What is the cycle of violence?
Domestic violence tends to follow a cycle of three phases. In the first, tension, arguing, and anger escalates between the couple. In the second, the arguing crosses the line into abuse, which can be physical, sexual or emotional. The aim of the behavior is an attempt by the abuser to gain power and control over the victim. Following the violent episode, the "honeymoon phase" occurs in which the batterer may make excuses for the behavior, promise to change, or apologize. Often the honeymoon phase becomes shorter, and frequently the abuse escalates if the victim attempts to leave the relationship.
Many victims believe the promises made during the honeymoon phase. Often they believe the violence will not occur again, the abuser is capable of changing, or they can somehow alter the abuser's behavior. Many victims are reluctant to seek help for a variety of reasons.