Domestic Violence


What constitutes violence for you? It may seem like a trivial question, but knowing how to recognize it is one of the essential steps to change… and a goal of the process!

Spousal abuse is characterized by the control that one person has over another person in a spousal relationship. This control is manifested through behaviours, gestures, words and/or attitudes that are repeated and continuous over time. We understand that violence is both socially constructed and individually chosen. Thus, each individual must be held accountable for his behaviour, regardless of the origin of his upbringing.

Violence is not just beating someone. Let’s speak plainly, so things are clearly understood. Shouting is no “less” violent than beating: violence is violence. Whatever the form, it has the same function: to dominate. Wasn’t that your intention? It doesn’t change anything. Violent behaviour has its own logic. Once a word is spoken, it hurts.

The shapes

To make you aware of the different forms of this violence, here is a brief overview.



Although it is described as the most subtle form of violence, it doesn’t mean it leaves trace.

This refers to any behaviour, words or attitude that tends to devalue the other person. Unfortunately, it can be difficult for the victim and those around him to realize this. Because it cannot be seen, and sometimes it cannot be heard. So you don’t have to shout to hurt someone…


Devaluing, criticizing, sulking, being indifferent, pressuring, demanding, accusing, threatening, holding a contemptuous attitude, using sarcasm, harassing, etc.

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It is the most frequent of all forms, the one that is often trivialized. It doesn’t leave any visible trace either, it does not physically hurt.

In some circles, it is even considered normal. “So it was between friends, with colleagues? Was it a joke? What if it was towards your spouse, or your children? Violence is violence. Yelling is scary, cursing hurts. Verbal violence erodes your relationships, creates a climate of stress. Clearly, this is not what communication is all about.


Raising your voice, cursing, insulting, humiliating, etc.

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This form is all too well known. Physical abuse is reported in the media and is prohibited by law. Generally, physical violence is not the first form to appear in a relationship.

It is a sign of escalation! So we understand that if you have used this form, a pattern has been well established. If you haven’t consulted for help yet, do so at this stage.


Beating, shoving, restraining, clutching, biting, pinching, poking, throwing objects, physically imposing, driving dangerously, fist waving, etc.

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Before you say, “No, not me, I would never do that,” let’s start by looking at what sexual violence is.

How do you react when you experience a disappointment in the intimacy of your couple? How do you talk about sexuality in your relationship? Do you accept a “No” easily or do you tend to insist, to sulk? Any gesture, attitude or word with violent connotations in a context of sexual intimacy, constitutes a form of sexual violence.


Ridiculing, making fun of the other person’s body or sexuality, insisting or sulking after a refusal, demanding relationships, imposing consequences to punish the other person (e.g. refusing the relationship, viewing pornography as a form of blackmail, acting abruptly without regard for the other person, sexual assault, etc.)

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A form that is perhaps less well known, but is very much present. How are the finances managed in your couple?

Are the expenses discussed together? How do you react if you don’t agree? Economic abuse is intended to exert control to keep the other person in a position of financial dependence, or to affect the management of their income.


Making a financial decision without consulting the other person, stealing money, controlling expenses, monitoring, convincing the other person not to work, overspending and jeopardizing the family budget, using the credit card without notifying the other person, etc.

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The consequences

If you’re taking the time to read this page, chances are you’re already asking yourself questions about your behaviour. Or someone has invited you to do so. In short, an alarm bell has rung because consequences are already present. We try to put an end to violence because it hurts, and it leaves traces. And not only for others!

The impact of violence on the…

The victim
  • Loss of confidence, fear
  • Shame, guilt
  • Diminished self-esteem
  • Anxiety, depression, fatigue
  • Post-traumatic stress
  • Health problems
  • Injuries, pain
  • Suicide attempt
  • Self-harm
  • Substance abuse
  • Aggression, violence
  • And many others…
Exposed children
  • Low self-esteem
  • Stress, anxiety
  • Sadness, depression
  • Long-term affective disorders
  • Underdeveloped social skills
  • Behavioural problems
  • Delinquency
  • Aggression, violence
  • Reproduction of parental behaviour
  • Diminished self-esteem
  • Shame, guilt
  • Stress, anxiety, depression
  • Loss of relationships, isolation
  • Loss of employment
  • Moving
  • Legal consequences
  • Legal constraints
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Substance abuse