Women subjected to domestic violence: The impossibility of separation.

In the United States and in France, the figures relating to domestic violence are so alarming that the issue has been the focus of multiple policies related to care and prevention, without seeing any real decline in the phenomenon. Beyond the necessity of denouncing violence linked to gender relations between men and women, these policies must therefore be improved. These findings and other aspects noted by professionals and American and French researchers concerning the extent of the silence of women victims, including the fact that some of these women go back to their violent partner, have led us to explore the role played by psychic factors in this issue. Our study applies to a social context in which women have the economic and legal possibility of being protected from the violent partner. It concerns 30 women whom we interviewed for research purposes, and reveals the extent to which potentially traumatic infantile relationships play a part in the choice of the partner and especially in maintaining the relationship with a man who turns out to be violent. We have identified new factors that make it difficult to separate from the partner, all of which are related to early distress. The bond with the partner thus appears to be a quasidesperate and always unconscious attempt or fantasy to repair one’s own history and to patch up this distress, as in Laurence’s case. These results indicate that enabling these women to unravel these issues is essential in helping them. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)