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Agir contre - La violence conjugale

Imposing control

Conjugal violence is a way to impose control over another person; it does not result from a loss of self-control. In a situation involving conjugal violence, the aggressor uses a range of strategies to dominate and wield power over the victim, while ensuring that the victim cannot leave.

Conjugal violence is a way to demean the other person, through:

  • scornful attitudes and comments;
  • humiliation;
  • denigration;
  • blackmail;
  • neglect.

The aggressor may also, through jealousy, deliberately isolate the victim, prohibit the victim from meeting specific people, or limit the victim's movements outside the home. The victim's self-esteem and self-confidence are undermined, and he or she may begin to doubt the aggressor's responsibility for the situation.

The more socially isolated the victim becomes, the more vulnerable he or she is to other forms of violence. In some cases, the aggressor may use the victim's spiritual beliefs to justify the aggressor's domination and power.

One characteristic of conjugal violence is that it begins with a series of repeated actions that become increasingly frequent. Specialists refer to this as the "escalation of violence".

It generally occurs in an obvious cycle, during which the aggressor moves through a series of steps involving:

  • an increase in tension;
  • aggression;
  • denial of responsibility;
  • remission;
  • reconciliation.

The victim also moves through the steps of:

  • fear;
  • anger;
  • a feeling of being responsible for the violence;
  • a hope that the situation will improve.

It is important to note that the steps are not always all present and do not necessarily occur in the order indicated.