Naomi drops her children off with her mother so she can enjoy a "girls' night out" Naomi's mother questions the bruise around Naomi's left eye. Naomi's attempt to cover the bruise with makeup failed. Indignantly, she explains that the refrigerator door accidentally grazed the left side of her face as she opened it hurriedly. A freakish occurrence, she claims; a lame excuse her mother speculates.
The reality is that Naomi finds herself regularly making excuses to family and friends proclaiming she has lately become careless and accident-prone. She loves her husband Jack; he loves her; he loves the children. Jack would never purposely do anything to hurt her, or if he did, she must have deserved it. Jack has a short temper, sure, but Naomi thinks it's not a problem. He is remorseful, asks for her forgiveness, and promises to do better. She forgives him.
If you see yourself or someone you love in this story, please read on.
What is Domestic Violence
Domestic violence is violence perpetrated on a victim by a current or former spouse, live-in or romantic partner, or other household member. Domestic violence includes a wide range of behaviors: assault, aggravated assault, stalking, sexual assault, kidnapping, false imprisonment, and threats of physical harm with the intention and apparent ability to carry them out. Domestic violence is often exacerbated by intimidation and controlling behavior.
The abuser's motive is to control the victim. The abuser may physically batter the victim, but may also control the victim's finances, keep the victim from seeing friends and relatives, confine the victim at home against her or his will, and threaten to harm the victim or the victim's family members. Ways to exert control over the victim are limitless.
Unfortunately, the victim may not realize she or he is a domestic violence victim, at least at first. The occasional slap on the cheek, hair pulling, the demand for unwanted sexual activity, or even rough sex may be regarded as playfulness. The conduct then escalates until the victim finally recognizes the danger.
Prevalence of Domestic Violence
Domestic violence is pervasive. Most abusers are male and most victims (85 percent) are female. However, abusers and victims can be of any sex, gender identity, or sexual preference.
According to The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence Fact Sheet" at www.ncadv.org, there is an average of 10 million domestic violence victims in the United States annually. Approximately one in four women and one in nine men have experienced some form of domestic violence in the United States. These statistics reveal the profusion of violence in the home; it is a national problem.
Cyclical Nature of Domestic Violence
Domestic violence tends to be cyclical proceeding in three phases: tension building, violence, and seduction. Tension builds gradually. Criticism, yelling, swearing, angry gestures, coercion, and threats are typical. The tension escalates to an overt incident during which the victim is punched, kicked, slammed against the wall, or worse. Seduction follows with apologies, blaming the victim, promises to change, and gifts. The abuser expresses remorse and begs for forgiveness from the victim, promises to be a better spouse or partner, and promises such incidents will never happen again, but they almost certainly will.
Why is the cycle so difficult to break? Three dynamics: love, hope, and fear keep the cycle in motion trapping the victim.
• The victim still loves the abuser. The relationship has its good points; it is not all bad.
• The victim continues to hope that things will change. The relationship didn't begin this way; it is not like this all the time.
• Although the victim fears that the threats will become a reality, the victim fears more a future alone, and that she or he won't be able to make it without the abuser's help.
So, the victim forgives the abuser. The relationship continues... until the next incident. It's important to stop the cycle. An attorney can help.
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