THE CYCLE OF ABUSE
Domestic violence tends to follow a repetitive cycle of three phases. In the first phase, tension and anger build up between the couple and there is increasing arguing and blaming.
In the second phase, the arguing crosses the line into abuse and the battering occurs. The battering can include physical abuse, sexual abuse or emotional abuse. The aim of the abuse is to assert power and control over the victim.
In the third phase of the cycle, which is sometimes referred to as the "honeymoon phase", the abuser may deny the violence, make excuses for it, apologize, and promise to change and not to do it again.
Many victims believe the promises made during the honeymoon phase. They believe that the violence will not happen again, or believe that it is somehow possible for them to change their batterer's behavior. Many are reluctant to seek help for a variety of reasons including:
• Fear for the safety of the children;
• Fear of losing financial support and becoming homeless;
• Shame and humiliation at being abused;
• Belief that the abuse is deserved and that the victim is unworthy of being helped;
• Loyalty and affection for the abusing spouse; or
• Belief that the injuries are not severe enough to indicate abuse.
Research has shown that a victim may go through five to seven physical separations from his or her partner before taking any legal steps to obtain intervention.