Only the victims who have survived domestic abuse may speak of it with authority.
One in four women in the United States will at some point in their lives be the victim of domestic abuse.
Only 2% of victims of domestic abuse are men.
Children who have witnessed domestic abuse are at risk of growing up to become abusers themselves. Domestic abuse is more than physical violence.
Abuse is also lies, manipulation, threats, anger, belittlement, accusations, isolation, and intimidation.
Emotional abuse is more insidious, more difficult to pinpoint, and sometimes even more damaging than physical violence.
Often, it is more difficult for a victim to take action when the abuse is primarily emotional.
An act of physical violence may be the catalyst that causes a victim to take action and save herself, but it is rarely the first instance of abuse.
Systems of power and control; and the cycles of abusive relationships are absolutely real. An abuser will control his victim by whatever means necessary.
At first the controlling behavior, if he is jealous or desires to keep his loved one all to himself may seem flattering.
Before long, as the behavior grows more persistent, the victim finds herself compensating for her abuser’s behavior.
The victim will make excuses for him and explain away his unacceptable actions.
Florida domestic violence victims do not do this because they are in love or unintelligent, they do this to cope with their immediate situation.
The cycles of abusive relationships follow predictable patterns. First, there is a confrontation, an argument.
The victim often doesn’t have any idea she had done anything to displease. She can’t know -- his rules change daily or even minute to minute.
There is no way she can possibly know ahead of time what she did or didn’t do that will set him off.
The next step in the cycle is the apologies. The abuser will apologize, and promise never to abuse again. There is next a period of normalcy.
Some abuse counselors refer to this period as the honeymoon. For whatever time period the honeymoon lasts, it always ends; and the cycle repeats. With each cycle the abuse escalates.
If you are caught in a cycle of abuse, there are a few things to know. First and foremost, do not blame yourself.
If you are being victimized, do not waste your precious resources and sanity by blaming yourself for being in your position.
It is not your fault that your abuser is abusive; your actions did not cause him to abuse.
Many abusers are like serial killers, they abused the one before you, and will abuse the next one, as well.
Also, like serial killers, their attention is pinpointed on victimizing their prey.
No one would ever fault a serial killer’s victim for failing to escape, but it is common for people looking on to blame the victim of domestic abuse for staying with him.
If you are caught in a system of domestic abuse, plan your
getaway carefully. Know that the time when you are in the most danger is
right before or right after you leave.
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Florida Department of Children & Families
Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-500-1119
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