Domestic Abuse – The Cycle of Violence

I normally write about kink related topics, but today I have something else on my mind. Later today I will be going to court to seek a more long term no contact order, in an attempt to deter my stalker from continuing her threatening and harassing behaviour. So what does that have to do with domestic abuse? Well, my stalker is my SO’s ex, and she is the textbook domestic abuser. Unfortunately for him every time he tried to end the abuse, he was shamed and even blamed. He was told that he “allowed it to happen”.

First, let me say that domestic abuse can happen to anyone, regardless of age, gender, sexuality, race, etc. Often times, however, it is viewed in highly gender biased terms. When someone of unknown gender writes of being abused, we often assume they are female. When a male speaks out about being abused by a woman he either “allowed it to happen” or worse, he is portrayed as being the real abuser.

Second, domestic abuse has a pattern. Recognizing that pattern may help you, or someone you know, avoid or get out of a violent situation.

Third, abuse is not always physical. There are many types of abuse.

Cycle of Abuse

1. Honeymoon – Everything seems great during this stage. Your partner will go out of their way to do nice things for you, and you have hope for the relationship.

2. Routine – Things settle into a routine. Daily life is status quo. Maybe things aren’t so romantic, but life isn’t all roses, right?

3. Tension – The eggshells are piling up now. Little things spark frustration. Didn’t take out the trash on trash day a month ago? You’ll be reminded of that now.

4.  Trigger – Something sets off the abuser. Maybe they just got too drunk or maybe they had an exceptionally bad day.

5. Abuse – If this is the first time this has happened, maybe you’ll justify it. After all, no one is perfect, right?

6. Excuses / Victim Blaming – “I wouldn’t have done that if you hadn’t made me mad”. ” I wouldn’t be so angry if you would just …”

7. Apology – In some models, this is called remorse; however, remorse prompts change. In the abusive cycle, there is no lasting change. In the apology stage, the abuser will apologize profusely in the hopes of maintaining their relationship with the victim.

At this point, the cycle reverts to the first stage, the honeymoon, and the loop begins again.

What Can We Do?

  • If you know someone stuck in a cycle of violence, do not blame the victim, regardless of their gender. People stay in domestic violence situations for a number of reasons, but it is never because they enjoy being abused.
  • Be cautious about confronting the abuser, unless you know the victim is safe. Confronting an abuser can often serve as the trigger for abuse, and make the abuse worse for the victim.
  • Support the victim patiently. Offer to help them get out of the situation, and be a shoulder for them to lean on. Leaving an abuser is difficult.

 

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Intimate Partner Abuse With Male Victims

Sadly, domestic violence, also known as intimate partner abuse, is a problem that doesn’t get nearly enough attention. When it does receive attention, it is usually cast in the light of a male abuser and a female victim. And yes, the statistics for female victims is staggering. A 2010 study of intimate partner abuse in the U.S. estimated that 35.6% of women will suffer some form of rape, physical violence, and/or stalking from an intimate partner. That statistic is heartbreaking. What that means is that approximately 1 in 3 women has been abused by someone she loved/trusted.

But this isn’t about them. This is about the male victims. The same CDC study estimated that 28.5% of men will suffer some form of rape, physical violence, and/or stalking from an intimate partner. That means that in the U.S., approximately 32 million men are victimized by their partner. And yet the stereotype prevails that women are abused more often than men.

Yes, that is technically true. But the gender gap in domestic violence is not nearly at wide as many might think. Annually, 5.9% of women in the U.S. suffer intimate partner abuse. 5.0% of men suffer the same abuse. That is only a 1% difference.

So, how why aren’t we focused on domestic abuse as a violence problem, rather than a gender problem? Why are there 100s of domestic violence shelters for women and children, and few if any for men? Where are the advocates fighting for the protection of men?

These are questions I don’t have answers for. But what I do know is this…domestic abuse against men will not gain awareness until women start speaking out against it. No one, regardless of gender, deserves to be abused. The same rhetoric we use condemning the victimization of women, needs to condemn the victimization of men. We should be condemning domestic violence…not casting it in gendered terms.

