Dynamics of domestic violence
Main cause of domestic violence

Domestic violence is about power and control when the abuser wants to gain and keep control over the victim-survivor. In abusive relationships, the abuser wants to dominate the other partner and uses violence to keep power over the latter.

The main cause of domestic violence against women is the unequal power relationship between men and women. The man wants to dominate the woman to gain and keep control and power over her. This abuse of power and control by man is rooted in the patriarchal premise of male privilege.

Hence, domestic violence against women can be seen as resulting from inequalities between men and women rooted in patriarchy that encourages men to believe they are entitled to power and control over women.

Aggravating factors

It is important to keep in mind that the main cause of domestic violence against women is abuse of power and control. All the other factors can be seen as aggravating ones such as:

  • Alcoholism: people use their drunken state as an excuse to beat their spouse. But they rarely hit their male drinking companions and not all abusers are alcoholics. Furthermore, many people who drink too much do not abuse their partners
  • Drugs: People use drugs as an excuse for being violent. Likewise, not all people who are under the influence of drugs abuse their partners and there are also people who are drug dependent but who are not violent
  • Financial problems and unemployment: People hide behind financial problems and unemployment to justify their violent acts; because they do not have money they abuse their partner. There are rich people who abuse their spouse and not all people who do not work and who do not have money are violent.
  • Lack of control: Domestic violence is about gaining control and not about lack of control. Furthermore, there is a difference between anger and aggression
  • Intervention of in-laws: In Mauritius there are not only nuclear and extended families but also a hybrid family type where husband, wife and children live in a family unit on the same plot of land as the in-laws. This proximity often exacerbates the competition between the mother in law and daughter in law and also encourages the intervention of in-laws in the couple's relationships
  • Marriage customs
  • Adultery
  • Trivialisation of domestic violence
  • Religious and cultural beliefs, traditions and customs