Understanding and preventing domestic violence


Understanding and preventing domestic violence

Health promotion is what I’m working for, and now that you’ve been used to read articles about stress management (see here and there), changing your habits or personal development, I wanted to write about a more disturbing subject, which is domestic violence.

Swiss 2015 statistics concerning domestic violence reveal 17’297 infractions, the more frequent being assaults (5’181), threats (4’197), insults (2’835) and simple bodily injuries (1’952). But the numbers don’t matter, it’s too much anyway.

When we’re talking about domestic violence, we imagine an alcoholic husband hitting his wife. But reality is unfortunately more complex and violence can also be more insidious, though as much devastative, by being psychological. Bruises are visible by everyone but emotional and psychological wounds are often remarked too late. I propose you a short film (in French sorry, another video in English is waiting for you later on this article) that illustrate well this problem:

Moreover, domestic violence doesn’t only impact the direct victim (women are mostly concerned with this problem but let’s not forget that some men also live in this terrible situation which becomes even more taboo because of the stereotypical image of the man seen as someone who’s got to be tough) but also concerns children.

Consequences for direct victims are:

  • Injuries, fractures, chronic pain, neurological deficits and headaches.
  • Mental health: trauma, depression, suicide attempts, post-traumatic stress.
  • Physical symptoms: difficulties in falling asleep, tremors, nausea, breathing problems.
  • Death.

Repercussions on children concern more:

  • Internalized/externalized disorders and low self-esteem.
  • Post-traumatic stress symptoms
  • Cognitive impairments in language abilities, memory issues.
  • Risks of children repeating those kind of aggressive behaviors when older.
  • Substance abuse.
  • Depression, anxiety, conduct disorder.

Leslie Morgan Steiner, american author, blogger, businesswoman and former victim of domestic abuse explains in a TED Talk why domestic violence victims don’t leave.

She explains the 4 stages that lead to abuse:

  1. The abuser charms and gets his victim to trust him by putting her on a pedestal. “This man could never hurt me”.
  2. He isolates the victim by restraining all contacts with her family and friends, becoming the only person present in her life.
  3. The abuser introduces the threat of violence. It can be verbal or physical, introducing a weapon in the house for example.
  4. Finally, the abuser takes action and assaults the victim, triggering all negative consequences cited above.

She finally explains that it can be very dangerous to leave an abuser because 70% of domestic violence murders or harassments happen after breaking-up.

However, the only way to break this vicious circle is TALKING ABOUT IT! Doesn’t matter to whom, a friend, your parents, a colleague at work, your doctor, a domestic violence hotline, police, etc. but the only way to end domestic violence is breaking the silence.

Useful contacts:

Don’t hesitate to share this article, information is the best weapon against this problem.

Julien Borloz



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