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What is Domestic Violence? Domestic Violence, also known as Domestic Abuse, Intimate Partner Violence, Relationship Violence and Spousal Abuse affects more than 1 out of every 3 women and 1 out of every 4 men. (The American Psychological Association)
Domestic abuse is a cycle of violence that increases in severity and frequency over time. The abuse can be physical, emotional, economic, sexual or social.
The Power and Control Wheel demonstrates the tactics used by abusive men in their attempts to gain control over their wives or girlfriends. These tactics are in stark contrast to the characteristics found in a healthy relationship, as shown on the Equality Wheel (off-site link to a blog containing the image).
The Abusers Abusers tend to have issues with jealousy, insecurity and depression, which results in their quest for power and control within their intimate relationships. Chemical dependency on the part of the abuser plays a role in 50-70% of domestic violence cases.
Some common traits among abusers are: Refusal to accept responsibility for his behavior and/or blaming others (“If you didn’t make me so angry, I wouldn’t have said/done that.”) Denial of abuse, addiction or other problems. (“I don’t need counseling. Counseling is for wackos.” “I’m not abusive. We just fight sometimes. All couples do that.”) History of violence in family of origin.
The Victims The Abused tend to have problems with low self-esteem, depression and anxiety. Most often, these feelings are the result of being in the abusive relationship, rather than the cause of it.
The effects of domestic violence include lowered self-esteem, guilt, anxiety, depression, feelings of hopelessness and shame. In some cases, women will suffer from PTSD. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is characterized by flashbacks, nightmares, sleep disturbances, bouts of uncontrollable crying, holes in memory, apathy, emotional numbness, hyper-vigilance, feeling edgy and an inability to concentrate.
It is a good idea for the victim to get counseling as soon as possible, especially those suffering from PTSD. Check in your area for a counselor or therapist who has experience counseling domestic violence survivors. Many women’s shelters offer free individual and group counseling.
Victim Witness provides counseling-related financial assistance and legal advocacy to victims of domestic violence. Call your local police department or women’s shelter.
The dangers of staying in an abusive relationship. The cycle of violence that occurs in abusive relationships continues to worsen in severity and increase in frequency. The longer the abuse continues, the worse it gets. The longer you stay in the violent relationship, the greater your chances for severe injury and death.
In addition to the danger of physical injury is the spiritual, emotional and mental damage caused by continued exposure to violence and abuse. Many women (and their children) suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a result of this exposure.
Living in an abusive home is never good for anyone. Though it is hard to see when you are in the midst of the relationship, there are other options. If you are currently being abused, contact your local women’s shelter, police department or victim advocate for help now.
The ‘Other’ Victims Children who witness violence in the home are victims of a secondary form of child abuse because they are exposed to the violence that is perpetrated by their fathers against their mothers. These children experience many of the same effects as children who are direct victims of the violence.
Children who witness this type of violence are prone to a decreased ability to concentrate, flashbacks, confusion, self-blame, fear, guilt, sleep disturbances, lack of trust, social withdraw and substance abuse. In addition, these children are learning how to have abusive relationships as adults.
Children who live in homes with domestic violence are also more likely to be abused themselves. In a national survey, it was found that 50% of the men who abuse their wives also frequently assault their children. (Templeton, G., 2002)
If you are in an abusive relationship and have children, child protective services can take custody of your children. Please take action to protect them- and you. The Cycle of Violence From The Battered Woman by Lenore Walker, 1979
Phase One: Tension Building - Batterer becomes more agitated and angry. - Victim is compliant; tries to placate Batterer. - Victim minimizes problems and denies anger. - Batterer takes more control. - Victim withdraws to avoid setting Batterer off. - Tension becomes unbearable.
Phase Two: Acute Battering - Severe battering or verbal abuse takes place. - Batterer unpredictable; claims loss of control. - Victim is helpless and feels trapped. - Batterer is highly abusive. - Victim is traumatized. - This phase is shorter than Phase One.
Phase Three: The Honeymoon - Batterer is apologetic, remorseful, loving and kind. - Batterer makes promises (to get help, quit drinking, etc.). - Victim wants to believe Batterer and feels responsible. - Victim is least likely to flee in this phase.
Melinda Haynes, MA, LMFT Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist California lic. no. 102308 Serving Chico, Paradise, Oroville, Gridley The persons depicted on this site are models. Photos do not represent or guarantee results.