BEATING HEARTS: Stories of Domestic Violence

Cycle of Violence

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Cycle of Violence

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For many years, the dynamic in some abusive relationships was often referred to as "The Cycle of Violence." In this model, a feeling of calm will be followed by escalating tension. The woman might feel as if she is walking on eggshells, being very careful to keep the peace at any cost. Then the tension reaches a breaking point, an incident can occur. The victim, statistically and typically a woman, may be kicked, shoved, punched, choked, raped, or subjected to any number of other abuses commonly used for intimidation or control.

Following the violent incident, the batterer is often remorseful and very loving. This has often been referred to as the "honeymoon phase. Then the cycle repeats itself.

Many years ago, most programs replaced the cycle of violence with the power and control wheel, known as the Duluth model, which believes that battering is a pattern of actions used to intentionally control or dominate an intimate partner.

Nonetheless, the cycle of violence is a universally known and described pattern in abusive relationships. It still has a place in the understanding of domestic and dating violence.

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