I want to help

What is domestic violence?


How to help someone who lives of violence?

Witnessing domestic violence can put you in a delicate situation. You may be uncomfortable with the idea that you might have to “stick your nose in somebody else’s business”. You must know that it is legitimate to want to help someone who lives in domestic violence. For the victims’ good, acts of violence should not stay in private.  

The first thing to do, when you know someone who lives of violence, is to listen and to believe her without judgment.

After, you must refer her to a shelter home for her to receive the support and safety available.

Finally, it is very important to respect the person’s rhythm. If she isn’t ready, you must respect her. That way, you will stay an ally to her, and she will know that she can come to you if she needs it.

If you feel that an upcoming danger is awaiting a woman, don’t hesitate to contact local policemen.

If you are not certain it is really a domestic violence situation, refer yourself to the types of violence and be attentive to the signs.


Why the victim stays with a violent partner?

For the family and close friends, it may be hard to understand why women who are victims of violence stay with their violent partner. Numerous reasons can explain this behaviour.

The victim can:

  • Feel, despite everything, romantic love for her partner;
  • Worry about the impacts of the separation (lack of money, bring conflict to the family, take away the children from the other parent, etc.);
  • Fear the threats of her partner;
  • Fear of uprooting the children from their environment;
  • Believe that her partner will change;
  • Take the fault on herself, without reconsidering the relationship;
  • Live social separation (no friends, no family, so nowhere to go for a shelter);
  • Fear the family and friends’ judgment;
  • Fear to be discredited by close friends (nobody believes her).

When she gets out of the relation, why does she go back?

Victims can find it hard to definitely get out of a conjugal relationship where they live violence.

The reconciliation phase represents a critical moment where the victims contemplate the idea to end the relationship, when they finally decide to stay because they have hope that things can change. Some victims do a few coming and going, sometimes up to ten, before definitely leaving. This can feed the false belief about the victims not really wanting to get out of it, but these going and coming can be necessary to the process of certain victims. When leaving a relationship, even for a few days, allows the victims to realize that they could live differently. The social workers of the Maison d’hébergement l’Aquarelle don’t judge women who decide to go back. We strongly believe that every passing at the Maison makes a difference in the pathway of the woman.

An adequate support coming from shelter homes and specialized organizations, from friends or family, greatly helps victims in their process, because it shows that they can count on trustful people to definitely get out of the unhealthy relationship.