Link to CDC study

An Open Letter to his Ex

Although you don’t know my name, I know many things about you. See, we used to have the same social circle. My friends were also your friends. I was the leader of a group you sought acceptance in. You joined my group claiming that you were beaten and abused, that he was a drunk, and a wife beater. You screamed it from the rooftops, desperate for someone to hear you. And I did…at first.

I reached out to you, offered a kind ear. You ignored me. You preferred to be as loud as you could, telling all who would listen what a victim you were. Yet, you’d only make these claims in public, never in private to someone trying to help. Rather than blame you, I watched you. The more you talked, the more I grew suspicious.

Your recounting of the events of that fateful night, the one where he went to jail, changed multiple times. First you said he’d choked you. Then you said you’d broken ribs. Then you said you’d broken your ankle. And to heap horror upon horror, you said he beat you over a broken jewelry box. A shocking story. And one, if true, that deserves my sympathy. Better yet, my empathy.

For I too was abused. For 7 years, I was married to a man who slammed me against the wall with his hand around my throat. A man who said he could kill me within seconds. A man who threatened to kidnap our children and take them to another country. A man who believed it was his right to keep me in line, and it was my duty to make him happy.

But here’s where the rubber meets the road.

Your story was a lie.

The night you claimed you had multiple broken bones, you were taken to the ER. The ER found no injuries. The jewelry box that you broke…you know the one that started the fight…it was his dead mother’s. And he wasn’t mad that it was broken. After you stormed out of the house that night, he sat and picked up it’s pieces, saving what he could. You returned home and mocked him, and his pain. You said you couldn’t believe he would cry over a box, since he didn’t even like the “bitch” anyway.

And then you assaulted him. When he refused to run from you, or to let you bully him, you tried to push him around. He stood his ground. And then, as you had done so many times before, you called 911.

The officer that arrested him that night was the same officer that had offered him the opportunity to file charges against you previously for filing a false police report. But, because he didn’t want his children to lose a mother, he declined. Maybe that was his mistake.

He was released on bond, and you were waiting. You ran up to him to give him a hug, and he turned you away. It wasn’t his choice. Part of his bond was to have no contact with you, and you knew that. Yet, you repeatedly sought him out. You showed up at his residence. You sent him a number of messages saying it was all your fault, and could he please come home.

And I watched it all unfold. I watched you go from begging him to take you back to raging at him and verbally abusing him…in the matter of two hours. Two hours…that’s your cycle. You seek out an interaction, and you appear happy and conciliatory. When you don’t get your way immediately, you change into an angry, hostile, and abusive monster.

See, the problem with your kind of abuse is that you manipulate people. You took a man who sought to serve you, and you abused his natural servility. You would volunteer him to help your friends, and then you would blame him for helping them, rather than spending time with you. You would get drunk, and then blame him for buying the alcohol. You would physically assault him, then blame him for standing his ground.

Once he bought you roses. You were grateful for less than a minute. Then you launched into a tirade, accusing him of being unfaithful, and using the roses to cover up an affair. You accused him of desiring any woman he spoke to, even if it was just in casual small talk at the grocery store.

But, all that is in the past now. The charges you filed against him have been dismissed. The courts decided that you had zero evidence to support your claims of injury. They refused to find him guilty. I know, because I was there.

I was there to support him. And yet, my very presence angered you. You said it was disrespectful of him to bring me. How dare he bring someone to support him in a matter that was all about you.

And there’s the crux of it. You believe that everything is about you. After the court refused to find him guilty, you sent him sent another message. You wanted to be his friend. You said that you’d once been best friends and that you missed him. Could he please be your friend again?

No. Absolutely not.

He has every right to walk away from you. To cut the toxicity out of his life.

Unfortunately, he has to deal with you, for the next 14 years, and since he has to deal with you, so do I.

But, I have boundaries, and you will not trample my boundaries. You will not push me around the way you push others in your life.

You will no longer be allowed to send messages to him at all hours of the day and night. Obviously, if there is an emergency, he will respond. But the petty messages, designed to maintain your grip on him, will stop. You see, you’ve pushed him so far, that he no longer wishes to read any of your messages. I screen those for him, and alert him to any that he needs to address.

Your rage falls on deaf ears. Not totally, as I see it, and hear it. But the thing is, you can’t control me. You can’t bully me.

You’re in my world now.

Good luck!