"Love is crazy, love is blind" : the slow and fragile recognition of psychological violence against women in intimate partner relationships in Europe

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Chretien, Lorraine
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Violence against women seems to be a serious problem only when associated with mass murders and rape in time of armed conflict, femicide, honour crimes and other brutal treatments inflicted to women. Although those forms of violence are significant, we have to bear in mind that in all countries, women are also subject to daily violence just because they are women. In the majority of cases, this violence takes the shape of psychological violence and is inflicted by the closest and more loved person: the partner. Whether he is an ex-husband or a current non-cohabitant partner, all those privileged individuals are inclined, because of patriarchal views and stereotypes, to exert on their partner an invisible violence making the victim lose all self-esteem and live in a climate of constant fear. Psychological violence often portend physical violence, when not used simultaneously. European people are not spared: such violence infiltrates all economic and geographical spheres without any exception. Taking into account this reality, the Council of Europe considered necessary to harmonise the legislation of the Member-States on the topic, asking for a global criminalisation of acts of violence against women. The Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, not yet into force at the time of this thesis, has the innovative specificity of being legally-binding. Although this Convention contains a provision condemning psychological violence, ratifying States have the possibility to reserve the right to provide for non criminal sanctions. Therefore, after analysing the current legislative developments in Spain, France and Sweden on the matter, I will emphasise the importance of having a criminal offence condemning psychological violence nowadays in Europe.
Second semester University: Lund University
domestic violence, Europe, psychological violence, violence against women