The Cycle of Violence

The Cycle of Violence depicts a pattern often experienced in abusive relationships. The three phases repeat over and over. Domestic violence is a pattern of abuse in an intimate relationship that escalates over time.

The Cycle of Violence

The cycle of violence is intergenerational. It not only repeats itself in an abusive relationship, it also repeats itself by emerging later in the relationships of people who experienced and witnessed violence in the home as they grew up.

If you are in
immediate danger
CALL 911

Santa Barbara Shelter
24-Hour Crisis Line
964-5245

Lompoc Shelter
24-Hour Crisis Line
736-0965

Santa Maria Shelter
24-Hour Crisis Line
925-2160

Santa Ynez Valley
24-Hour Crisis Line
686-4390

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What is Abuse?
"Abuse" will be used in this definition to indicate behavior that is inflicteded upon a woman by a person with whom she is involved in an intimate relationship. Abuse can be found among married and unmarried heterosexuals, lesbians and gays. It cuts across geographic, religious, economic, and racial barriers. Abuse is a pattern of control that one person exercises which physically harms, induces fear, prevents a woman from doing what she wishes, or forces her to perform in ways she doesn not want. Men can also be abused, but for our purposes we will talk about the abuse of women. Abuse includes verbal, psychological, emotional, financial, physical, sexual or spiritual attacks.
Verbal Abuse could be
yelling, name-calling, constant complaining, criticizing, blaming you for everything, humiliating you in public or private, using sarcasm, dominating conversations, teasing you about things you are sensitive about, mumbling then denying speaking, and employing total silence as punishment.
Psychological Abuse could be
dismissing your reality and experiences, "remembering" things that didn't happen or never remembering anything, making up rules that you "should have known", and creating an atmosphere in which you begin to doubt your own reality.
Emotional Abuse could be
ignoring your feelings, ridiculing your beliefs, withholding approval, threatening to take your children, telling you about his/her affairs, manipulating you with lies, threatening to leave you, taking the car keys or money, keeping you from working or going to school, abusing your pets or children, or driving your family or friends away, threatening to "out" you if you are gay, and threatening suicide if you leave, threatening to turn you in to the law or the INS if you don't go along.
Financial Abuse could be
taking the paychecks, withholding funds, not giving any money for basic requirements, spending all the money before bills are paid, demanding money from you, refusal to pay you back, over-extending or destroying credit, making you account for every dime, disparity in spanding, threatening or refusing to pay child support, demanding that his/her spending desires are priority, hiding money or assets and depleting accounts.
Physical Abuse could be
pushing, scratching, slapping, hitting, punching, choking, kicking, holding, biting, throwing, locking you out of the house, driving recklessly when you are in the car, throwing objects at you, threatening to hurt you with a weapon, abandoning you in dangerous places, and refusing to help when you are pregnant, injured or sick.
Sexual Abuse could be
insisting that you dress in an uncomfortable sexual way, calling you sexual name like "whore" or "bitch", forcing you to strip, forcing unwanted sexual acts, withholding sex as punishment, criticizing you sexually, insisting upon sex when you don't want it, and using pictures or intimate knowledge of you to humiliate you.
Spiritual Abuse could be
demeaning your spiritual/religious choices or beliefs, separating you from your spiritual connection to family/culture, suppressing your spiritual expression, denying you access to your spiritual connections, and wearing down your self-esteem until your "spirit" is gone.