Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence is sometimes called many different things: Intimate Partner Violence (IPV), spousal abuse, family violence or dating violence, but the definition remains the same…

Domestic Violence is a pattern of coercive behavior designed to give one person power and control over the other.

Domestic violence often begins slowly, with the abuser initially appearing very charming, even “too good to be true”. Slowly, tactics like isolation, crazy-making, threats of harm to self or others and jealous accusations begin to emerge. Eventually a cycle begins where there’s an explosive incident (physical or verbal abuse), followed by a “honeymoon” period where the abuser showers the victim with gifts and/or tearful apologies, or conversely, ignores or denies the incident ever happened. This is followed by a calm period where the survivor may feel safe again, like the abuse is unlikely to ever happen again.

Eventually, however, the “tension building” phase begins and the survivor may feel like they’re walking on eggshells to avoid provoking another explosive incident. During this phase the survivor will try to appease the abuser, or they may even provoke the abusive incident in an effort to “get it over with”. Studies show that this cycle is likely to continue unless a serious intervention is made, and that violence tends to escalate over time.

Other times for escalated violence include during a pregnancy, when alcohol/drugs are involved, and immediately after the survivor has left the relationship. It’s important for survivors to know that abuse is never okay, and no one asks for, or deserves to be abused. Each of us deserve healthy, happy, thriving relationships from those that profess to love and care for us.

If you’re unsure if your relationship is healthy, call and speak to a confidential advocate, attend a support group, or take one of our free classes to learn how to assess your relationship.

Learn More

To learn more about domestic violence, try these resources


Power & Control Wheel

Ways abusers exert control: intimidation, emotional abuse, isolation, denying and blaming, using children, male priviledge, economic abuse, coercion and threats

From the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project,