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Can a violent partner ever change?

Louisa Compton | 09:33 UK time, Tuesday, 21 July 2009

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Chris Brown has apologised publicly for the first time for assaulting his former girlfriend, Rihanna. The R&B star, who has pleaded guilty to the attack, says he accepts full responsibility for his actions and wants to express his deepest regret. He'll be formally sentenced next month to five years probation with six months of community labour. He'll also be ordered to complete a year of domestic violence classes.

Chris Brown says there are no excuses for what happened and this his actions were inconsistent with the way he's tried to live his life.

So can a once violent partner change their behaviour? Women's Aid say although it is possible, it's not very common.

Lots of you have been getting in contact to tell us your experiences. We've heard some powerful and moving stories. Some of you have been asking us who you can get in contact with for help. We've set up a BBC Action Line which you can call - 0800 055 055

You could also try the following organisations:-

Samaritans, Women's Aid, and Temper a group which helps people who commit domestic abuse.

Listen to the whole show again on BBC iPlayer


  • 1. At 10:14am on 21 Jul 2009, digitalyasmin wrote:

    Chris brown only cares about himself if he felt so regrettful why did he plead not guilty initially a man that loses his temper that why can do it again once i was beaten by a man and i left straight away no second chances.

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  • 2. At 10:25am on 21 Jul 2009, jimmy-dean-2009 wrote:

    there is no excuse resort to violence on a woman or anybody for that matter sure we all get angry from time to time and swear at each other but thats as far as it should go if you cant control your emotions and have the life and social skills to talk about your diffrences you need to seek help people as for the victims of domestic violence they should get out of the relationship and never go back

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  • 3. At 10:32am on 21 Jul 2009, amphibiousjulest wrote:

    I was amazed by the contibution of David, and his comments about feminists. It seems some people will always find a way to make a man abusing a woman either the woman's or womens fault. Next someone will say it was the way these men's mother's treated them. Men are responsible for their own actions.

    Julie Leicester

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  • 4. At 10:43am on 21 Jul 2009, Peter1970 wrote:

    And women are responsible for their actions in comitting 50% of all domestic abuse.

    Gien that today's children are raised without male role models, in fatherless households and in a feminised society, the evidence would tend to suggest that women are to blame for creating the problem. Just a thought.

    Did Brown assault the girl or was it a fair fight that she lost.

    One is a crime and the other is just part of life. Not pleasant but it happens get over it.

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  • 5. At 11:00am on 21 Jul 2009, Suzanne wrote:

    Peter1970 - Did you know you've just shown typical abusive behaviour? Blaming the woman, either for what she's done, or said, or for the state of the world in general, is something all female survivors of domestic abuse have to live with. Oh, and my children are fatherless because of this very issue. But I bet you think I should have toughened up and taken it, right? For the sake of the children?

    Good call amphibiousjulest!

    I don't believe abusive partners can change, even if they want to and accept help. It's always there, bubbling beneath the surface.

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  • 6. At 11:03am on 21 Jul 2009, LeeStagles wrote:

    May I have the website address for 'temper', please. Come on BBC, please offer something to angry/aggressive Men.

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  • 7. At 11:27am on 21 Jul 2009, Suzanne wrote:

    I'm sorry, Victoria, but I can't listen to your show. I'm shaking and crying with anger. That guy, didn't catch his name, needs serious help.

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  • 8. At 11:35am on 21 Jul 2009, Brom78 wrote:

    Why is it always the man's fault? I don't think violence in a relationship is ever the answer but isnt a woman (or a man) having constant affairs also a form of psychological abuse?

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  • 9. At 2:41pm on 21 Jul 2009, Binkie wrote:

    This subject has become a media ( with a feminist agenda ) obsession, highlighting men attacking women.There is mostly two sides to every story.I don't condone it either way but women can become just as violent in a relationship, a subject that it not talked about enough.Unfortunately men are just supposed to take whatever is thrown at them and accept it.

    Has this ever been discussed on Victoria's show ?

    I very much doubt it.

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  • 10. At 4:18pm on 21 Jul 2009, 4aBetterFuture wrote:

    Everyone has the power to choose to create a better future for themselves - so Yes an abusive partner can change although there are a number of obstacles so most do not and just keep on to repeating the same behavior with other women.
    Step 1 is to recognise there is a problem and only you are responsible for your actions (ie you are able to choose your responses to events). David on your program was blaming his victim so is still as a big a threat as before.
    Step 2 Decide you want to change
    Step 3 Find appropriate help
    as it is not easy to overcome social conditioning to go "from hood to doing good" especially if you remain in the same environment to be bombarded by the same triggers like TV soaps, alcohol etc
    Step 4 Identify the beliefs, in you, that trigger the cycle of behaviors that result in abusive & violent actions
    Step 5 Identify the triggers that start the cycle
    Step 6 Learn to break the old patterns and choose to replace them with more appropriate methods of coping with events in your life.

    Humans are habitual creatures that run the same programs, like getting into abusive relationships or spending more than your income, over and over until you either die or learn to replace the programs your have accumulated from role models; repetition or during significant emotional events (eg sex, birth, bereavement ) or when in a hypnotic state- when 3 or more of your senses are engaged - with positive words & images and new ways to react to the meaning you choose to give events that are beneficial.

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  • 11. At 5:11pm on 21 Jul 2009, Ian_Nottm wrote:

    Suzanne, I'm sorry that you feel so very angry about listening to that broadcast. It seems that listening has brought back the pain from your experience which is, it seems, yet to be resolved.
    That man clearly had a problem, sadly, the anger of those women who were incensed by his problem (possibly for the same reason) denied him the opportunity of airing his problem. How can he acknowledge his problem if noone listens to him? Yes, it may trigger anger in others.
    That is their anger and not his anger. His anger and noone else's is his problem. In the same way that my sadness, and anger that he was denied the opportunity to listen is my sadness, my anger, my issue.
    Noone wants this sort of violence to happen, however, without communicating effectively, and acknowledging our own issues, these scenarios will, inevitably, continue.

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  • 12. At 01:11am on 22 Jul 2009, Dutch-Jack wrote:

    There are disagreements and fights in every relationship. This is normal. A relationship without fights is an unhealthy one. But the moment one raises ones hand to ones partner, you lost. As human beings we should be able to work things out by mouth. Tell each other if you don't agree with your partner, talk it out and don't keep it in. This creates anger and this bubbles deep inside.
    To PETER1970: You can't demand respect, you have to earn it. True, not only man are course of domestic violence but musclepower is sooooo powerless. think about this.
    Girls, if you are in a violant relationship: get out of it. Me as a man, I dont believe in change. A violant man will allways be a violant man.

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