1. Is your partner threatening or violent towards you or the children?
2. Do you find yourself making excuses or minimizing your partner’s behavior?
3. Do you feel completely controlled by your partner?
4. Do you feel helpless, trapped, alone, and isolated?
5. Do you blame yourself for the violence?
6. Does your partner blame you and tell you that you are the cause of all his problems?
7. Do you blame the violence on stress, on drugs/alcohol, or a bad childhood?
8. Does your partner constantly accuse you of having affairs when he can’t account for 100% of your time? Does he tell you jealousy is a sign of love?
9. Do you fear going home?
10. Are you limited in your freedom like a child? (Go to the store and come straight home. It should take you 15 minutes.)
11. Do you find yourself lying to hide your partner’s real behavior (for example, saying you fell down the stairs when actually you were pushed)?
12. Are you embarrassed or humiliated by your partner in an effort to control your behavior, especially in public?
13. Does your partner abandon you, leave you places, or lock you out?
14. Does your partner hide your keys, mail, or other important papers?
Progression of Domestic Violence
PHASE 1: Pre-battering violence: verbal abuse, hitting objects, throwing objects, breaking objects, and making threats; increased tension, anger, blaming and arguing. When abusers hit or break objects or make threats, almost 100% resort to battering.
PHASE 2: Beginning levels: pushing, grabbing, restraining.
PHASE 3: Moderate levels : slapping, pinching, kicking, pulling hair.
PHASE 4: Severe levels : hitting, choking, beating with objects, use of weapons, and rape by intimidation, threat or force.
PHASE 5: Calm Stage: Abuser may deny or rationalize the violence, apologizing or promising not to repeat the abuse.(may decrease over time)
The progression of domestic violence may alternate from tension building, where the victim is walking on eggshells to avoid abuse, to the apologetic and remorseful abuser after a violent incident has taken place. Each relationship is different.
Sweet Baby Syndrome (How he gets to come back)
1. Honeymoon Syndrome : any bribe that will get her to return to him. (also known as “Hearts and Flowers”)
2. Super Dad Syndrome : he tells her that he will be a great dad if she returns. This works especially if he has neglected the kids in the past.
3. Revival Syndrome : this is not really a valid revival or salvation since he has probably only gone to church only a few times. “I have been going to church every Sunday since you left.” I have accepted Christ into my life.” He puts the responsibility for his battering on God.
4. Sobriety Syndrome : “If he can stop drinking he will stop beating me” Drinking does not cause beating–if it did, then they would beat strangers on the street.
5. Counseling Syndrome : “I have gone to counseling, I won’t do it anymore.” Long term counseling is needed and less than 1% voluntarily go into counseling.
Help for the abuser (Signs that treatment may be effective)
1. He accepts responsibility for his violence.
2. He goes into treatment without victim.
3. He goes into treatment with no strings attached. (“I’ll go if you will come back”)
No one deserves to be abused. The abuse is the responsibility of the batterer. There are several programs available for abusers to determine if treatment is necessary. Frequently, the court requires that batterers seek treatment. Change does not happen overnight. Just like the behavior took time to learn, it takes time to change. However, batterers must want to change. Some batterers will never change.
Once the violence occurs, the chances are great that it will occur again, unless there is some kind of intervention. Abusers must learn to accept responsibility for their behavior. This is only possible with outside help.
Common Characteristics of Battered Women
1. have low self esteem
2. believe all the myths about battering relationships
3. be a traditionalist, believing in family unity and feminine sex-role stereotype
4. accepts responsibility for the batterer’s actions
5. suffers from guilt, yet denies the terror and anger she feels
6. have severe stress reactions with psychophysiological complaints
7. use sex as a way to establish intimacy
8. believe that no one will be able to help her resolve her predicament
Batterered women come from all races, ages, socio-economic classes, religious affiliations, occupations, and educational backgrounds.
Common Characteristics of the Batterer
1. have low self esteem
2. believe all the myths about battering relationships
3. be a traditionalist, believing in male supremacy and the stereotyped masculine sex role
4. blame others for his actions
5. be pathologically jealous
6. present a dual personality
7. have severe stress reactions during which he uses drinking and battering to cope
8. frequently use sex as an act of aggression to enhance his self-esteem
9. does not believe his violent behavior should have negative consequences
10. uses threats and violence as a control mechanism
11. experienced or witnessed abuse when growing up
12. has been abusive to previous partners
Batterers come from all races, ages, socio-economic classes, religious affiliations, occupations, and educational backgrounds.
Behavior of The Batterer in Court
Batterers frequently present themselves in the following ways:
The “real” victim in the family.
Trying to keep the family together.
May acknowledge “family problems” but will deny any violence.
When confronted by his assaultive acts he may respond by saying: “She bruises easily,” “She was hysterical” or “She was drunk/high,” I had to restrain her.”
May make a complaint to the police department against his partner to counter the complaint she has made regarding his assaultive acts–uses the system.
May make multiple Children’s Protective Service reports alleging that his partner is neglecting or abusing the children.
May change lawyers, and aks for continuances to delay court hearings to increase his partners’ financial hardship.
May prosecute her when she has acted in self-defense, or will use the threat of prosecution to get her to return to him.
May assert that he knows key people in the criminal justice system, and that there is no way that she will get justice (reinforcing her helplessness.)
May give erroneous information about the criminal justice system to his partner to confuse her or to prevent her from acting on her own behalf.
May call her, before she is going to testify against him in a criminal case, to tell her it has been postponed or his attorney said she doesn’t’ have to testify.
Many, perhaps most, people believe that battered women will be safe once they separate from the batterer. They also believe that women are free to leave abusers at any time. We have all heard, “All she had to do was leave. She brought it on herself.” However, leaving does not usually put an end to the violence. Batterers may, in fact, escalate their violence to coerce a battered woman into reconciliation or to retaliate for the battered woman’s perceived rejection or abandonment of the batterer. Men, who believe they are entitled to a relationship with battered women or that they “own” their female partner, view women’s departure as an ultimate betrayal which justifies retaliation. Evidence of the gravity of separation violence is overwhelming. One study revealed that 73% of the battered women seeking emergency medical services sustained injuries after leaving the batterer. Another study showed that over 1/4 of the women killed by their male partners were attempting to end the relationship when they were killed.
Although leaving may pose additional hazards, at least in the short run, the research data and experience demonstrate that ultimately a battered woman can best achieve safety and freedom apart form the batterer.
Leaving requires planning and legal intervention to safeguard victims and their children. Victim advocates and battered women must work in partnership to assure that the risk of violence is minimized during the separation process. Getting out of an abusive relationship is not easy, but it can provide an opportunity for you and your children to live a life free of violence. Seeking counseling and support when you end a violent relationship is crucial for you and your children.