What You Didn’t Know About Domestic Violence
Three million. That’s how many times domestic violence is reported every single year. That’s 20 people who endure physical abuse every minute of every day—abuse that is delivered by an intimate partner or spouse. The tragic fact is that one out of every three women and one out of every four men will experience interpersonal violence, some of it severe—and in extreme cases, resulting in death.
What You May Not Know
Many people do not realize that domestic violence is rooted in a desire for power and control;
Oftentimes abusers do not risk physical abuse until they have high confidence that their partner will not leave them; that could mean after getting married or having a child. It is impossible to placate an abuser in order to avoid tense interactions in most situations– the abuse will bubble up regardless of how conciliatory a victim may be.
Abuse can take many forms, but is horrific in its ability to thrive and expand:
- The abuse is generally not public, and people may be surprised to learn it is happening;
- Abusers generally deflect blame to the abused;
- Denial—on the part of both the abuser and the abused—perpetuates abuse;
- Before physical violence breaks out, there is generally other kinds of abuse, such as verbal, emotional, or financial;
- Drug and alcohol use contribute to domestic violence;
- Homes that have guns in them increase the risk of homicide by five times.
Profile of an Abuser
While abusers come from all walks of life, they often share particular abusive characteristics that could be harbingers of physical abuse down the road:
- Unrealistic ideas about relationships;
- Distrustful and jealous;
- Having a need to always be right;
- Sensitive to perceived criticisms;
- Blames everything on others;
- Critical of partner, friends, and family;
- Paranoid about others;
- Has outbursts of anger, jealousy, etc.
- Believes communication is a zero sum game.
A Violent Cycle
For survivors of abuse, things tend to be cyclical. They sense tension building, which leads to an attack. Afterward, the abuser is sorry, and generally promises it will never happen again. That’s often followed by what’s called a honeymoon period—when the abuser is very loving and considerate. Ultimately, though, the tension begins to build, and the cycle starts all over again.
Preventing Domestic Violence
Truly, it is possible to intervene before domestic violence occurs. Young people must be taught the skills they need to navigate their feelings in a positive way—skills like communication, how to cope with challenging emotions, and how to solve problems. Programs that address these issues can promote the kinds of nonaggressive, respectful, and nourishing relationships we all deserve.
Responding to Domestic Violence
Unfortunately, not everyone has the skills to manage their emotions, and that leaves a trail of misery for others. If you are living in a relationship that causes you anxiety and fear, you should consider whether it is worth staying. The kind and knowledgeable Miami domestic violence attorneys at the Law Office of Julia Kefalinos can help with restraining orders and other steps to keep you safe. Contact us for a confidential consultation today.