How to Recognize Domestic Violence in Your Relationship and How to Get Out
When you see an individual berating his or her partner in public or hear stories about people staying with their abusers for years or decades, living through routine beatings, you might find yourself shaking your head and wondering how a victim can allow him or herself to stay in that relationship. The truth is, most victims do not realize that they are being abused. One of the greatest hallmarks of domestic violence is denial, or the feeling among both the victim and the abuser that their relationship is perfectly normal.
Domestic violence can be physical, emotional, sexual, or financial. It can include any act committed against a romantic partner or household member that exerts control over him or her. In New Jersey, domestic violence is defined by N.J.S.A. 2C:25-19(d). It can be extremely difficult to recognize domestic violence in your relationship and even more difficult to find the strength to leave your abuser. Despite this difficulty, leaving an abusive relationship can prevent years of physical and emotional damage and in some cases, save your life.
The Cycle of Violence
One of the most common models used to illustrate domestic violence is the Cycle of Violence. This model, often shown as a chart or graphic, demonstrates the cyclical nature of abusive relationships and how one behavior feeds the next.
The stages of the Cycle of Violence are as follows:
Explosion. Violence or exploitation occurs.
Honeymoon. After the violent episode, the abuser assures his or her victim that it will never happen again and attempts to repair the relationship with gifts and affection.
Tension Building. After the honeymoon phase, the relationship returns to “normal.” This can mean small incidents, communication failures, and the victim’s loss of control over the situation. At this stage, he or she often feels like another violent episode is imminent – because it is.
Call the New Jersey Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-572-7233(SAFE) for resources and crisis intervention services. If you do not have a safe place to go, you will be directed to your nearest women’s shelter.
The next step is seeking a restraining order against your abuser. A restraining order can prevent him or her from contacting or coming near you. If you feel you are in immediate danger, call 911 to ask for an emergency restraining order. Otherwise, you will have to go to court to have one issued by a judge.
Domestic violence is not a problem limited to any race or socioeconomic category. Likewise, it happens in both same sex and opposite sex relationships. Victims and abusers can be either male or female. If you are a victim of domestic violence, get out now. Once you are safe, contact The Law Office of Eric B. Hannum Esq., LLC. at 732-370-9596 or on the web to discuss your options for seeking a restraining order and ending your relationship with your abuser. Do not wait another day to get out of an abusive relationship.