Psychologist: “The aggressor will always remain an aggressor.” 40% of Romanians do not know that domestic violence is punishable by law

The latest national study on domestic violence comes with alarming numbers. 40% of Romanians have not yet learned that this type of behavior is punishable by law, and 46% are or have been victims of physical aggression. Everything, in the context in which 97% of respondents condemn such acts. Psychologist Keren Rosner explained to “Truth” the real reasons behind these figures.

Domestic violence, a way of life in Romania. Photo source: archive

Although Romanians do not agree with physical violence, many of them practice it on a large scale, especially in the family. The reason? In the consciousness of many, this type of behavior is a way of life, an inherited principle that spreads like a disease over generations. “Domestic violence also comes from the family”, psychologist Keren Rosner explained the phenomenon. “Children who live in families where there is violence will perpetuate the same type of behavior in their own families. Boys become aggressors and girls victims of aggression. To the latter, such a life seems normal“, the specialist also specified. “This is how they grew up, these are the mental patterns that have internalized. And consider this behavior as normal”.

We are talking about a true vicious circle confirmed by the latest statistics: according to a national study, 97% of Romanians condemn physical violence, 70% have heard or know cases of domestic violence, and 40% do not know that such acts are punishable by law. But, the psychologist points out, victims of any type of abuse should know that they can get help. “There are state institutions they can turn to, laws that protect them, victims must know they have rights. Most of the time they are isolated from family, friends, they are forced by their partner to lead a limited life. There is no one to tell them how to proceed, no one to teach them what to do, who to turn to and who to ask for help”.

It is also the reason why only 4% of those surveyed acted in this sense and alerted the authorities. In contrast, 75% of those who witness domestic violence choose not to get involved. The reason? They generally feel that it is none of their business or that it might violate the privacy of that family. And more than half (52%) treat tense situations in a couple superficially, especially if the partners later reconcile.

Why women stay in abusive relationships

And the numbers don't stop there: 10% of Romanians were or are victims of domestic abuse. Why don't I get out of these toxic relationships? For several reasons, explains the psychologist. “First of all, the fear of repercussions, the thought that the partner will become even more violent. That he will take revenge. Then, the victims fear that they will not be able to manage on their own, that they will not be able to support themselves. There are also those cases where women live, many of them, with the hope that the aggressor will change his behavior. The reason? They act according to a certain pattern: at first they accumulate frustrations, then they vent through aggression, then there are regrets and the promise that they will not do it again. The victim is gullible every time, although a aggressor he will never change his behavior. An aggressor will remain an aggressor“, psychologist Keren Rosner also stated.

The specialist wanted to specify one more aspect: women stay in toxic and abusive relationships also because they are induced to believe that they are actually the main culprits for everything that happens. “You made me become violent, you are to blame for the behavior I have, I don't want to be like that but you force me, you are the factor that causes me to be aggressive, if you were otherwise, if you changed, I would become a different person. Over time, this distorted, erroneous idea becomes an absolute truth for the abused woman. Accept that you are the trigger, you have a problem and not the other person. Because you generate everything that happens to you”.

For the majority of Romanians, the figures also show, domestic violence primarily represents direct physical aggression, and 97% of respondents consider it completely unacceptable. In contrast, only 79% of them believe that domestic violence of any kind is completely unacceptable. It is defined as an intentional act of physical, sexual, psychological, economic, social, spiritual or cyber violence that occurs in the family environment. Thus, as forms of domestic violence move away from the physical side, the public tends to take a more lenient approach in judging them. “Although the victims live in a continuous territory regardless of the abuse they are subjected to”, says the psychologist.

Domestic violence does not take social status into account

The study highlights another aspect: Romanians' perception of the family from the perspective of power relations. 60% of those surveyed believe that the man leads the family and sometimes he needs to be more firm. The psychologist believes that this type of behavior is much better masked in families with a certain social status. “Domestic violence does not take into account intellectual level or social status. It can occur in any family. And in families of intellectuals, with a high social condition, this behavior is as if even more virulent, and better masked by both partners. And that's because the social image matters a lot to them. The aggressor has a dual behavior, and so does the victim.” explains the specialist.

Alcohol abuse is considered the biggest cause of domestic violence (35%), followed by infidelity (28%). “Fthe triggers of aggressive behavior are the aggressor's own traumas. His beliefs blown out of proportion, his behavior totally inappropriate.“, says the psychologist.

Regarding the eradication of domestic violence, 90% of the survey participants believe that the police should intervene in such cases, and strict laws and public information are the most important mechanisms for reducing the phenomenon. “If victims, most of them do not know their rights, the aggressors know that they could be punished by the law. We are talking about acts of violence and anyone with such behavior knows there are consequences. But precisely because the aggressor has that feeling of absolute power, because he manipulates and dominates his victims, he feels safe, as if nothing can touch him. They terrorize their victim in such a way as to ensure that they will not make any attempt to divulge their behavior“, psychologist Keren Rosner also declared.