“There are criminals who so gleefully proclaim ‘I killed her because she was mine’, so no more, as if it were a matter of common sense and fairness of all justice. and the right to private property, which makes the man the owner of the woman. . But none, no, even the most masculine of super-men has the courage to admit, “I killed him out of fear”, because in the end, the fear of human violence is the mirror. from fear from one man to another without fear. . “
There is a long history of generations and centuries through which inequalities between men and women have been legitimized, always based on a myriad of arguments: theological, psychological, moral and even biological.
This way of thinking has consecrated multiple forms of aberrant treatment of women, secret treatment and nurtured in the strictest privacy, but today it is frankly impossible to continue to hide this reality.
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First approaches to gender violence
It is very common that when we talk about this subject, the terms are confused and the meanings mixed, so we must first differentiate the dichotomy between violence and aggression, to avoid offering value judgments and making certain stereotypical attributions.
Aggression and violence
So we understand how aggressiveness this innate and adaptive capacity of the human being which guarantees its own survival, while the concept of violence it responds to a set of social values associated with aggression, so in this case we are dealing with maladaptive and socially learned behavior.
When a woman victim of gender violence requires professional intervention, a set of peculiarities must be taken into account so as not to fall into the trap of trivializing her experience, offering contributions that inadvertently blame or arouse in her. a certain feeling of incomprehension. .
Characteristics of gender violence
- The violent event is not the result of an isolated event, because it always happens.
- They are generally invisible, i.e. they appear in a private setting and it is the women themselves who hide from the panic caused by the need to expose their reality.
- Several times the aggressor it offers an impeccable image towards society, Which unfortunately makes the situation difficult to believe or understand.
- Victims feel that the circumstances they are going through are not serious enough to express them publicly, which makes it more difficult to seek outside help.
- All this device is the result of a real inequality between men and women derived from the patriarchal code which still resonates in society today. This code is the same which leads the aggressor to use mechanisms of control and condemnation on the woman.
How does gender-based violence work?
Abuse in a relationship doesn’t just happen overnight, it goes through countless crossroads before the victim can identify the ordeal that will provide the connection to their abuser. According to American psychologist Leonor Walker, violence goes through a three-phase cycle.
When a woman enters the bowels of this circle, it is when she stops visualizing possible escape alternatives and finds herself caught up in the situation. This generates a cognitive dissonance between the enjoyment felt in the relationship and the nameless discomfort he suffers from, because contrary to what we usually think there are not only screams, insults, threats and beatings. , there is also tenderness, affection and sweet details that make the woman blossom at the idea of having finally found the man of her life.
First phase: increase in tension in the torque
In the first phase of the cycle, a nameless discomfort begins to come to life, an increase in tension between the two limbs is perceivedTimid clues are drawn to what will later be aggression, such as screaming and petty fights. The woman accepts this abuse as being rightfully directed against her because she thinks she may be deserving of such an assault.
The assaulted person tries to look for an infinite number of excuses and reasons to understand what is happening, to the point of assuming that by his behavior or his attitude is the one that provoked the anger of his attacker, and the one who perpetuates the cycle the most, he tends to think that over time he will be able to change his partner’s behavior, which is by no means accomplished.
this phase it can last for days, weeks, months or even years before major incidents of aggression occur. From a man’s perspective, he becomes more and more sensitive, annoys everything, gets irritated very easily and gets angry over objectively insignificant things.
Second phase: the fury is unleashed
In the second phase proposed by L. Walker an uncontrollable discharge of tension is felt that have accumulated during the previous phase. There is a lack of control over totally destructive behaviors, the woman admits that the anger of her abuser is out of control but can do nothing to calm it, it is at this stage that the physical aggression or destruction occurs total psychological.
The aggressor is the only one who can put an end to this state. Its duration is approximately 2 to 24 hours, during which the woman is blamed for everything that has happened. It should be noted that this is when the woman is completely susceptible and open to receiving professional help due to the great fear she feels of being abused again.
Third phase: repentance of the aggressor
In the third and last phase before starting the whole cycle again, a state of deep repentance is experienced by the aggressor, Who takes advantage of the victim’s vulnerability to offer docile doses of affection and attention, showing at all times a behavior and attitude of internal grief and remorse.
It is at this moment that the whole cycle of violence is perpetuated, the woman feels again loved and happy, which leads to putting herself in full confidence in her aggressor. The duration of this stage denotes a shorter duration than the first phase but longer than the second, so trying to offer help at this time will not give any positive results, the woman is again deeply in love and subject to the will of his attacker. As the cycle repeats itself, this third phase tends to minimize itself until it finally goes away, at which point the honeymoon ends.
The feeling that there is no way out
The repetition of these cycles is what usually leads to an increase in violence, which translates into a greater danger for women, who begin to think that there is no alternative or possible way out, thus plunging into the deepest abandonment. The truth is that sometimes shocking or traumatic events leave those who experience them entrenched on the day or time they happened, thus activating a state of shock that can cripple all life in a second.
Complaints that end up being withdrawn
It is also the repeated succession of these cycles that is the reason why many women tend to withdraw their complaints and even many want to come back with their abusers to resume the relationship, a situation that most people never understand.
On the occasion of the day against gender violence
We must not promote no to gender-based violence one day a year, it must be a constant speaker to reach those ears which have lost all will to go forward, the first step must be to make us aware of how this fabric which subtly surrounds its victim is woven and evolved.
“More than 30,000 women appear as victims of gender-based violence in the 32,023 complaints filed in court. Applications for protection orders increased by more than 9%. The President of the Observatory, Ángeles Carmona, understands that the increase in complaints and convictions may reveal a greater social and institutional awareness of gender-based violence ”
(Judicial communication, October 19, 2015)