|Imam Zijad’s Corner: DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: A CYCLE OF ABUSE
An abusive relationship typically follows a cycle that is marked by three well-recognized phases. Although there are some variations from this cycle, many abusive relationships will repeat this cycle over and over:
*The tension – building phase is a period of time when a wife either avoids her husband to keep her husband’s world running smoothly. She does this to prevent another abusive explosion. In this way, she holds some ‘limited control’ in the relationship but eventually the tension increases and then simmers to a boil. If small abusive incidents continue, it will take to the next phase. Ordinarily, this phase lasts for long period of time.
*The abusive phase is marked by increased severity of abuse. Unlike the minor abusive incidents that occurred in the first phase, the incidents here are much more serious. In this phase, the physical attack or verbal assault seems to come out of nowhere: meals, phone calls, etc. This phase usually lasts from two to twenty-four hours after which the wife may need medical treatment. In this phase, a few women choose to inform family members about the abuse. Many of them experience an increasing sense of helplessness and feelings of self-hatred for not doing something to prevent the abuse; yet, they remain silent.
*The calm and penance phase is a time when the abuser appears to be stricken with grief over his cruel and insensitive actions. He works very hard to make up for what he has done with apparent acts of kindness, promising never to abuse again. But this phase, if the husband did not approach the problem seriously, will not last for long. The tension will slowly begin to mount and the cycle will repeat again. But what usually happens in this phase is that the husband eventually begins to act as if nothing ever happened. The abuse done again is not mentioned and no apology is offered. Life just somehow goes back to “normal.” But because their problems are not worked through, the tension escalates, leading to another abusive episode.
(…to be continued…)