Violence in the Home - ( Part II )

Jul 18, 2010

The Cycle of Violence

Lenore walker in her pioneering book on domestic violence entitled “The battered woman” coined the phrase ‘the cycle of violence’ and described its four phases. The tension building phase is characterized by minor anger outbursts, and the presence of a cold-war between the spouses. Even when there is no communication, the tension is almost palpable and the spouse knows that explosion could take place at any moment.  It is just like the ‘calm before the storm!’  This is followed by Explosion phase where the violent incident occurs. There is utter chaos- abusive language, a lot of yelling and screaming and then come the punches, kicks, branding, and belting which in some cases crosses all limits to include scorching, stabbing or murder.

The third phase is called the honey moon or making up phase in which the abuser usually apologizes, makes promises that he is never going to be violent again, blames the woman for instigating him and for exaggerating the impact, etc. He brings her flowers, gifts, sentimental cards and uses all tactics to convince her that it is not going to occur again. This is followed by the Calm stage in which there is no violence or abuse for a few days and the woman believes her spouse is really sorry and has changed and there is no need for her to fret and fume.  Unfortunately, this stage is short lived and the climate changes again, there is tension often without any advance notice and thus, the cycle continues.

This is called a cycle of violence because it happens repeatedly in an abusive relationship. However, all abuse does not fall into a cyclical pattern; in some cases, there is only the tension building and violence phase and no honey moon. 
Remember, children are watching

Dhiraj, an eighth grader pushed his father down the stairs when his father was trying to strangle his mother with his bare hands. Due to the impact, his father had a skull fracture and died later that day at a local hospital. “I didn’t really mean to kill him” said Dhiraj, “I have watched helplessly as he pushed, punched and kicked my mother ever since I was three years old. He used to start for silly reasons by using foul language and a bunch of obscenities which would soon lead to kicking, pulling her by her hair and belting her until she bled or fainted.” 
Dhiraj is one of the millions of children who are robbed of their childhood joys because they grow up in violent homes. Domestic violence or violence that occurs between spouses in a number of homes has a long-lasting effect on young minds. A number of children either witness a parent being violated verbally, emotionally or physically on a daily basis or are directly traumatized by violence. While some just become silent spectators of violations, others get entrapped into the vicious cycle when the violent outbursts spill over and include them. When the spouse does not react, many abusers divert their attention and lash out on their own children. 

There are many children who toss and turn in bed all night wondering if they will see their mothers alive the next morning. Sometimes children are locked up in a room before the outbreak but many abusers don’t even care if their young ones are watching them lash out. Jeethu, a five-year-old, was once caught by his grandma beating his three-year-old sister and pulling her by her hair when they were ‘playing house.’ When asked what he was doing, he candidly replied, “I am the Dad. She’s my wife; this is what dads do!” At age five Jeethu has been taught by his parents what is expected of him when he grows up.

There are thousands of women who, by not taking action against violence in their homes put their lives and the lives of their children in danger. Unless women realize that violence is a crime, they are not going to admit the same. Mrs. Pinto for example mustered courage and filed for a divorce after 17-years of marriage. She justified her long silence and said “I just did it to keep my family intact. I did it for my children.” But her 16-year old son says “Mummy, don’t feel bad but you did not do us a favor, living with him under the same roof was nothing but hell day after day. You should have done it years ago.” Growing up in households where constant arguments, verbal abuse or physical violence are a day to day occurrence is painful to say the least. Studies indicate that children prefer to have one parent instead of having two who are at each other’s throats.  

There is one theory that postulates that children exposed to violence grow up to be violent themselves but this is not always true. Although incidence of violence is relatively higher among those who have violent role models in the home, not everyone who witnesses violence becomes an abuser when he or she grows up. Additionally, the impact of violence is not the same on all children. While some female children with violent fathers tend to believe that violence is a norm for all families and has to be endured silently, some others may develop hatred or mistrust towards men in general. Children who witness violence are more likely to act out in schools, bully classmates, become sullen and withdrawn, suffer from nightmares or wet their beds compared to those who do not.  All said and done, it is commendable that majority of children are endowed with tremendous resilience- they bounce right back and take life head on even when life treats them unfairly.

