Domestic Violence

What is domestic violence?

Domestic violence refers to all acts of physical, sexual, psychological or economic violence that occur in the family or in the home between a former or current spouse or partner. Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior or abuse used by one person to control or dominate another with whom they have or have had an intimate or family relationship.

Psychological abuse can take many forms, including obsessive attention, harassment, or involuntary control. Through involuntary control, the perpetrator’s behavior is aimed at submission and / or dependence on the victim / survivor through threats, humiliation, intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, intimidate and isolate victim / survivor from any support.

Economic abusers seek to prevent a spouse from gaining access to employment opportunities and economic resources.

Domestic violence can result in long-term physical, mental and emotional health problems; in the most extreme cases, violence against women can result in death. This is one of the most extreme forms of abuse a woman can face.

What is the difference between domestic violence and spousal sexual abuse?

Spousal sexual abuse is commonly understood as causing “physical, sexual or psychological harm by a current or former partner or spouse”. Domestic violence is “violence by a partner, but can also include abuse of children or the elderly, or violence by any family member.” Domestic violence refers to “child abuse, sibling violence, intimate partner violence and elder abuse”.

Victim or survivor of domestic violence?

The terms “victim” and “survivor of domestic violence” are used depending on the situation. The word “victim” is used by law enforcement officials and during legal proceedings. However, people may prefer the term “survivor of domestic violence”, which emphasizes an active, proactive and constructive response to violence, as opposed to the term “victim”, which can mean passive acceptance.

Ultimately, it is imperative to follow the cues from the person seeking support, as each person has a different path from being a victim to being a “domestic violence survivor”. As a result, many are starting to use the term victim / survivor of domestic violence.

Who is the most frequent victim / survivor of domestic violence?

Anyone can become a victim / survivor or perpetrator of domestic violence. People are subjected to domestic violence regardless of their gender, ethnicity, class, age, race, religion, physical and mental disabilities, sexual orientation or gender identity.

However, there is clear evidence that among those who suffer from domestic violence, understood as intimate partner violence, the majority are women. Among the perpetrators of violence, the majority are men.

35 % of women worldwide experience physical or sexual violence from an intimate partner, or sexual violence from another person during their lifetime. Most cases of violence against women are committed by intimate partners. Every day, 137 women are killed by a partner or family member.

Domestic violence is a manifestation of gender-based violence.

Gender-based violence and violence against women are two often interchangeable terms, as most violence against women is perpetrated (by men) on a gender basis, and the rate of women experiencing gender-based violence is disproportionately higher. Gender-based violence against women is violence directed against a woman precisely because she is a woman; this term also reflects the fact that the incidence of violence against women is disproportionately higher.

Why are the majority of victims / survivors of domestic violence women?

Domestic violence is an abuse of power. Violence against women is a manifestation of the historically unequal balance between men and women, which has resulted in domination over women and discrimination against women by men. Violence prevents women from developing fully; violence against women is one of the defining social mechanisms that leads to the fact that women are forced to occupy a subordinate position in comparison with men.

Violence against women, whether in public or private spaces, is deeply rooted in social structures and cultural traditions, norms and values ​​supported by society, including patriarchal societies, and is often perpetuated by a culture of denial and silence.

Are some women more at risk than others?

Any woman can face domestic violence, regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity. However, some groups of women are more at risk, including young women with disabilities, bisexuals and migrant women.

Shame and dishonor are powerful cultural concepts, and some minority women may face social stigma and rejection if they seek help. Lesbians and gays can also experience domestic violence and bias from police and support services; the situation of transgender men and women also requires special consideration. Older women, women with disabilities, men and people living in rural areas also face additional barriers.

Domestic violence in Canada – Statistics

67% of Canadians know a woman who has experienced physical or sexual abuse.

6X Indigenous women are killed at six times the rate of non-Indigenous women.

6,000+ women and children sleep in shelters on any given night because it isn’t safe at home.