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About Domestic Violence


What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain, or maintain, power and control over another intimate partner (U.S. Department of Justice)

Domestic violence can be physical, verbal, sexual, emotional/psychological and/or financial in nature. Domestic violence can happen to individuals of any race, nationality, age, gender, socio-economic strata, education level, sexual orientation or religion.

According to the Center for Disease Control, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men experience physical violence from an intimate partner.

Studies indicate that the numbers for South Asians may be higher than the national average. As many as 2 out of 5 South Asian women are victims of physical violence by an intimate partner (Raj & Silverman 2002)

The Cycle of Violence

The Cycle of Violence depicts the escalation of violence in an abusive relationship. What we know about abuse is that it is cyclical in nature. The cycle starts in the tension building phase – this is where there is a lot of verbal, emotional and psychological abuse. The perpetrator is agitated and easily angered. This is followed by the explosion phase – typically identified by some sort of physical violence. The cycle continues with the honeymoon phase. The abuser apologizes and promises they will never repeat the behavior. This is usually a period of calm, marked by attentiveness on the part of the abuser.

The pattern keeps repeating – and usually with each turn of the cycle, violence escalates.