Possible Solutions

• When violence erupts, professional help needs to be sought right away; violence cannot and should not be tolerated.  Women need to be educated that domestic violence is a crime. Both the abuser and the abused need help.  Early attention and intervention can help save marriages and save lives.

• If you are a woman in an abusive relationship, talk to someone- friends, family or others who care. Don’t suffer in silence; Violence is not something that can be or should be endured for years.

• Safety first: Make sure the person’s life is not in danger. If it is, take her to a sheltered place away from the abuser. There are safe places for women in distress.  Do not put yourself or your children at risk. Regrets will not bring broken limbs or lost lives back.

•  ‘An Order of Protection’ or ‘a restraining order’ can be obtained from a magistrate against the violator when there’s a threat. Punishment for violating an order of protection ranges from a fine of Rs. 20,000 or a prison term of 1 year. The Domestic Violence Act has many economic and legal provisions for safeguarding the rights of women who are violated. Even the female members of a family can be convicted under this act for torture of any kind.

• Separation or divorce is not the only option for people in abusive relationships but it is the last resort.  Divorce is bad no doubt, but murder is worse!

• Physical violence is not the only form of abuse. It is just the tip of an iceberg.  Psychological (emotional) and verbal abuse which is difficult to define is equally (if not more) injurious to family well-being than physical abuse. 

• Many women are mustering courage to say ‘enough is enough’ thanks to increased awareness, education and employment.  If you can, support these women and encourage them, don’t persecute them.  Most women give their abusive partners ample opportunities to change and when they see no light at the end of the tunnel, they decide to call it quits.

• We have collectively swept this issue under the rug and it is time to stop one human being from abusing another. Violators come in both genders, it is a human problem.  It is not fair (for animals) to equate violators with animals.  Animals don’t play mind games like we do.

• When two people complement each other, relationship works. When one tries to control, dominate, intimidate, torture or emotionally black mail the other, it doesn’t.  It is wise to address personal complexes before getting into relationships. 

• If alcoholism or psychiatric illness is the cause of violence, professional attention is needed to address the primary problem first. In some cases (not most) violence may be triggered by a bout of alcoholism or mental breakdown.

• We somehow seem to have double standards when it comes to the two genders.  One has to learn to put the foot down but it does not mean that you have to stand on someone else’s foot.
Patience, understanding, gentleness, and love are virtues required of both genders- male and female.  We have developed an easy way out - ‘blaming the victim’ instead of holding the perpetrator responsible for violence in our homes.

Remember, love should not hurt, if it does, it is just not love!

Dr Lavina Noronha - Archives :  


by Dr. Lavina Noronha
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Comment on this article

  • Lavina Noronha, Mangalore

    Sat, Jul 24 2010

    First of all, I wish to thank all readers for your comments, support and constructive criticism. I truly consider it worth my while even if it touches just one person- be it a perpetrator or a survivor of violence. Open discussion is vital for solving any issue and I agree that domestic violence is an emotionally charged topic which warrants attention and action.

    Violence in the household is a real problem which destroys families-men, women and children and in order to address this problem, we have to first and foremost acknowledge it as a problem. One does not have to rely on national or international statistics to fathom the magnitude of this problem. Take one look around your neighborhood and your family and your network of friends and you will know for yourself which gender is violated more.

    I work with both perpetrators and victims provided they are motivated to work on the issue (The men and women referenced in the articles are real not fictional characters. Their names and personal details have been changed to protect their identities).

    Majority of the men are true gentlemen. The count of ‘gentlemen’ in my own family (including my Dad and male siblings) outnumbers the ‘abusers. The ratio is 54:2 which goes to prove that not all men are violent by nature. However even the minority who are violent can wreak havoc and wreck families none the less. Only when we learn to move beyond the gender divide to face the truth no matter how bitter it is, can the can the true essence of the message reach the people.

