Cycle of Violence

Cycle of Violence

1. Incident

♦ Any type of abuse occurs (physical/sexual/emotional)

2. Tension Building

♦ Abuser starts to get angry
♦ Abuse may begin
♦ There is a breakdown of communication
♦ Victim feels the need to keep the abuser calm
♦ Tension becomes too much
♦ Victim feels like they are 'walking on egg shells'

3. Making-Up

♦ Abuser may apologize for abuse
♦ Abuser may promise it will never happen again
♦ Abuser may blame the victim for causing the abuse
♦ Abuser may deny abuse took place or say it was not as bad as the victim claims

4. Calm

♦ Abuser acts like the abuse never happened
♦ Physical abuse may not be taking place
♦ Promises made during 'making-up' may be met
♦ Victim may hope that the abuse is over
♦ Abuser may give gifts to victim

The cycle can happen hundreds of times in an abusive relationship. Each stage lasts a different amount of time in a relationship. The total cycle can take anywhere from a few hours to a year or more to complete.
It is important to remember that not all domestic violence relationships fit the cycle. Often, as time goes on, the 'making-up' and 'calm' stages disappear.
Adapted from the original concept of: Walker, Lenore. The Battered Woman. New York: Harper and Row, 1979.