In most cases, physical violence is perpetrated in the close social environment of women affected (domestic violence). Violence often starts as a slow and treacherous process involving transgressions that cross a given line. The women affected often do not perceive it as such for a long time. Repeated physical attacks within the context of partner relationships are not rare.
Affected women react very differently to experiences of violence. How women cope with the violence experienced depends, for instance, on earlier experiences of violence or on the existence of a supportive social network.
Many of the women affected feel helpless. They are ashamed and afraid of further attacks. Women often conceal the fact that they have experienced physical violence and try to hide the physical injuries. Some are looking for excuses for possibly visible injuries. Many victims – but also outsiders – play down the attack, blame themselves or place at least part of the blame for what has happened on themselves. For example, they excuse the attack by saying that they provoked the assailant.