Violence Defined

Up until recently, the community only intervened in domestic abuse, if at all, after a severe physical beating. This lead to domestic abuse being defined as 'domestic violence', with a strong emphasis on the legal, assault-based, definition of violence. Even today the terms domestic abuse and domestic violence are used interchangeably. This causes confusion, and supports denial. In these pages, traditionally-defined violence is called battering.

Clarity is largely restored however, if we keep in mind Mahatma Gandhi's definition "Anytime we impose our will on another, it is an act of violence." A crucial distinction needs to be made between submission and consent. Consent can only occur where refusal is safe and respected. Casual onlookers can easily overlook the violence in a situation because they see submission and mistake it for consent. A 'well-behaved' survivor is often on the receiving end of considerable 'silent' violence.