What are Dating and Domestic Violence?
Domestic Violence is defined as abuse committed against an adult or a minor who is a spouse or former spouse, cohabitant or former cohabitant, or someone with whom the abuser has a child, and has an existing dating or engagement relationship, or has had a former dating or engagement relationship.
Dating Violence is defined as abuse committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim.
Dating/domestic violence can affect any kind of relationship, including relationships that involve partners from different genders, the same gender, or polyamorous relationships. The victim of intimate partner violence, as well as the perpetrator of the abuse, may be any gender.
The Cycle of Violence
Many abusive relationships follow a pattern of some kind. This pattern is often referred to as the Cycle of Violence. The Cycle often includes the following stages:
- The Honeymoon: This stage is often identified as the “falling in love” stage. People in this stage of their relationship might feel compelled to spend all their time together, tend to overlook things that would normally annoy them and often talk about their new partner with all of their friends. This stage is also a common occurrence in healthy relationships.
- The Tension Building Phase: During this phase, the abuser typically will experience increased tension while the victim minimizes problems and withdraws, the victim may describe this stage as feeling as though they are “walking on eggshells” and the abuser may seek more control.
- The Trigger is some sort of event which immediately precedes the Explosion or abuse. The abuser will say that this is something that the victim did to cause the abuse. The truth is that the trigger can be anything or nothing, and is solely determined by the abuser.
- The “Explosion” or Abusive Incident: This is where the abuser uses some form of abuse or violence to obtain or maintain a position of power and control in the relationship. The abuse might be emotional, verbal, sexual or physical. While it is common for abusive relationships to begin with emotional or verbal abuse, it is also common for those relationships to escalate to sexual and physical violence.
- The False Honeymoon: During the False Honeymoon, the abuser will likely apologize for their behavior and make promises that they will never hurt the victim again; however, it is also likely they will make excuses for their abuse and blame the victim for “causing” the abuser to act out the way they did. The abuser might also deny that the abuse was “that bad."
If you have concerns about your relationship or feel that you might be experiencing dating or domestic violence, please seek out support. There are several confidential resources on campus and in the community that may be able to help you. For more information about dating or domestic violence, or to speak with someone about safety planning, please contact the University CARE advocate at 530-752-3299.