The escalation of violence

Part three of six

In the last two articles of this series, I described the four phases of the Cycle of Violence (accumulation, explosion, honeymoon, justification). The definition of violence highlights the central role of control over the victim(s). Violent behaviour has easily identifiable characteristics: the aggressor ignores the destructive impact and negative emotions felt by the victim(s).
Eventually, violent episodes become endless, increasingly frequent and intense, eventually causing the honeymoon phase to disappear. It is essential that victims of violence protect themselves by asking for help from a local support resource (list enclosed).

As we have already seen, who the victim is and where the violence develops determines whether it is affective, organizational/professional or social violence. This article discusses the four forms of violence and the Yukon’s support resources. This column will describe the five principles of violence; but for now, let us return to its four forms:

1. Psychological violence

Psychological violence is the most widespread and painful form of aggression (Yllö & Bograd, 1988), however it is difficult to detect by someone unfamiliar with its definition or its stated premises. The primary elements of psychological violence are control, blame, sulking, denigration and humiliation, harassment, intimidation, manipulation, threats and blackmail, negation, intentional deprivation, simulated indifference, and repeated over/unaccountability that seeks to cause emotional damage (Ouellet, Lindsay, Clément and Beaudoin, 1996).

Importantly, this research has established that so-called verbal violence is not a component or sign of psychological violence, “but a means by which one threatens, denigrates, or manipulates, that is to say the means by which psychological violence is likely to appear” (p. 137) [translated].

Clinical experience also shows us that radio, television and the computer are other means, like verbal dialogue, by which an aggressor can commit violent acts.

2. Physical violence

  • A married couple
  • Between immediate or extended family members
  • Supervisor or manager/employee/or between work colleagues, workers sharing a career, workers in the same trade
  • Organized crime/a predetermined territory
  • Dictator/the people
  • Weapon producers/a country

A second form, always connected to psychological violence, is also the most visible—this is physical violence, which is a simple act of aggression (phase two of the Cycle of Violence). The violent person channels their aggression towards the body of the victim, whether with or without objects, in a direct or indirect way. This hostility could include undesirable touching, pushing, pulling objects or hair, slapping or biting—escalating to extremes such as an acid attack to the victim’s face. While imposing, physical aggression is merely the tip of the iceberg, which is chiefly composed of psychological violence.

3. Sexual violence

Sexual violence occurs when undesired and sexually charged words, actions, or gestures, repeated or not, undermine the dignity or the physical or psychological integrity of a person. This form of aggression is still very hidden, firstly due to the double taboo of “violence/sexuality” and secondly due to its intimate attack of the victim—especially when it occurs in a workplace. According to a March, 2018, article in the Shakat Journal, the sex trade in Whitehorse and in all world cities is an example of this hidden form of aggression, from our societies.

4. Financial violence

Financial violence is “action taken with the goal of harming the victim … to create a situation with financial consequences (Damant, Dompierre and Jauvin, 1997, p. 18) [translated]. This form of aggression is not especially visible since it takes place in a clearly established power dynamic between the aggressor and their victim, such as:

  • A married couple
  • Between immediate or extended family members
  • Supervisor or manager/employee/or between work colleagues, workers sharing a career, workers in the same trade
  • Organized crime/a predetermined territory
  • Dictator/the people
  • Weapon producers/a country

Since the start of this series of articles, the four phases of the Cycle of Violence have been a common recurrence, much like the concepts of control and the characteristics of violent behaviour. Readers are now familiar with the resources available in the Yukon, much like the categories of this social whirlpool. There are four forms of violence: psychological, physical, sexual and financial.

In my next article, I will discuss the five principles that “build” violence as decried. This knowledge will allow you to be a lifelong witness, from near or from afar, to all sorts of violent phenomena, whether at home, at school, at work, while driving your car, in the media or around us in society.

Resources in the Yukon

Whitehorse: 911
Communities: first 3 numbers and 5555

Help and Victim Services
Yukon and Northern B.C.: 1-800-563-0808

24/7 shelters (collect calls)
Carmacks 863-5918
Dawson 993-5086
Ross River 969-2722
Watson Lake 536-7233
Whitehorse 668-5733 / 633-7699 / 667-2693
Whitehorse Les EssentiElles 668-2636

Elder abuse: 1-800-661-0408 x3946

Residential school survivors: 

867-667-2247 (collect)

Yukon Distress & Support Line: 1-844-533-3030

Child support and protection
Atlin 651-7511
Beaver Creek and Burwash Landing 634-2203
Carcross 821-2920
Carmacks 863-5800
Dawson 993-7890
Destruction Bay and Haines Junction 634-2203
Faro 994-2749
Mayo 996-2283
Old Crow 993-7890
Pelly 863-5800
Ross River 969-3200
Teslin 390-2588
Watson Lake 536-2232
Whitehorse 821-2920

Sources: The first pages of your Yukon and Northern British Columbia phone book. 

The website: Surviving in Yukon

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