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The Escalation Of Violence: Know When To Leave A Dangerous Relationship


“She loved him, but he didn’t love her.” That’s what a grief-stricken mother said of her daughter’s boyfriend after he viciously stabbed the young woman to death.  The abuse began long before the actual murder, with verbal cruelty and manipulation turning into physical assaults, and, ultimately the untimely death of the 30-year old mother of three. The escalation of intensity is not uncommon in domestic violence cases.  Here’s what you need to know if you believe your relationship is spiraling out of control.

Understanding Escalation

Victims of domestic violence often live with certain types of aggression for a long period of time, never imagining that their partner would actually become more hostile over time.  A person who throws furniture or punches walls in anger might ultimately punch a partner, or someone who threatens to harm a pet over and over again could finally do just that. Domestic violence can escalate in one of two ways:

  • During gradual escalation, the same type of behavior grows in intensity. For example, verbal attacks may become more vicious.
  • Sudden escalation occurs when one type of abuse evolves into another, such as when name-calling turns into a slap or threats advance to throwing objects.

Causes and Dangers of Escalation

Experts agree that domestic violence is rooted in a desire to control.  As abusers start to believe control is slipping from their grip, things often start to escalate in order to demonstrate to victims that the control center will not easily be surrendered. That is why ending relationships is often the tipping point for abusers; they simply cannot accept that their victims are taking control for themselves.  In fact nearly four in five serious displays of aggression occur in the final days of a relationship or as survivors are trying to leave. This dangerous period is often the most frightening for survivors—making it essential that a well-developed safety plan be in place.  We know that in some cases, abusers will stop at nothing to remain in power in a relationship. While every situation is different, there are often signs that lethal violence could erupt, including:

  • The easy access to firearms or other weapons, particularly if you have been threatened with them in the past;
  • Intensified instances of violence;
  • Violence occurring at more frequent intervals;
  • Episodes involving strangling or choking;
  • Uncontrollable jealousy;
  • Threats of suicide.

Get Out While You Still Can

If you believe your partner is capable of killing you, either in a rage or in a carefully planned attack, the time to escape is yesterday! There are resources in Florida, including compassionate and knowledgeable legal services offered by the experienced Miami domestic violence attorneys at the Law Office of Julia Kefalinos.  Schedule a confidential consultation today to let us help you.



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