  • Maria Pinto, Mangalore/Dubai

    Fri, Jul 23 2010

    Please do not blame Dr.Lavina. She has not stated that all men are violent.Please do not misinterprit her article. She has mentioned about a certain category of men who are violent and how this cycle of violence happens in 4 phases.(In some cases it can be 3 phases). Those who have experienced it, will understand what she has written. She is trying to help/guide the victim & the culprit to act quickly instead of just going thu'it silently with suffering. This does not neceesarily mean that they have to separate, but they can take help of professionals like Psychologists/Psychiatrists/Priests/Police etc to overcome the weakness/problems before it is too late.
    I am a victim of these 4 phases of domestic violence. This type of men are extremely unpredictable, suddenly they will be violent for no reason. They cannot accept any kind of correction, advice, explanation at any given time from their spouse or any family member. They will need medical/experts help.

  • matilda, mangalore

    Fri, Jul 23 2010

    Most of the time men are violent. But they dont care what impact is on their kids. Good article Dr.lavina i hope atleast it helps one woman in 100 that is great.

  • Francis mathias, Shirva/Bahrain

    Fri, Jul 23 2010

    One more good article by Dr. Lavina.I appeal Dr. Lavina, Keep writing for the betterment of the society.

    Dr. Lavina has shown social elements that are responsible for voilence, physical abuse and thereby utter chaos in the family. Husband and wife relationship works mainly on three mantras viz loving, sharing and caring. In the present society there is dearth of good understanding between spouses, respect for each other and egotism on the rise. In our families, prayer has taken back seat. The present trend of life is full of worries, tension, longing to achieve great goals by sacrifising present life and peace of mind. No time for each other. Both husband and wife should have good understanding to lead a peaceful and happy married life. Then only they can bring up their children with God fearing and worthy manner.

    It is not that important to know that who is responsible for the chaos but it is must to know that what responsible factor is leading for unpleasant situation in the family. Men are, no doubt more contributor than their counterparts.

  • steve, Sharjah

    Thu, Jul 22 2010

    Daijiworld Special Report 'Violence in The Home' by Dr Lovina is wrong by not providing any solutions in that article and fueling it by condemning the male race. She must understand by this fact story of Sapna and I urge to every women not to give up in their family life. The matters of home not to fuel it by anger and rejection or hate redness but with love and peace. Keep the Joy of our Lord in your heart as it spreads home any cold heart or stone heart will turn into your desire. Do it with love and communicating cause we must live in this world as a families.

  • Tom Cat, Mangalore/ Saudi Arabia

    Wed, Jul 21 2010

    A woman accompanied her husband to the doctor's office.
    After the check-up, the doctor took the wife aside and
    Said, "If you don't do the following, your husband will
    Surely die".

    1. Each morning, fix him a healthy breakfast and send
    Him off to work in a good mood.

    2. At lunch time, make him a warm, nutritious meal and
    Put him in a good frame of mind before he goes back
    To work.

    3. For dinner, fix an especially nice meal, and don't
    Burden him with household chores.

    4. Have sex with him several times a week and satisfy
    His every whim.

    On the way home, the husband asked his wife what the doctor
    had told her.

    "You're going to die," she replied

  • Alban D Souza, Udyavara, Doha Qatar

    Tue, Jul 20 2010

    The article is onesided and only men are shown as violent. This is always not true. Comparatively men are more violent and arraogant rather than women and women are less violent. Men and women are unique and differnet indiviudals sharing life as one body. When husbands acts as head of the family wife acts and supports husband as House wife and full family with children.

    Women has the power to unite the family inspite of the tragedies or calamities in the family. This requires sacrifice and patience from both the partners. They both have to play their roles by love , understanding and mutual respect. One has to apply the example and model of St. Joseph and Mother Mary in ones life and carry on life with happiness, peace and pleasures of life.

  • John Dsouza , Chickmagalur

    Tue, Jul 20 2010

    It is very true what MR Steve has expressed , The picture shows very innocent women but is it true in life , many men experience the opposite.

  • devika, mlore

    Tue, Jul 20 2010

    hello . everything goes on ones thinking terror is the factor for women or men -phobia in nightmare realative to life also is heriditary but calmness goodthinking hardwork always a boon of gift with good sleep .easy for divorce but hard to digest think before we indian traditional persons ,way of living is idol and our elders are imaginable about present so live in goodway.

  • steve, Sharjah

    Tue, Jul 20 2010

    Is this article gives any solutions for the VIOLENT (husbands)men? or gives any comfort to those who tolerated for long from their HUSBAND?

