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The Four Stages Of Domestic Violence


Domestic violence is a serious problem in Fort Lauderdale. It is also one of the least discussed and most commonly misunderstood. Abusers often engage in a pattern of behavior that leaves victims, extended family members, and friends of the couple feeling uncertain and confused. Unfortunately, this can prevent them from taking action, resulting in potentially dire consequences. The following details four common stages of domestic violence and warning signs to be alert for in each.

The Cycle of Domestic Abuse and Warning Signs To Be Alert For

According to the Florida Department of Children and Families, roughly a quarter of all women experience domestic violence at some point in their lives. Men represent a reduced but still significant number of victims. Each year, more than 105,000 cases are reported to local law enforcement agencies throughout the state. An even greater number likely goes unreported.

Abusers use a variety of tactics to control and manipulate their victims, including strong denials and making their behavior seem ‘normal’. The stages that abuse often follows can provide important clues:

  1. The build-up. In the build up to episodes of domestic violence, there is often a noticeable increase in the amount of tension in the abuser and in the home. They may act increasingly hostile, lose their temper, or begin making subtle threats.
  2. The explosion. The tension within the situation can rapidly reach a boiling point, resulting in an explosion of violent and abusive behavior. Under the Florida Statutes, domestic violence is defined as physical acts, such as hitting, punching, or pushing, sexual harassment and abuse, stalking, kidnapping, terrorist threats, and destruction fo the victims property.
  3. Pleas for forgiveness. Episodes of domestic violence can flare up quickly and may end just as abruptly. In the aftermath, the abuser may express sorrow and shame, beg for forgiveness, and make vows that it will never happen again. At the same time, they may also attempt to downplay the incident or imply that the victim was somehow to blame.
  4. The calm before the next storm. In the aftermath, the relationship may experience a sense of calm. The abuser may attempt to be more loving, help around the house, or do other things to ingratiate themselves to the victim, their family, and friends. Unfortunately, this is just a show and is often short lived. It is generally not long before signs of tension begin to show, indicating that the cycle is about to repeat.

Being able to recognize the warning signs and what stage the abuser is likely in can help encourage domestic violence victims to take the steps needed to protect themselves. This includes obtaining an Injunction for Protection Against Domestic Violence, which can break the cycle of abuse while helping victims their recovery.

Contact Us for Help Today

For help in protecting yourself or someone you love against domestic abuse, reach out to the law office of Vanessa L. Prieto. To request a confidential consultation, call or contact our Fort Lauderdale domestic violence attorney online today.

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