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Domestic Violence Article by Beaumont Todd

THE BAHAMAS CRISIS CENTRE

Breaking the Silence of Domestic Violence

Domestic violence, also known as domestic abuse, spousal abuse, battering, family violence, dating abuse, and intimate partner violence (IPV), is a pattern of behavior which involves the abuse by one partner against another in an intimate relationship such as marriage, cohabitation, dating or within the family. Domestic violence can take many forms, including physical aggression or assault (hitting, kicking, biting, shoving, restraining, slapping, throwing objects, battery), or threats thereof; sexual abuse; emotional abuse; controlling or domineering; intimidation; stalking; passive/covert abuse (e.g., neglect); and economic deprivation.

During this month of September the Crisis celebrates healing for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. This started with a walkabout where handouts were given on domestic abuse, violence and sexual assault. The purpose of the walkabout was to educate the community on how this behavior affects the entire county and how to both recognize it and protect you from it.

Being a very small nation, the Bahamas has a very high rate of domestic violence per capita, some of which is reported and most of which is not. Many persons might not know that more than 50% of homicides and deaths are the result of Domestic Violence. Everyone has a right to be treated with respect and not abused or made to submit to violence against their person.

A big road block in solving the problem of Domestic Violence is when victims of the same keep silent and others who know of these circumstances simply ignore the situation. It has even been assumed that individuals simply want to be abused or in an abusive circumstance.

However it has been shown that the cycle of violence is the key factor in understanding why a lot of victims remain in an abusive relationship where they maybe experiencing domestic violence or even sexual assault and abuse.

Healing the Nation

What is the cycle of violence?

The term cycle of violence refers to repeated and dangerous acts of violence as a cyclical pattern, associated with high emotions and doctrines of retribution or revenge. The pattern, or cycle, repeats and can happen many times during a relationship. Each phase may last a different length of time and over time the level of violence may increase.

What does the cycle of violence look like?

A cycle of abuse generally follows the following pattern:
• Abuse – The abuser initiates aggressive, verbal or physical abuse, designed to control and oppress the victim.
• Guilt – The abuser feels guilty for inflicting abusive behavior, primarily out of a concern of being found guilty of abuse rather than feelings of sympathy for the victim.
• Excuses – Rationalization of the behavior, including blame and excuses.
• “Normal” behavior – The abuser regains personal control, creates a peaceful phase in an attempt to make the victim feel in the relationship.
• Fantasy and planning – thinking of what the victim has done wrong how he or she will be punished and developing a plan to realize the fantasy.
• Set-up – the plan is “put in motion.”
A cyclical nature of domestic violence is most prevalent in intimate terrorism (IT), which involve a pattern of ongoing control using emotional, physical and other forms of domestic violence and is what generally leads victims, who are most often women, to women’s shelters. It is what the definition of domestic violence was traditionally and is generally illustrated with the “Power and Control Wheel”[3] to illustrate the different and inter-related forms of abuse. Intimate terrorism is different than situational couple violence, which are isolated incidents of varying degrees of intensity.
The cycle of violence goes can be broken into three main phrases:
• Tension Building Phrase-Woman can sense irritability. Feels she can and must resolve situation. Withdraws from partner. Partner senses her withdrawal. Tension increases. Sometimes a woman may ignite situation to get it over with.
• Explosion Phrase-Shortest of stages lasting from 5 minutes or 5 days. This is usually the stage where the abuse will occur. Abuse ranges from pushing, shoving, kicking, punching, to the use of weapons.
• Honeymoon Phrase-This is the part of the entire cycle where many persons are caught up in the cycle. This makes it difficult to break away from the abuser. During this phrase the abuser usually says, “I’m sorry” and “It will never happen again.” They give assurances of being penitent and regretful. They give you flowers, gifts and usually anything to appease you. The abused gets caught in a cycle of denial of the incident and minimizing the hurt inflicted and they experience.
Due to this repeated cycle many persons are lulled during the honeymoon phase when the persons is acting normal and treating you like a king or queen into believing everything will be ok or it will not happen again.

Many persons have never even been made aware of the following which is the bill of rights as it relates to abused women or anyone who is abused in general.

Bill of Rights for Abused Women or Abused persons:

• I have the right not to be abused
• I have the right to be angry about past beatings
• I have the right to change the situation
• I have the right to request and expect assistance from the police and social agencies
• I have the right to share my feelings and not be isolated from others
• I have the right to be treated like an adult
• I have the right to privacy
• I have the right to leave an abusive environment
• I have the right to express my own thoughts and feelings
• I have the right to develop my individual talents and abilities
• I have the right to legally prosecute an abusive partner
• I have the right not to be perfect
Until more persons speak up about domestic violence and abuse, it will continue and there will be no end to it. It will take both the victims and those who support them to change and break the silence on domestic violence.

No One Deserves To Be Abused

We are one people created equal by God and for the purpose of loving and being loved. Let us work together to Heal ourselves, families, communities, nation and world.

If you would like to talk to someone about anything that is bothering you, please call 328-0922 or 322-4999. For more information check out our website at http://www.bahamascrisiscentre.org or contact us. Email us at bahamascrisiscentre@yahoo.com or call us.

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