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Domestic violence

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.

Cycle_of_violence

Tension

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.

Assault

Aggression comes in one of the 5 forms of violence (Physical, economic, verbal, sexual and psychological). She It can create in you trigger anger, a feeling of outrage, shame, pain, the feeling of being humiliated by her partner.

Justification

To relieve himself of responsibility, the aggressor will explain his violent behavior by making his environment or the victim. For example, 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.

Honeymoon

This is the moment when things are going well, when the tension seems to have disappeared. You find the one you fell in love with: it's like when you started, he's kind, attentive, promises you beautiful things, changes. Hope returns, you really hope that he will change and keep his promises.

Formes_violence

Forms of violence

Physical

Punching or kicking, hitting, slapping, shoving, choking, cornering, throwing or destroying objects, spitting, making death threats.

Verbal

Yelling, shouting, swearing at each other, insulting, saying mean/hurtful things, making threats, giving orders, cyberbullying, criticizing anything the other says or does.

Psychological

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.

Economic

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.

Sexual

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.

Post-separation violence

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.

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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!

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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.

Reality: “Did you see how she was dressed? She looked for it a bit! “, “she should never have walked alone so late at night”, “she kept playing the seducer with him, she had to expect him to have expectations and be impatient”: These are just a few examples of the guilt-inducing remarks that we hear too often in society. Such assertions place a heavy burden on the victims that does not belong to them, while they relieve the aggressor of responsibility.

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

Fact: 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)
  • Make her feel that we are there for her, maintain contact with her if the aggressor wants to isolate her
  • Not confronting her spouse, it could put her in even more danger