If domestic abuse has a pattern, that pattern would be the cycle. The key to ending abuse is to disrupt the cycle and using all legal means available. Read on for more information about how to end abuse—and possibly save your life in the process.
The Cycle of Domestic Abuse
According to experts, domestic abuse rarely comes out of nowhere. Instead, after the initial honeymoon phase, tension begins to build in the relationship. Your partner might insult you, try to control your movements, and isolate you from friends and family. Tension continues to escalate until it culminates in an act of domestic violence.
However, many abusers immediately plead for forgiveness and become even more attentive to their partners. The aftermath of the violence starts a second honeymoon phase—which does not last long.
Getting Off the Merry-Go-Round
Breaking the cycle takes willpower and incredible strength. It also requires facing some uncomfortable facts. That slap in the face? That is probably not an isolated incident. The drunken assaults which send you to the emergency room? Those are likely to increase in intensity.
The first step you can take: tell someone about the abuse. Make sure it is someone you can trust, otherwise they might casually tell the abuser what you told them. If there is no one you can trust, try to meet with a counselor or other mental health professional. They are professionally obligated to maintain confidentiality.
Also develop a safety plan. The only way to really end the cycle is to leave. Ahead of time, you should pull together an escape plan, which should include:
- Ways of leaving the home in a fast, safe manner
- Important phone numbers, such as the number to a nearby shelter
- A bag of everyday items that you will need
- Important documents, such as Social Security cards, birth certificates, medical records, driver’s license, and car registration
- Medicine that you will need
- Money, credit cards, or checks (preferably not for a joint account which your partner could close)
- Items your children will need, if you have children
Finally, seek an order of protection against your abuser. This is a court order telling your abuser that they cannot contact you or come near you. You must request an order from the court in the county where the abuser lives. For help, you can work with an attorney, visit a legal aid clinic, or download the protective order kit available at the Attorney General’s website.
Speak with a Galveston or League City Domestic Abuse Attorney
Breaking the cycle of domestic abuse is difficult—but possible. You may have legal options that you are unaware of. To schedule a consultation with a talented Houston criminal defense attorney to discuss your case, please call the Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates today, (281) 280-0100.