What is family violence?
Family violence is a situation in which one family member causes physical or emotional harm to another family member. At the center of this violence is the abuser’s need to gain power and control over the victim. Abuse can be:
- Physical, such as slapping, hitting, kicking, punching, or burning
- Emotional, such as threats, harassment, and insults
- Sexual, such as incest or rape
Abuse follows a cycle that has three stages:
- Stage One — Tensions build
- Stage Two — Abuse takes place
- Stage Three — Abuser feels remorse
Stage three is when the victim has the most control. But as the cycle repeats itself, the abuser often feels less and less remorse. Abuse tends to become more severe. If you have experienced one episode of abuse, there is a good chance that abuse will take place again.
Victims often go through 5 to 7 episodes of abuse before they seek help or leave the relationship. The longer the abuse continues, the more difficult it often becomes for the victim to leave. To learn how to safely leave a batterer click here.
If you have already left the relationship:
- Change your phone number and screen calls.
- Save and document all contacts, messages, injuries or other incidents involving the batterer.
- Change locks, if the batterer has a key.
- Avoid staying alone.
- Plan how to get away if confronted by an abusive partner.
- If you have to meet your partner, do it in a public place.
- Vary your routine.
- Notify school and work contacts.