Guest post by Crisis Center
Domestic violence continues to be a commonly misunderstood topic that is rarely discussed. Many believe abuse only looks like a black eye or a broken arm; while this is commonly the case, abuse also shows up in more covert ways that are just as difficult to battle.
Domestic violence is a pattern of behaviors and tactics a perpetrator uses to give them power and control over their partner. These behaviors can manifest in the relationship as emotional, psychological, verbal, spiritual, sexual and many other types of abuse. Victims of domestic violence are exposed to a wide range of control and abuse, and no two stories are the same.
Battling the Cycle of Abuse
Along with these complex types of power and control, victims also have to battle the cycle of abuse. A look at this cycle can help us answer popular questions directed at victims like, “Why do they stay?”
Stage one of the cycle begins with tension building. The victim feels like they are “walking on eggshells” with their abusive partner and they may try everything possible to keep their partner happy to avoid an explosion.
Eventually it escalates to stage two when an explosion (physical, verbal, psychological violence) happens.
Stage three is commonly referred to as the “honeymoon” or “reconciliation” phase. In this phase, the abusive partner will typically apologize for their violent behavior or claim they will never do it again while also blaming the victim for being the cause of the violence. These false claims give the victim hope that things can change. The cycle then starts all over again with tension building.
Creating a Safety Plan
The complexities of domestic violence and leaving an abuser can be overwhelming to navigate alone. If you are in an abusive relationship it is important to start creating a safety plan. Some of the basics of a safety plan include:
- creating a “go-bag” with essential items (important documents, cash, clothing, phone charger, spare keys) and storing it in a secret place.
- calling the police.
- staying out of rooms without an easy exit/that have weapons in them.
- applying for a civil protection order.
- letting your workplace/friends know about the abuse.
- teaching your children how and when to call 911.
Each situation is different, so it is best to discuss your safety plan with a domestic violence crisis line advocate. (See below for resource numbers.) Reaching out to your local domestic violence agency can take away some of the fears and pressure of the process and also ensure that you and your children stay safe during it.
All victims of domestic violence deserve support and emotional healing, and agencies like the Crisis Center in Douglas County, Colorado, strive to do just that.
Options Available to Help Domestic Violence Survivors
If you are a victim of domestic violence living in the 18th Judicial District, you can contact the Crisis Center and be connected to a team of professionals who can support you during this time. The Crisis Center’s 24/7 crisis line serves as a main point of contact for victims.
Whether you plan to stay with your partner or are looking to leave safely, advocates can assist with safety planning, emotional processing, and resource referrals over the crisis line. The Crisis Center also operates a confidential shelter in Douglas County for victims in imminent danger. Other services include: community advocacy (e.g. help with basic needs and skill building), legal advocacy (e.g. procedural support for civil court issues) and therapy. All services are free.
If you or someone you know needs support because of domestic violence, contact your local domestic violence agencies to figure out the safest steps that can be taken to get closer to healing. The path to non-violence in relationships starts with listening to, believing and supporting survivors of domestic violence; just one step in this direction can create healing for generations.
If you would like to support the work of the Crisis Center, visit www.TheCrisisCenter.org. The center accepts financial donations as well as personal hygiene items, cleaning supplies and gift cards to King Soopers, Safeway and Target. We invite you to save the date for our annual gala event coming up virtually on Friday, Nov. 6.