  • Lynette Fernandes, Mangalore / Dubai

    Tue, Jul 20 2010

    Everyone is free to air their opinion. We are not talking about an occassional incident but repeatedly carreid out abuse. Unless someone goes through this abuse, be it male or female, its difficult to comprehend what the abused person goes through. It becomes difficult to forgive and forget when it is repeatedly inflicted upon, more so when children are involved. No matter what the differences and misgivings in a marriage/relationships are, violence should not be resorted to for whatever reason and thats why it is a CRIME.

    Unless these people (man or woman) realise that there are very grave consequences they have to face for what they do, I am 100% sure they will not do it again. No one is perfect, everyone has their own flaws. Acknowledgement and accepting ones violent nature, is the first step towards any possibel healing/treatment and reconciliation. Otherwise, this goes on until families separate, divorce or until death of one of the partner.

  • Joyson, Mangalore

    Tue, Jul 20 2010

    If not in all cases but in most of the cases the it is women who triger the voilence in men. They prove they are always right and try to dominate men. Men has to strugle/sufer for their (wive's) comfort. Dr. Lavina may have focused only on a particular incident.

  • C Pereira, Dubai/Udupi

    Tue, Jul 20 2010

    Isnt there an like/unlike option for articles here?? i would have surely opted for unlike..

  • Maria, Mangalore/Dubai

    Mon, Jul 19 2010

    It's an excellent article from Dr. Lavina! Hats off to her for writing such an enlighting article so that all of those women who were putting up with domestic violence can now take action just like how I did a few years' ago.

    Yes. I am one of the victims of such domestic violence. My husband was dominating, intimidating, controling, torturing physically, verbally & emotionally to me & children for silly reasons. I had to earn & bring salary and give it to him & look after the household. I put up reluctantly with him for 15 years for the sake of kids. Tried various ways of counselling him thru elders, relatives, preists & Dr. Lavina herself.

    She very clearly told him that for whatever reason domestic violence is not acceptable. Since he is not an achoholic, he kept giving the reason of anger. She counselled him on anger management & asked him to practise yoga. He bought the yoga books and did nothing on that. After sometime, everything was forgotten and he went back to square one.

    Few months later,again for silliest reason, he started verbally abusing and hitting me. Next day, I went to Doctor, took Dr's report and lodged a police complaint against him. He was called to the police station. He was questioned by police officers. He apologised to them. He was warned by them and they took an undertaking from him that he will not intimidate & abuse me & kids in the future. Beleve it or not! From that day he could control his anger and his hand raising up!!

  • Rajesh Sequeira, cordel, Dubai

    Mon, Jul 19 2010

    A very good article and a good eye opener.

  • L N Rego, Bendur

    Mon, Jul 19 2010

    Good Article, infact such appear in most of the dailies and weekly's.When i read i confessed myself and felt lot of the things are not right, may be the author has the knowledge of only violent husbend.
    let me express my own concerns.
    1. Why only men are on the wrong end everytime
    2. There are women who just for sexual pleasure opt other men even after marriage, or premarital relationships crop up again after marriage takes place why such cases are not considered by the author
    3. Violence also takes place by the women, author forgot such cases?
    I have a humble request with the author,when you are refering few cases of violent men folks equivalent to that are of women with the same nature may be they are not highlighted in the media.
    I feel both cases should have been refered in the article.

  • Tom Cat, Mangalore/ Saudi Arabia

    Mon, Jul 19 2010

    Many times men are at the receiving end although not psychically but through mental torture, denial, by being uncongenial, most of the time if men are unfaithful very often the roots cause are the women in the house. Hence men in the west do not want to get married,as women only want rights with out having a good relationship.

  • arun, mangalore

    Mon, Jul 19 2010

    I have many women talk about 'domestic' violance, women becoming victims etc but reality is these women have failed their own household by trying to dominate over their partner and spoil all lives including their children

    This is not life. as every coin has two sides and one cant clap unless both hands come closer... there is something need to be addressed to solve these problems.

    The article is self centered and glorifying the men in negative sense.

