Humiliation, denigration, threats, blackmail or obsessive control – last year, Belgian police received 15,912 reports of such psychological violence between partners.
In the first three months of 2019, there were no less than 3,600 reports, averaging at over 43 cases per day, according to federal police statistics that were reported on Monday.
“People tend to underestimate psychological violence and its significant consequences,” said Mieke De Schepper of Movement Against Violence. “Yet it is just as damaging as physical violence. Just because its effects are less visible does not mean that it does not leave deep wounds or trauma. The lack of physical evidence also complicates the victim’s call for help.”
Psychological abuse between spouses has been common for several years and the actual number of cases is probably even higher, De Schepper said. “Research shows that only 3.3% of victims file complaints and do so only after two years of living in such a manipulative relationship.”