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Domestic violence... What is it exactly?

Domestic violence is a dynamic of control and domination over one's partner. It is expressed through a set of attitudes, words and strategies that one person deliberately and repeatedly adopts, with the aim of asserting his or her power over the other. This dynamic has the effect of undermining the personality and freedom of the person subjected to it.

The hold and fear of the partner traps the victim in a conditioning from which it is difficult to escape without help. Domestic violence can have serious consequences, including death.


Psychological violence is the most subtle.
It involves humiliating, belittling, devaluing, denying, controlling, dominating or isolating the other person, making threats, imposing one's point of view and/or tastes, values and desires on the other person, harming loved ones, reproaching the other person with the aim of destroying his or her confidence, morally wounding the other person by insisting on his or her weak points, blaming the other person for his or her words, actions or attitudes, and so on.

Verbal abuse is the most common form of violence.
It includes name-calling, insulting, shouting orders, swearing at the other person, using vulgar language, etc. Note: it's difficult to separate verbal abuse from psychological abuse, both of which have destructive effects on the self-esteem and self-confidence of those who are subjected to them. 

Violence towards objects and animals.
It's hitting something, throwing or breaking objects, smashing a wall or door, slamming a door, breaking someone else's objects, injuring, hitting or killing an animal under the impulse of aggressiveness, any gesture directed at an object or animal with the intention of intimidating the other, etc. Physical violence is the best known and most publicized form of violence.

Physical violence is the best-known and most widely publicized form of violence.
It's any physical contact with the intention of dominating, assaulting or frightening another person. Slapping, shoving, punching, kicking, hitting with an object, holding the other person against his or her will, grabbing by the arms, neck or any other part of the body, and so on.

Sexual violence is the most taboo and the most hidden.
It involves tying up the other person against her will in order to obtain sexual intercourse, forcibly penetrating her, insulting her, humiliating her during intercourse, forcibly taking her (marital rape), brutalizing her during intercourse, sexually harassing her, forcing her to act on fantasies, denying the other person sexual contact in order to punish or control, any gesture with a sexual connotation without the other person's consent, etc.

Economic violence is the least recognized.
It involves preventing the other spouse from having her own bank account, ensuring that she never has pocket money, depriving her of all sources of income, cashing her spouse's personal cheques without her consent, controlling the family budget so that the other spouse has to pay her own way.

* From


"Domestic violence is characterized by a series of repetitive acts, usually occurring in an upward curve. Specialists call this progression the escalation of violence. In the case of the aggressor, it proceeds according to a cycle defined by successive phases marked by rising tension, aggression, disempowerment, remission and reconciliation. Domestic violence includes psychological, verbal, physical and sexual aggression, as well as acts of economic domination. It is not the result of a loss of control, but is, on the contrary, a means chosen to dominate the other person and assert power over him or her."


On women
The violence a woman endures over months and years leaves marks that go far beyond physical injury. This violence causes a variety of symptoms that the woman will not necessarily associate with what her partner is doing to her. The list below, though incomplete, includes some of the main effects of domestic violence.

Psychological effects

  • Sense of shame, guilt, powerlessness;
  • stress, anxiety;
  • depression;
  • loss or reduction of self-confidence and self-esteem;
  • pervasive doubts about understanding one's own experience;
  • nightmares;
  • fear, dread, vigilance (always being on the alert);
  • suicidal ideation.
Physical effects
  • Fatigue;
  • sleep disorders;
  • pain (headaches, backaches, etc.);
  • loss of appetite and digestive problems;
  • use of alcohol, drugs or medication.
On children
It's important to mention that domestic violence also has effects on children, since witnessing or being exposed to domestic violence automatically makes them victims. Children can also be directly affected by the violence of those around them, including their parents. Violence in the family causes a great deal of confusion in children's feelings.

Some psychological effects
  • Fears;
  • difficulties at school;
  • tendency to isolate;
  • insecurity, anxiety;
  • feelings of guilt.
Some physical effects
  • Sleep problems;
  • difficulty concentrating;
  • hyperactivity, aggressiveness.

  • Excuses her partner's violent behavior and expresses regret;
  • is socially isolated (family, friends) and unable to use a telephone;
  • seems nervous when she talks and her partner is present;
  • tries to hide physical injuries;
  • fears for her safety and that of her children;
  • seems to avoid you;
  • denies that violence is taking place and is unaware of the danger;
  • takes no responsibility for her partner's violent behavior;
  • experiences sadness, loneliness and insecurity;
  • absenteeism from work, frequent illness;
  • angry and often defensive;
  • uses alcohol and/or drugs to "help" endure violent behavior;
  • may have an extramarital relationship;
  • will do anything to get custody of the children;
  • psychological distress and low self-esteem appear as the woman is abused.
* Taken from


Domestic violence... What is it exactly?