained by fear of reprisals, family breakdown, physical violence, death, etc. A victim may also find themselves in a context that prevents them from consenting.
Reality: Domestic violence is a social problem that has many consequences for public health. It is rooted in unequal relations between men and women. The promotion of equality as a fundamental value is therefore essential.
What can I do to help a victim of domestic violence?
- Listen without judgment
- Tell her we believe her and make it heartfelt
- Normalize her feelings
- Respect her rhythm, do not put pressure on her
- Do not impose your vision of her situation on her, but rather bring her to realize it on her own (offer her leaflets, telephone line, online tests)
- Lui faire sentir qu’on est présents pour elle, maintenir le lien avec elle même si l’agresseur veut l’isoler
- Not confronting her spouse, it could put her in even more danger