The aggressor label sticks to David Chan’s skin. Long inhabited by anger and rage, he hit the bottom after hitting his girlfriend. The 30-year-old shares his way to the cross to make violence a thing of the past, hoping to inspire other violent people to seek the help they need.
“This woman [une de ses ex-copines] deserves everything he wants [dans la vie]. She did not deserve my anger, which I had accumulated over so many years. She is the one who got all my accumulations. “Now I wish him the best of life,” said the 34-year-old.
David Chan agrees to lift the veil of temptation he caused to pass what he wanted, in the hope of encouraging other violent people to realize that it is their duty to seek help.
At first glance, David Chan does not look very different from other men his age.
He leads a regular suburban life at his home in Brossard. He works at Costco as a clerk. In his spare time, he teaches breakdance at a studio in the South Shore.
Behind this smiling and passionate face hides a troubled past, accompanied by violence.
Labels to wear
“It’s a label [celle d’agresseur] that is above me. It’s not easy. I have no problem talking about it. “I want to show people that it’s not me anymore,” he said.
“It was me before,” he admits. I accepted. forgive yourself. Now I have changed and I need to move. »
David Chan spent most of his youth in Montreal and Brossard, on the South Coast.
His parents separated when he was only two years old. He was raised mainly by his mother. It was only at the age of 14 that he transferred with his father.
But he is never far from his four-year-old brother, who has always been his best friend. His mentor.
However, Mr. Chan says he saw many violent scenes during his childhood. It is enough to want to bury those memories away and not think about them anymore. At least that’s what he thought … Until he realized that he himself was very aggressive and impulsive.
As an adult, David Chan had a troubled relationship with a boyfriend with whom he was very much in love.
After just a few months of bonding, he has already raised his hand over it three times.
He no longer understands himself. He knows full well that despite the situation or the words his girlfriend may have said to him, no one deserved to be slapped. never.
An alarm signal lights up in it.
Troubled, unhappy, ashamed, and above all guilty, David Chan then decides, alone, to go to group therapy.
The organization Entraide pour hommes, on the south coast of Montreal, turned out to be a revelation for him. A buoy to catch.
Thanks to this support group, he realizes that he himself has been a victim of violence. And, that he needs help to end the cycle of violence.
He then engages in an initial 20-week therapy, which he compares to “his medicine”.
The end of the barrel
But after only nine weeks of therapy, he finally arrived. He shakes his girlfriend’s neck.
This is superfluous for him, which shortly after ends their relationship. It was the best thing to do, admits the ballerina, looking back.
Now alone, David Chan is convinced that he will never succeed in mitigating the violence that inhabits him. This is evidenced by the latest episode of violence against his ex-girlfriend, he thinks.
A bit like a drug addict, he fears he will not be able to live without “his drugs”, i.e. violence.
Despite everything, inhabited by the desire to grow and change, he does not give up group sessions.
“Throughout the post-event hearing, I just cried. “I was discouraged,” he said.
He then understands a few things, on the testimonies of other men like him, heard in therapy.
Week after week, he realizes that many of them had managed to build a new life without violence, despite the pitfalls encountered. And many of them had already returned.
“Entraide pour hommes taught me to express myself better, to fully understand what communication was between two people. “It’s easy to say he or she is aggressive, but when that happens, it’s hard to manage if you’re not well equipped.”
Since then, just like an alcoholic or a compulsive gambler, David Chan has learned every day to manage his inner demons.
“I have been inciting violence for a long time. This was my essence. On the first day of therapy I thought about who I was without this rage, without this rage. It scared me to tell myself that I no longer needed to defend myself. It was my means of defense. It was my armor. I did not know who I was without my violence, he says. They taught me who I was [en thérapie]. »
That past is now behind him, he assures. Even that he finds it hard to believe that he has already been the main actor in various horror scenes. He is convinced that he will never raise his hand to a woman again. However, he knows he will work his whole life to control his explosive side.
He learns to manage his impulsiveness and rage every day with the tools he has been taught.
Now, when he gets angry, he pulls back, breathes, jumps.
Jumping helps him a lot. When he sees young people dancing, he rejoices. It is his passion. It is tangible. He would like each of his students to believe in him. He wishes them happiness, but also tries to teach them to sow the good around them.
Fear of being in a relationship again
David Chan continues therapy and private meetings. He is better equipped, constantly reads books to push his thoughts and better understand his past. But he knows the next step will not be easy.
Be it meeting a woman who will accept her past.
“I’m afraid to be in a relationship. I do not know what to say, how to say it, I’m afraid to make a bad move and the person will react. I have a great fear of rejection. Today I want to live honestly without hiding anything. So there are women who told me about the violence and to whom I told the truth and left me. Some immediately removed me from Facebook. “It is difficult, it is not easy to live with this, even if it is no longer me,” he concludes.
If he fears his future girlfriend’s reaction to his past, he is confident he will never hit a woman again.
David Chan wants to bring it back one day. He wants to help men who struggle with violence to limit family and marital dramas.
He is convinced that everyone can find the right path, but not only. Going for help.
In Quebec, in 2015 (latest data available)
- 19,406 persons have been victims of crimes against the person in the marital context
- 78% were women
- 22% were male
- 8 times out of 10 suspected perpetrators of domestic violence are male
* Source National Institute of Public Health