As long as we take the view that these are problems for women alone to solve, we cannot expect to reverse the high incidence of rape and child abuse. Domestic violence will not be eradicated. We will not defeat this scourge that affects each and every one of us, until we succeed in mobilising the whole of our society to fight it. – Nelson Mandela
Any type of abuse occurs (physical/sexual/emotional)
Tension Building Abuser starts to get angry
Abuse may begin
There is a breakdown of communication
Victim feels the need to keep the abuser calm
Tension becomes too much
Victim feels like they are ‘walking on egg shells’
Abuser may apologize for abuse
Abuser may promise it will never happen again
Abuser may blame the victim for causing the abuse
Abuser may deny abuse took place or say it was not as bad as the victim claims
Abuser acts like the abuse never happened
Physical abuse may not be taking place
Promises made during ‘making-up’ may be met
Victim may hope that the abuse is over
Abuser may give gifts to victim
The cycle can happen hundreds of times in an abusive relationship. Each stage lasts a different amount of time in a relationship. The total cycle can take anywhere from a few hours to a year or more to complete.
It is important to remember that not all domestic violence relationships fit the cycle. Often, as time goes on, the ‘making-up’ and ‘calm’ stages disappear.
Adapted from the original concept of: Walker, Lenore. The Battered Woman. New York: Harper and Row, 1979.
What Can I Do To Be Safe?
Call the police
If you feel you are in danger from your abuser at any time, you can call 10111 or your local police.
Consider the following:
If you are in danger when the police come, they can protect you.
They can help you and your children leave your home safely.
They can arrest your abuser when they have enough proof that you have been abused.
They can arrest your abuser if a personal Protection Order has been violated.
When the police come, tell them everything the abuser did that made you call.
If you have been hit, tell the police where. Tell them how many times it happened. Show them any marks left on your body.
Marks may take time to show up. If you see a mark after the police leave, call the police to take pictures of the marks. They may be used in court. While waiting for the police, get someone to take pictures of your bruises for you. Use your cell phone if necessary.
If your abuser has broken any property, show the police.
The police can give you information on domestic violence programs and shelters.
The police must make a report saying what happened to you. Police reports can be used in court if your abuser is charged with a crime.
Get the officers’ names, badge numbers, and the report number in case you need a copy of the report.
A police report can be used to help you get a Protection Order.
Get support from friends and family
Tell your supportive family, friends and co-workers what has happened.
Find a safe place
It is not fair. You should not have to leave your home because of what your abuser has done. But sometimes it is the only way you will be safe. There are shelters that can help you move to a different city or state. HAVEN can put you in touch with them.
Get medical help
If you have been hurt, go to the hospital or your doctor. Domestic violence advocates (Social Workers) may be called to the hospital.
They are there to give you support. You may ask medical staff to call one for you.
Medical records can be important in court cases. They can also help you get a Protection Order. Give all the information about your injuries and who hurt you that you feel safe to give.
Special medical concerns
Sometimes you may not even know you are hurt.
What seems like a small injury could be a big one.
If you are pregnant and you were hit in your stomach, tell the doctor. Many abusers hurt unborn children.
Domestic violence victims can be in danger of closed head injuries. This is because their abusers often hit them in the head.
If any of these things happen after a hit to the head, get medical care right away.
* Memory loss
* Problems with eyesight
* Headache that will not go away
Get a personal protection order
Make a safety plan
Plan what to do before or when you feel unsafe.
We can provide you with a template which you can use to compile your own Safety Plan. E-mail us and request a copy at firstname.lastname@example.org.