Man shouting at a woman

Who is responsible

Domestic violence is the misuse of power to gain control over another person.


“You are not responsible for the violent behaviour. No matter how much you try to please a person who uses violence, it is likely the violence will continue.”


People who use violence will try to justify it and blame it on other things.

Stress, alcohol, illness, loss of control… none of these things are the cause of abuse and domestic violence even if they are part of the picture. If somebody chooses to drink, knowing they get violent when using alcohol, then they are choosing violence.

The main person they blame will be you. You said or did something wrong. You didn’t do what they wanted. You didn’t do it right or at the right time. Yet somebody who is violent to their partner is usually able to choose not to be violent with everyone or anyone else. They choose to be violent towards the person or people closest to them. They choose the form of violence, how severe it is, and how long it goes on for.

All of these factors are choices:

  • Choice of who to hurt
  • Choice of when to hurt
  • Choice of how to hurt.

It is a choice to use physical, sexual, emotional and/or spiritual abuse. The motivation behind this choice is to get their own way – to make you do something, stop you from doing something, or to punish you. It is very likely they are not violent in any other situation.

The pattern of abuse and domestic violence is that is wears you down, reducing your self-confidence and making you question your own sanity. Then they blame you for their violence and because you are increasingly worn down, you may start to believe them.

But violence is a choice. It is not your fault.


If you’re experiencing family or domestic violence you can call MensLine Australia on 1300 78 99 78, access online counselling or visit 1800RESPECT.