Too many women are willing victims in domestic violence by making and accepting excuses:
- He only hits me when he is drinking or tired.
- He always says he is sorry afterwards.
- I made him angry, it was my fault.
- Work is getting on him.
- He thought I was flirting with some other guy.
- The kids were making so much noise.
- and the list continues.
Which excuse are you accepting? How are you a willing victim in domestic violence?
Relationships are never perfect and always take work. Healthy relationships have problems at times but never includes aggression or violence. Domestic violence can also include:
- Isolation from family and friends or from any source of support, such as religious practices.
- Controlling finances and demanding proof of money spent.
- Insisting on monitoring where she/he is going.
- Threats or intimidation.
Domestic Violence can also involve threats against or involving the children. Any race, age, sex, sexual orientation, or socio-economic class can be involved in domestic violence. Domestic violence usually is a cycle involving a tension building phase, an explosive phase, and a honeymoon phase.
During the tension phase an increase in anger and frustration is seen. Incidents of name-calling, insults, pinching, pushing,or other injurious behaviors increase. An increased demand for control and power such as demanding accounting of time spent away from home, money spent, or people you have interacted with may also be noticed. The tension phase can last for lengthy periods of time or may not occur at all before the explosive phase begins.
During the explosive phase, physical injury and damage to the home occur. Each episode increases in intensity, time, or injuries occurring. The explosive phase may not have a build up of tension. Violent acts may appear to “come out of the blue” or it may be a relief that the violence has finally happened. The initial act of violence can be minor injury or significant enough for hospitalization.
The honeymoon phase, following the violent incident, may include apologies, promises, or gifts. As the relationship progresses, the honeymoon phase decreases in time.
It is important to understand that no episode of abuse is the same, you may never experience all three cycles. It is also important to be aware as the relationship progresses, the time between cycles decreases and less time is needed for the tension phase to lead into the explosive phase and the honeymoon time may disappear altogether. The cycle increases in severity and occurs more frequently.
It does not matter if what you are experiencing does not appear to have all three phases. If you are being abused you must begin protecting yourself and your children. Investigate your area domestic violence resources and educate yourself on your options. The most dangerous time in the cycle of domestic violence is the time when the victim is trying to leave the abuser.
Begin preparing an escape plan. Your plan should include:
- having a full tank of gas, unlocked doors, and parked in spot that is easy to leave from. Hide a key in the car. Give key for your house to trusted person who will help you during this time.
- teaching your kids a secret “code word” . The kids should know if you use this word they are to immediately run to car or safe place such as neighbor or friend. Older kids may need to be responsible for helping younger kids leave house. Talk about this with your kids before it’s needed.
- awareness of warning signs such as increased alcohol use or other signs of increasing tension. Leave before the tension can escalate to violence.
- awareness of your position in the house and areas to use for escape. Avoid running into areas that don’t have escape potential such as basements, hallways,or closets. Always try to run out of house, not further inward.’
- take important papers such as birth certificates for you and children, marriage license, debit cards, credit card, or check book and leave them with trusted family or friend.
- Always keep your cell phone with you. Put an extra charger in your car.
- Do not doubt your inner voice telling you to leave. Too many people hesitate only to experience further and more dangerous abuse.
Many 911 dispatchers have been trained to understand calls ordering pizza or deliveries are calls from women in dangerous situations. Never be afraid to call 911 in attempts to get help. There are apps available for cell phones to assist you in leaving or obtaining help but appear to be benign apps. Investigate what apps are available you. Most of these apps are free. Check the app section on your phone and download!
October is Domestic Violence awareness month. 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men experience domestic violence in the U.S. You are NOT alone. Stop making excuses and explaining away the behaviors and begin to protect yourself and your children. Rarely does domestic violence stop without intervention and rarely does it begin to decrease in intensity. Anyone can be a victim of domestic violence but no one should tolerate it. Stop making excuses for the abuse or abuser. Get help today.
Kim Alberts offer a free 10-minute consultation on her Virtual Therapist Network site. Kim accepts most major major insurance companies and even offers a sliding scale for those in lower-income households.
Kim works in Bradley, Illinois and as an On-line Therapist (Video over the Internet) to help her clients verbalize their issues, learn to view things differently, and feel comfortable with their decisions. Just as there is not one correct answer in life, there are multiple ways to find a solution in counseling. Kim will work with you to find the most appropriate solution for you. Please contact Kim at her Associated Counseling office in Bradley Illinois or on-line at the Virtual Therapist Network.