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Domestic Violence

Who is a battered person?

A battered person is a male or a female who has been physically, sexually or emotionally abused by an intimate partner. In domestic violence, physical, sexual and/or emotional abuses are the weapons utilized by the batterer in order to exercise and maintain power and control over their intimate partner. The following are examples of the types of abuse experienced by victims of domestic violence.

  • Physical Abuse

Examples: pulling, shaking, slapping, hitting, chocking, throwing items at the individual; inflicting burns.

  • Sexual Abuse

Examples: coerced sexual activities; the abuser demands forced oral, anal or genital sex; the offender may insert objects into the victim’s vagina or anus.

  • Psychological

Examples: bombarding the victim with questions about his/her whereabouts; harassment such as surveillance; sleep deprivation or intense prolonged episodes of questioning are similar to those used by tortures and can constitute a type of torture (Pope & Garcia- Peltoniemi, 1991).

Although Lenore Walker conceptualized domestic violence to occur in a cycle, many times victims of domestic violence only experience the acute phase of the domestic violence cycle. Per Walker (1994), The Cycle of Escalating Violence has three phases. These phases are:

  • Tension Building

    • o

      Occurs after a long courtship and the abuser shows unusually loving behavior

      • o

        The victim senses that something is wrong and tries to calm and defuse the situation.

  • Acute Battering Incident

      • o

        The tension is discharged through a violent attack on the victim.

      • o

        This is the shortest period to the cycle, can last a few minutes, hours, or at most, days. On this stage, the batterer decides when to stop the attack and the victim recognizes that he/she is powerless over the behavior of the batterer.

  • Loving-Contrition or Absence of Tension

    • o

      The batterer apologizes often promising never to do it again.

      • o

        There may be gifts, flowers or special favors bestowed upon the victim.

Walker, L. (1994). Abuse women and survivor therapy: A practical guide for the psychotherapist. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association

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