International Women’s day is on Wednesday 8th March 2023. This is a day celebrated by women (and men) globally, and a chance to celebrate and educate on the rights and successes of women. One important right of a woman is to choose to leave a marriage if she is unhappy. This was only permitted in the early 20th century with the introduction of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1923 enabling women to seek divorce, but only on the basis of their spouse’s adultery (prior to this only men had this right). In further development more than 50 years later, the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 gave women greater rights over assets and property upon divorce, interestingly divorce applications later tripled within a decade. In our experience, we have noted that overall more women than men have applied for a divorce.

Unfortunately, women who seek a divorce can also be victims of domestic abuse. Statistics published by the Women’s Refuge reflect that 1 in 4 women in England and Wales will experience domestic abuse in her lifetime. To put this figure into perspective, if you work with 8 women, 2 of them could be victims of domestic abuse. Can you imagine this of the women you work with? Most likely not, as many women never report their abuse.

Perpetrators of domestic abuse are usually described as narcissistic and misogynistic. These terms are widely used by the public and media, yet many people still do not understand what these characteristics look like in real life. To help women better understand the characteristics of abusers, I will be talking about the typical behaviours associated with narcissism and misogyny.


A narcissist is described a person who has an excessive interest in or admiration of themselves. This definition is not entirely helpful, as noticing whether a person has a high admiration of themselves is difficult. Exploring the behaviours a narcissist displays when dating provides a clearer picture of their characteristic.

Narcissists will often ‘love bomb’ the person they are dating. In real terms they will claim to have fallen in love very fast and make extravagant and over the top declarations of love. The purpose of this is to make the other person feel loved and very special early on in order to trap them in the relationship. Once they feel trapped the narcissist will then begin to reveal their true selves. Can you ever think of a time where someone told you they loved you after a first date?

Additionally, narcissists will try to gaslight the other person in order to always be the person who is right. Gas lighting is a form of brainwashing where you are manipulated into disbelieving your own thoughts and feelings in favour of the other persons. Gas lighting is a powerful tool as if it is used enough times against you, you will begin to internalise gas lighting and question your own thoughts and feelings involuntarily. Have you ever been told, ‘you are just imagining things’ when voicing your valid feelings? That is an example of gas lighting.

Misogyny is described as dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women. Yet misogyny is apparent in day to day words, symbols and life. Do you know a female fireman? Titles such as Miss, Mrs. and Ms. are available for women, but only Mr. for men. Is a woman’s marital status so important to the public? Whilst these examples may not ‘hurt’ women, they reflect the plain prejudice in day to day life that is accepted as normal.

The real risk to women is of course when they are personally attacked by misogyny. Misogynistic partners may restrict a woman’s freedom to work, socialise or even work out, as they perceive women to be their property and therefore their right of movement should be controlled by a male partner. Again this is a typical example of the behaviours perpetrators of abuse engage.

Misogynistic behaviours can also be more subtle that this. An example is a man who talks over women, but would not talk over men. Or is late to appointments with women, but is very punctual to appointments arranged with men. This is a sign of misogyny as a man who behaves this way does not feel that women are important enough to be respected.

If you feel like you are in a relationship with a person described above we would be happy to talk to you and try and help you find a better outcome for yourself. Get in touch with us today. Currently, we are offering a free initial telephone consultation with our family team for new enquires. During this call we will tell you what we can do next to get started. Give our family solicitors, a call now for a friendly chat on 020 8735 9770 or email our family law department at











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