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Femme seule dans la forêt

What is violence?

Domestic violence is unique because it intrudes between two individuals with an emotional bond. It cannot be considered as temporary couple difficulties, as it rather reflects a social problem caused by inequality and power dynamics between men and women in society. All women can be victims of domestic violence, regardless of age, ethnic origin, social class, level of education, religion, or socio-economic status.

Domestic violence includes verbal, psychological, physical, and sexual assaults, as well as acts of social, economic, and spiritual/religious domination. It represents a means chosen to control the partner.

 

Domestic violence insidiously and gradually establishes itself. It is characterized by its cyclical nature, which takes the women who are victims hostage. Indeed, the alternation between violent acts and promises from the partner sustains the hope of a healthy and respectful relationship for the abused woman. Understanding the whirlwind in which the woman finds herself helps to understand why it is sometimes so difficult to consider leaving this relationship, either permanently or temporarily.

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Distinguishing conflict from violence

It is sometimes difficult to distinguish between an argument, which may involve aggressive acts, and violence. However, certain elements help to differentiate the two phenomena. 

Conflit

Violence

The pursuit

of powe

The presence

of a cycle

Accountability, apologies, empathy.

The presence of compromises

The parties involved want to find a solution and may seek to gain control over the situation.

(Example: I want to turn off the television to sleep, I become aggressive because despite my arguments and obvious fatigue, the other person refuses. My goal is to sleep.)

Conflict arises with the arrival of a triggering event (which may sometimes seem trivial to one of the partners). It is not always possible to anticipate this conflict

A conflict can lead to inappropriate remarks or actions. In this case, the person responsible for them will be able to acknowledge their responsibility, apologize, and take steps to avoid repeating them.

(Example: I shouldn't have insulted you. I was tired and I couldn't control myself. I was foolish to react that way. Next time, I won't say that.) 

The conflict is characterized by the presence of compromises to allow all parties to find a solution that suits them.

 

The autor of violence seeks to gain control over the person, regardless of the situation

(Example: I want to turn off the television to sleep. I become aggressive because the other person asks me to wait until the end of the episode, in 3 minutes. My goal is to emphasize that when I say it's time to turn it off, we turn it off.)

Domestic violence follows a cycle of four phases that repeat endlessly. The crisis can occur without a triggering element

Generally, in a violent relationship, the perpetrator is not able to recognize their responsibility. They will therefore not offer sincere apologies and will seek to justify their behavior, often by blaming the victim. The perpetrator appears reluctant to establish means of repair.

(Example: I shouldn't have insulted you, but if you had turned off the television, I wouldn't have reacted like that. You know how I am when I'm tired.) 

In a case of domestic violence, it's always the same person who "wins" and compromises are always made by the victim.

Le cycle de la violence composé de 4 étapes (tension, agression, justification, lune de miel)

The cycle of violence

Domestic violence is characterized by a cycle of four phases that repeat. 

     The tension : The perpetrator exhibits colder, more irritable behavior and may use threats. The victim feels the need to "walk on eggshells" to avoid triggering a crisis.

     The aggression : The perpetrator carries out the chosen act of violence (physical, psychological, verbal, sexual, etc.). The victim experiences various emotions such as anger, sadness, injustice, etc.

      The justification : The perpetrator seeks excuses and justifies their behavior, thus absolving themselves of responsibility. The victim questions their actions and emotions, eventually feeling responsible for the situation.

     The honeymoon phase: The perpetrator demonstrates a conciliatory attitude, showing determination to seek forgiveness at any cost. Meanwhile, the victim adjusts their behavior in anticipation of a return to an idealized relationship.

The types of violence

Psychological violence : Adopting attitudes and behaviors aimed at destabilizing the victim and compromising their well-being.

Verbal violence : Creating through speech a feeling of fear, insecurity, or humiliation.

Social violence : Controlling the interpersonal relationships of the other by adopting severe and negative judgments of their relationships.

Physical violence : Using physical force to control the other and compromise their physical integrity directly or indirectly.

Economic violence : Taking control of the family's economic decisions.

Spiritual violence : Using religion and beliefs to manipulate, dominate, or control.

Technological violence : Using new technologies to control or humiliate.

Sexual violence : Using behaviors, words, and gestures with sexual connotations in a context of absence of consent.

Post-separation violence : Subjecting one's ex-partner to any form of violence.

Coercive control

Coercive control helps to better understand the grip that can exist between the victim and the perpetrator of domestic violence.

This concept was developed by Evan Stark, an American researcher in sociology and social work. He describes coercive control as a tendency toward non-physical violence between intimate partners. According to him, coercive control encompasses various tactics aimed at hurting, humiliating, exploiting, isolating, and dominating the victim.

Coercive control highlights the cumulative and invisible effect of the aggressor's strategies, many of which may be perceived as harmless. The ultimate goal of coercive control is to eliminate the victim's sense of freedom. 

Isolating the person from their friends

Monitoring the person through various means

Controlling the money held or spent by the person

Belittling, humiliating, or insulting the person

Threatening to harm the person

Threatening to disclose personal information

etc.

Examples of coercive control

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Violence physique

Utiliser la force physique afin de contrôler l'autre et de compromettre son intégrité physique de façon directe ou indirecte.

Violence économique

S'approprier les décisions économiques de la famille.

Violence spirituelle

Utiliser la religion et les croyances pour manipuler, dominer ou contrôler.

Violence technologique

Utiliser les nouvelles technologies pour contrôler ou humilier.

Violence sexuelle

Utiliser des comportements, paroles et gestes à connotation sexuelle, dans un contexte d'absence de consentement. 

Violence post-séparation

Faire vivre toute forme de violence à son ex-partenaire

The consequences of violence for the victims

Domestic violence shakes every aspect of the victims’ lives.

      Consequences on general health : Fatigue; Anemia; Headache; Sleep disorders, including insomnia and nightmares; Power related problems.

      Psychological consequences : Fear; Anger; Loss of self-esteem; Feeling of shame and guilt; Feeling of helplessness and confusion in the face of the situation; Isolation; Depression; Suicidal thoughts; Symptoms of post-traumatic stress (intrusive memories, recurring dreams, flashbacks), etc.

      Physical consequences : Bruising; Cuts; Burns; Scratches; Scars; Fractures; Dislocations; Damage to internal organs; Murder.

      Sexual consequences : Pain; Chronic vaginal or urinary infections; Unwanted pregnancies; Miscarriages; Sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections (STBBI); Fear of intimacy.

      Socio-economic consequences : Loss of concentration; Absenteeism at work; Reduced income; Job Loss; Social isolation.

The consequences for children exposed to violence

The exposure of children to domestic violence is very harmful and is considered a form of psychological mistreatment according to the Youth Protection Law (LPJ). Whether they are physically present during episodes of violence or hear the screams, these children live in a climate of tension and fear and can be affected at different levels (physical, psychological, emotional, cognitive and social).


The consequences on children are numerous and manifest themselves in different ways depending on the child.

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