The Cycle Of Domestic Violence

by Patti Austin
Domestic violence, like any other situations in life, has a cycle. The cycle tells us why and how victims stay with their abuser and in the abusive relationship. Here's the pattern that the cycle of domestic violence has proven: As the violence levitates, the time between the stages abates. And as the tension develops, so does the number of occurrences of beatings and of false gestures of love. It may take from a few hours to a year or a few more years for the cycle to complete and the time, which the stages last may vary. Incident. Abuse is not an isolated incident. There is a pattern and it's frequency and gravity increases over time. Therefore, it is important to take advantage of the predictability of the abusive behavior and to consider even the littlest form of abuse as a serious threat. (1) Any type of abuse occurs (physical/sexual/emotional) to you and other family members. Tension Building. The tension between the couple builds up at the first stage, which leads to arguments and occurs a number of times. During this state of deep-seated ill-will, the victim knows what will happen if she or he didn't submit to the demands of the abuser. (1) Abuser starts to get angry; (2) Abuse may begin such as the battering incidents and verbal assaults; (3) There is a breakdown of communication; (4) Victim feels the need to keep the abuser calm; (5) Victim believes that it is possible to control the abuser by appeasing him and by being submissive; (6) Tension becomes too much; (7) Victim feels like they are walking on egg shells. Making-Up. This is the stage that the abuser will feel bad about the pain he/she has caused to the victim. The abuser will suddenly become loving again and will show empathy to the victim to rebuild its trust. However, the abuser is really not sorry about what he/she did, and will instead, blame the victim for what happened. (1) Abuser may apologize for abuse; (2) Abuser may promise it will never happen again; (3) Abuser may blame the victim for causing the abuse; (4) Abuser may deny abuse took place or say it was not as bad as the victim claims. Calm. At this stage the abuser becomes the nicest person you ever met again. The abuser will be sweet and loving again, giving his/her victim flowers, chocolates or so, to win back the love. At this point, the abuser acts nothing has happened and everything's back to norm. (1) Abuser acts like the abuse never happened; (2) Physical abuse may not be taking place; (3) Promises made during making-up may be met; (4) Victim may hope that the abuse is over; (5) Abuser may give gifts to victim. The abuser follows a psychological compulsion pattern, this is what the cycle of domestic violence has proven. Most victims can actually anticipate a sudden and severe onset of trouble, since it has occurred to them many times. However, not all abusive relationships fit the cycle. One may or may not experience all the stages. More often than not, the last two stages... the making-up and calm, may disappear as the violence goes on and on. Advocacy groups and crises centers are established based on informative research and studies. In response to this cycle of domestic violence, legal courts are able to understand and gain insight on the behavior of both parties.

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