Violence or quarrel ?

Couple quarrel or spousal violence? Can we argue, or is an argument always violence? When we ask this question, often the answer is not easy to explain.

It can be difficult to distinguish between the two and it is for this reason that in the next few lines we will attempt to explain the difference.

“Domestic violence is based on a relationship of domination. It can be lived in a marital, extramarital or amorous relationship, at any age of life [1]. The goal of the abusive husband is to dominate and control his spouse. For this, he will bring his spouse to feel guilt, doubt, shame, fear and helplessness. To create these impacts, he will use domination strategies such as psychological, verbal, physical, sexual, social and economic violence. The dominant partner is the person responsible for the violence and he is the one who installs and maintains his grip on his spouse while ensuring that she does not leave. Domestic violence is also distinguished by a series of repetitive acts of violence.

Unlike violence, quarrels are part of life. Conflict can be lived in an egalitarian relationship and not just in a marital relationship. It is a source of tension that can affect all kinds of aspects, for example: conflict of values (education of children), conflicts of interest (choice of outings), conflicts of ways of doing things (sharing tasks) etc. Everything can be subject to conflict, but no one uses violence to convey their point of view, to scare the other.

The important thing is to understand the difference between violence and quarrel; in a quarrel, we want to have power over the situation and not the control over the other.

The abusive spouse tries to control the other person, while when two people quarrel, they have a disagreement about an element and each tries to win his point of view, but not at the cost of destroying the other person.

When we take a closer look, we can list several reasons that come into play when a woman who is experiencing domestic violence thinks of ending the relationship. Here are some examples:

• She is hopeful that her spouse will change;
• She is afraid of losing her children, of breaking up the family;
• She is afraid of not having enough money.

If you think you are experiencing violence or are in doubt, you can contact Maison Alice-Desmarais and a counselor will answer your questions. A telephone line is available at any time 450 378-9297.

[1] Gouvernement du Québec (1995). Politique d’intervention en matière de violence conjugale. Prévenir, dépister, contrer. Québec : Gouvernement du Québec. [Government of Quebec (1995). Intervention Policy on Domestic Violence. To prevent, to detect, to counter. Quebec: Government of Quebec.]
Source : Prudhomme, Diane. Violence, conflit ou agressivité : y a-t-il moyen de se démêler? Regroupement des maisons pour femmes victimes de violence conjugale. Conférence dans le cadre du colloque La violence c’est l’affaire de tous, tu peux faire la différence ! 2008. [Source: Prudhomme, Diane. Violence, conflict or aggression: Is there a way to unravel? Grouping houses for women victims of spousal violence. Conference in the context of the conference Violence is everyone’s business, you can make a difference! 2008.]