About 10 million U.S. men and women experience some form of domestic abuse, which is defined as the use of emotional manipulation or physical force to control an intimate partner, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Abuse. Typically, victims face the greatest risk in trying to leave an abusive relationship. To leave safely, you must learn how abusers respond, and try to reassert control.
Excessive Emotional Responses
The abuser showers a victim with money or gifts, even if he can't afford them, says the Colorado Bar Association. He also steps up efforts to woo her over emotionally. This tactic is called "honeymoon syndrome," since the abusive behavior reasserts itself if the victim decides to stay.
Promises to Change
Vague promises to start counseling are a common method to prevent victims from leaving. The abuser often minimizes his behavior as a "one-off" incident. However, less than 1 percent of batterers enter counseling voluntarily -- which is a prerequisite to ensure its effectiveness -- states the Clark County Prosecutor's Office.
Sudden Religious Conversions
Victims may see abusers suddenly claim interest in attending church services, or feign readiness to turn over a new leaf spiritually. This behavior is called "revival syndrome," because the abuser is deflecting responsibility for his actions onto God, according to Clark County's domestic violence overview.
Increased Acts of Violence
Breaking, striking and throwing objects are common methods of intimidation. The abuser may combine these acts with pushing, shoving or physically restraining his partner in an argument, suggests an overview from the website New Hope for Women. The abuser then escalates the violence if his partner doesn't waver about leaving.
- Clark County Prosecuting Attorney: Are You a Victim of Domestic Violence?
- Colorado Bar Association: About Perpetrators of Domestic Violence
- New Hope for Women: Abuser Tricks
- StopViolence.com: 20 Reasons Why She Stays: A Guide for Those Who Want to Help Battered Women
- The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence: National Statistics
- Aphrodite Wounded: Leaving an Abusive Relationship and Your Safety
- Laura L. Kerr: When a Woman Leaves Her Batterer
- Los Angeles Police Department: Domestic Violence: Reasons Why Battered Victims Stay With the Batterers
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Office on Women's Health: Violence Against Women
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