Anyone who’s ever been in a relationship has probably experienced a bad relationship. While bad relationships are common, there are certain types of “bad relationships” that are distinct from the rest. These unhealthy and dangerous relationships involve domestic violence (DV). This article, although intended to educate, is a brief overview of what happens to be a very complex and complicated issue, and is not intended to unpack fully all aspects and areas of domestic violence.
Perpetrators of Domestic Violence
There is no single determinative factor of who is likely to be a perpetrator of domestic violence. This means that gender identity, race, religion, political ideology, or sexual orientation do not have any bearing on whether someone will engage in DV or abusive behaviors. The one commonality perpetrators do share is the tactics used to abuse and control their partners.
Types of Domestic Violence
When people think of domestic violence, they are likely to envision physical assaults, screaming, or breaking things around the house. However, domestic violence takes many shapes and forms. Some categories of DV include:
- Emotional, Verbal, or Psychological Abuse
- Financial Abuse
- Sexual Abuse
- Physical Abuse
- Spiritual or Cultural Abuse
Cyclical Nature of Domestic Violence
Domestic violence is about power and control. It involves one partner willfully and systematically engaging in abusive behaviors towards the other partner with the intent to gain (or maintain) power and control over that person. Abusive relationships follow a pattern, or common cycle, which is referred to as the cycle of abuse. This pattern generally takes the shape of three different stages. Each stage can present itself differently from the last time, and the duration of each stage can differ significantly as well. Some stages may last a day or two or maybe a few months, and conversely, these stages can happen quickly. Abusive relationships are so tumultuous that all three stages can happen in one day.
- Tension-building: In this stage tension between the partners starts to grow. The abusive partner may begin to criticize or belittle the other partner. The abuser will often become angry or moody. In this stage, the victim still feels a small sense of control. They believe that if they alter their behavior, that they can please the abuser and avoid any outbursts of violence.
- An episode of Abuse: In this phase, the abuser lashes out with violence toward their partner. The abusive partner will appear to be out of control, and often times will later say that they lost control. The truth is that the abuser is in control the entire time, as they are the one responsible for creating this cycle.
- Honeymoon Phase: Here, the abuser appears to demonstrate true and lasting remorse. The abusive partner may make lofty promises of intentions to change and commitments to improve.
Without help, the cycle of abuse will repeat itself throughout the relationship, and often times the intensity & severity of each stage heightens. Although it may seem impossible at the time, a victim of domestic violence can break the cycle and leave the relationship. There are organizations throughout the country that advocate for victims of domestic violence by offering assistance and resources.
Domestic violence is all too common within relationships. Both women and men can be victims of domestic violence. In fact, 1 in every 3 women, and 1 in every 4 men have experienced domestic violence in their lifetime. If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, please reach out for help.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline offers anonymous help, 24-hours a day at 1-800-799-SAFE(7233). If you’re in an abusive relationship and need help filing for divorce, contact us today for a free and confidential consultation with one of our attorneys.