  • Jimmy Noronha, Belloor/Lucknow

    Mon, Jul 19 2010

    I am afraid I must say that Lenore Walker is a big talker, and she should talk to readers of her native land and not to my Mangaloreans, who by and large make good husbands except for some rare exceptions which are quite universal.

    In fact women in some parts of the world love it if their husbands (in Russia) turn a bit aggressive towards their spouses for they think that it is simply because ‘they love us’ as they put it. I think the article is rather hyperbolical and might not cater to the taste of the readers despite some ‘very good article’ comments from some quarters.

  • Rekha , Madikeri

    Sun, Jul 18 2010

    Marriage is a bond between two unknown personnel. It is bound with love and sacrifice. It is a duty of both to sacrifice anything/everything for their partners. Only LOVE can erase every error made in life. Divorce is not a solution. Do you think, you will get other better fellow? No, No he is will have some other problem. Hence be bold in life and try to solve with love.

  • A.S.Mathew, U.S.A.

    Sun, Jul 18 2010

    This is a very sad reality of the
    modern fast life totally focused
    on materialism. If, both the
    husband and wife won't work
    together along with the family
    to have a happy married life,
    even simple problems of life will
    blow out of proportion and will
    end up in serious problems. I have
    seen some bumper stickers " those
    who pray together will stay

    I read the story how the devil
    played a trick to destroy a
    prospering coffee shop. The devil
    sent a fly to the cooking area,
    where two cooks were frying different
    deep fried items (may be urid vada
    and parippu vada). The urid vada
    cook got irritated by the fly and
    threw something at the fly and the
    fly flew away but the object landed
    at the parippu vada frying pan, and
    the hot oil splashed at the cook.
    They started a fight, and the
    coffee shop customers got involved,
    finally the whole shop was in total
    ruin. The small fly did the job.

    In our families, many high level
    frictions were taking place through
    very silly reasons. We may put the blame on the devil, but
    by tempering our temper, a whole
    lot of fights can be avoided.
    If our partner is tense with a
    problem, say a calm word to cool
    the person, but some people will
    ask counter questions and try to
    pour oil in the burning fire so
    as to create an inferno. Watch
    our words carefully, and avoid
    fights at home. Forgive and forget
    the past mistakes of the partner
    and look for a happy future.

  • Samuel, Kateel

    Sun, Jul 18 2010

    Dr Lavina - In your previous article you have given an example of a wife locked up by her husband for going out too much. Though I don't agree with what husband did, I can only imagine what must have led him to do that. He didn't lock her up from the first day of her arrival. Instead of advocating divorce is better than murder, can we suggest the wife to reduce her outgoing for the sake of family's peace. How hard is it?

    I feel these kind of articles increase violence than solving it.

  • adshenoy, managloor

    Sun, Jul 18 2010

    DR. Lavina, This articale is absolutely biased and one sided. Violensce of course is a tragedy and painting it with one sided is not a professional view at all. You are dipicting men as violent. Perhaps you failed to understand that it has a cause and effrect relationship. While I also agree that a small perceantage is caused by men only I disagrre with you that its entirely caused by men. Please let your articles be more professional as I believe you are a professional person. Otherwise please restrain publicising these biased writings on publis forums.

  • Sylvia Menezes, Udupi,

    Sun, Jul 18 2010

    Excellent article.At once I felt you have express my home story. Same thing happens in my house. My husband is a alcholic & chain smooker. My house every day fight. Kicking, Scratching,Hitting,Using bad language in front of children. I Can't talk anything.

    Some Men(Drunker)thinks wife is for Cooking, Sleeping & earning. They expect Wife has to earn&bring Salary and give to him.And her duty to take care of the children& home. Shame on such type of men.Feeling dirty to live with such type of men. As you say b'use of children we have to live.

  • Marie Chris, Dxb

    Sun, Jul 18 2010

    Very enligthening article.More discussion on such articles are welcome.

  • steve, Sharjah

    Sun, Jul 18 2010

    I think violence is not only at home it become now global. It starts from home but ends at nowhere unless you find solutions. Why need to provoke these thoughts instead publishing this violent picture and Headings publish solutions headings where people are looking for. I refuse to read this article just because of the heading and the picture please excuse me.

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