According to WHO, violence is the intentional use of physical force, threats to others or to oneself, against a group or community, that results in or is highly likely to result in trauma, psychological damage, developmental problems or death.
There are different types of violence:
- physical violence: for example: assault, injury,.....
- sexual violence: for example: abuse, touching, rape, etc.; within a married or unmarried couple
- verbal abuse: for example: insults, intimidation, humiliation, etc.
- emotional abuse: for example: checking comings and goings, monitoring the mobile phone, the partner asks for passwords, is excessively jealous, isolates you from your friends/family, etc.
- economic violence: for example: borrowing money without paying back, preventing people from working,...
- cyber-violence: for example, humiliation of a person on social networks, on youtube or other, damage to someone's reputation, cyber-harassment, etc.
- gender-based violence: power asymmetry between genders; for example: female genital mutilation, forced marriage, restricted access to education, etc.
Violence can affect men or women, can occur within a couple, married or unmarried, between members of a sibling, between members of a family, between strangers, in school or out of school, in short, it can be found in all living spaces.
About sexual violence
47% of Belgians have already been victims of sexual violence (Amnesty, 2020). So this is not a simple exception...
But what do we mean by sexual violence? This may involve forcing a non-consenting person to have sexual relations (if there is penetration, it is qualified as a rape; if not, it will be qualified as an attack on sexual integrity), but also to film or photograph a person in their privacy without their knowledge, or to distribute this content without their permission (revenge porn), but also to make repeated requests and insistent of a sexual nature. We then speak of harassment. Of course, all these behaviors are punishable by law, but unfortunately very few of them lead to a sentence, for lack of evidence: only 4% of rape complaints result in a conviction (source: Theok-consent.com)
Conversely, sexual consent is the expression of a free and informed choice. (i.e. not under the influence of any substance, threat or other form of pressure or intimidation) for everyone involved. Not speaking up or not saying no does NOT mean consent is given. So the question is not so much whether a person says "no", but rather whether a person says "yes" (source: Theok-consent.com). This is all the more important since the state of amazement that can set in on the victim of aggression prevents any verbal or non-verbal reaction. And as the "cup of tea" video humorously illustrates, consent can be withdrawn at any time!
Unfortunately, even if it looks simple on paper, the reality is sometimes more complicated… This is called the gray area. These are all situations in which the people concerned are in uncertainty, vagueness: the other has not said no, but the person opposite does not really know whether the other has said yes, or if he.she may have changed her mind. Often, resorting to the gray area excuse of consent is part of what is known as rape culture.
Some aggressors use this gray area to relieve themselves of guilt, which conversely makes the victims feel even more guilty. As Amnesty's #Jdiwi campaign clearly means: "If you hesitate between yes and no, ask him.her the question!"
For several years, we have heard more and more about bullying. A nice comic strip has been created to illustrate it. This is the “crocodile project”, accessible online. Whether as a victim or as a witness, it is not always easy to react to a situation of harassment or aggression. A mini online training can give you some leads: www.standup-international.com
Are you a victim or witness of violence? The first step out of it is to talk about it!
In our planning centre in Saint Josse, caring professionals welcome you: psychologists, marriage counsellors, social workers, lawyers. Do not hesitate to contact us or come on site, we will be able to discuss the situation with you.
- By telephone: 0800 98 100 - free and anonymous hotline for victims and/or their entourage and/or witnesses from Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- By email: email@example.com
- Online chat Monday and Friday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Wednesday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.: www.sosviol.be/
- Psychological, social and legal consultations by appointment: Rue Coenraets 23, 1060 Saint-Gilles
Sexual Violence Victims Care Center (24 hours a day): A victim can receive the following care:
Medical care: both care for injuries and lesions, but also examination and treatment of any physical, sexual or reproductive consequences.
Psychological support: the first psychological care (active listening, information about normal reactions after a distressing event and how to cope) and psychological support by a psychologist from the CPVS.
Forensic investigation: the observation of injuries, the search for biological traces of the alleged perpetrator, the collection of evidence that could be used when the person files a complaint and appeals to the courts.
If desired, filing a complaint with the police, through an inspector, specially trained for morality.
Follow-up: medical follow-up, possibly for the medication you are taking or for the injuries you have suffered. Psychological follow-up to help you deal with the incident.
- Arranged, forced, precocious, customary marriage? The Marriage and Migration Network is a network of reflection and action that fights against all forms of marriages - forced, early, arranged, customary, therapeutic - of violence related to honor and of conjugal and intra-family violence in a migratory context, which can deprive men and women of their freedom of choice.