If I didn't respond to his texts in less than 5 mins, it was a total crisis. I had to stop on the road or spend my time in the bathroom at work to answer him. I was reprimanded at work and almost lost my job... it was so stressful...
Woman | Survivor | 29 years old
It took me a long time to realize that I wasn't the problem. I thought for a long, long time that it was my behaviour that was causing my partner's violence. He always had an explanation for his violence, and that explanation was always me. He said that I was «bringing out the worst in him».
Woman | Survivor | 31 years old
I've never been physically abused... or even verbally abused. Everything was subtle... angry stares... sighs... silences... absences... infidelity... extreme tension as soon as I didn't «submit». It was heavy, so heavy. The children also felt it, I saw them «crushed» in front of their father... it broke my heart. It lasted 28 years. I had 3 «depressions» which I understand today as exhaustion in the face of all the heaviness I carried day after day. I sometimes hoped that he would hit me... at least then I would have been certain that it was violence.
Woman | Survivor | 62 years old
Frequently asked questions
Of course! When you contact SOS you will have a chance to talk with someone who will help you see more clearly into your situation. You don't have to be certain that what's going is in fact, violence. Regardless of the situation that is causing concern with your partner, SOS is there to help you connect with the resources that can assist and support you in figuring it out.
We are very familiar with the experiences of victims of intimate partner violence and know that the decision to leave or stay with a violent partner is not an easy one. It involves numerous issues, including safety, and it's a decision that can only be made by the person directly involved in the situation. Therefore, we never exert pressure of any kind, whether to leave or to stay in a relationship.
A victim who does not want to leave a violent partner can still obtain assistance and support of various kinds. For instance, even if she does not want to go to a shelter, she can have receive services on an eternal basis and gain access to a safe-space where she can discuss her situation, be understood, rebuild her self-esteem and self-confidence and regain a sense of her own strength. This will improve her quality of life even though she is still living in the violent situation. She can also join a support group, get assistance in her role as a parent, receive material and food assistance, etc.
Therefore, it is completely appropriate for a conjugal violence victim who has decided to stay with her partner to contact SOS violence conjugale for support.
When one examines one's relationship in hindsight, it is often quite easy to identify the subtle violence and manipulation present from the beginning of the relationship. One may then feel shame and guilt for not having "seen the signs" and «realized» the trap, or for not having «reacted» quickly enough. But this is only visible in hindsight.
In reality, it would have been extremely difficult, if not impossible, to identify violence at the beginning of the relationship, since the subtle violent behaviours were skillfully camouflaged through manifestations of love. It is only by knowing what happened next that we can now see more clearly the psychological violence and manipulation at the beginning of the relationship. It is also important to remember that it is normal (and healthy) to have believed in a partner's good faith, to have given them the benefit of the doubt, to have accepted their apology, and to have believed in them and their potential for change. It is the abuser who chooses to use the victim's qualities of openness and trust against her... and thus remains solely responsible for the dynamics of spousal abuse.
We are available to discuss this, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Of course. SOS violence conjugale's services are provided to anyone who is concerned about a situation of domestic violence, regardless of their sex, sexual orientation, age, ethnic background, etc.
When you contact SOS violence conjugale, you don't have to commit to taking any action. We know that every situation is different and that many issues are at stake and make decisions very difficult. There is no «one» path when dealing with intimate partner violence. One «solution» can be helpful in one situation and harmful in another. We will be there to offer you our understanding and resources that can accompany you according to your needs and wishes.