The main difference between domestic violence and a “couple’s quarrel” is that there is an imbalance in the distribution of power between partners. When there is domestic violence, the episodes of violence are repeated and one partner takes control of the other and engages in harmful behaviours towards them.
- Definition of the Government of Quebec

Couple who quarrel

During a conflict, you feel that:

  • Your partner does not want to take control of you, but they do want to control the outcome of the discussion
  • Both of you can make your points
  • Only the topic is addressed, no other strategy is put in place
  • You are equal to the other person
  • Your partner’s arguments are clear and related to the topic of dispute
  • You can express yourself freely and express your opinion, without fear, even if your opinion differs from theirs
  • The person who instigates the fight can apologize and let go more easily

Spousal violence

During a conflict, you feel that. . .

  • The other person does not consider that you are equal
  • You could experience consequences if you give your opinion on the topic
  • You’re afraid of your partner’s reactions
  • You’re continuously walking on eggs
  • Despite all of your efforts, your partner explodes
  • You are belittled, you feel ashamed and your self-esteem is negatively affected
  • Your partner always has excuses for their behaviour
  • They want direct control over you

Information from
Le Regroupement des maisons pour femmes victimes de violence conjugale. What is the difference between. . .