Cycle
of Violence

The present is not
a potential past,
it is the moment
of choice
and action.

Simone de Beauvoir,
writer and philosopher

Although domestic violence has many faces and specificities, the American psychologist Leonor Walker has identified that aggressions committed in a marital context occur within a cycle that is constantly repeated.

When the victim is silent in the face of violence, the aggressor does not feel responsible for his actions - not to mention the fact that society already reinforces a man's "right" to discipline and subjugate a woman, even using physical force.

Over time, the intervals between one stage and another become shorter, just as the aggressions happen without following the order of the stages. In some cases there is femicide, which is the murder of the victim.

We must break this cycle. And Law Maria da Penha is on the side of women for this.

Stage 01.

Increased tension

At the first moment the aggressor is tense and irritated by insignificant things, it may even get anger fits. He also humiliates the victim, makes threats and destroys objects.

The woman tries to calm the aggressor, is distressed and avoids any conduct that can "provoke" him. The feelings are many: sadness, anguish, anxiety, fear and disappointment are just a few of them.

In general the victim tends to deny that this is happening to her, hides the facts from other people, and often thinks that she has done something wrong to justify the aggressor's violent behavior or that "he had a bad day at work", for example. This tension can last for days or years, but as it increases more and more, it is very likely that the situation will lead to Stage 2.

Stage 02.

Act of violence

This stage corresponds to the explosion of the aggressor, that is, the lack of control reaches the limit and leads to the violent act. Here all the tension accumulated in Stage 1 materializes in verbal, physical, psychological, moral or economic violence.

MEven though she is aware that the aggressor is out of control and has a great destructive power in relation to her life, the woman feels paralyzed and incapable of reacting. At this point she suffers from severe psychological stress (insomnia, weight loss, constant fatigue, anxiety) and feels fear, hatred, loneliness, self-pity, shame, confusion and pain.

At this moment she can also make decisions, such as to seek help, make a denounce, hide in the house of friends and relatives, ask for a separation and even commit suicide. There is usually a distancing from the aggressor.

Stage 03.

Repentance and caring behavior

Also known as "honeymoon", this phase is characterized by repentance of the aggressor, who becomes kind to achieve reconciliation. The woman feels confused and pressured to maintain her relationship in face of society, especially when the couple have children. In other words: she gives up her rights and resources, while he says he "will change".

There is a relatively calm period in which the woman is happy to see the efforts and changes of attitude, when she also remembers the good moments that they had together. As there he shows remorse, she feels responsible for him, which narrows the relationship of dependence between victim and aggressor.

A mix of fear, confusion, guilt and illusion are part of the woman's feelings. Finally, the tension returns and, with it, the aggressions of Stage 1.