Did You Know...
In California, it is a crime for any person to threaten, beat, sexually assault or otherwise harm another person, even if they are married.
Domestic violence is more than just a "family problem" -- it is a crime!
Battering is not exclusively a crime against women, but they do constitute the majority of victims; thus, this information is primarily directed to the battered wife or woman.
Although we have few statistics on the incidence of domestic violence, we do know that:
- Approximately 30 percent of female homicide victims in the United States are killed by their husbands or boyfriends
- Females are much more likely than males to be killed by their spouse
- Domestic violence affects at least one out of every four American families
Why Do They Stay?
The most frequently asked question concerning a battering situation is why does she stay? While reasons cover the range from children, love, guilt, fear, pride, embarrassment, financial dependence-or a combination thereof-it is very possible the woman is unaware that she may be locked into a violence cycle.
Three-Phase Theory of Family Violence
The family violence cycle consists of three phases: the tension-building phase, the acute-battering incident and the loving reconciliation.
During this phase, the woman senses her mate's increasing tension. He is "edgy" and perhaps challenges her and tells her she is stupid, incompetent, etc. The woman may internalize her appropriate anger at the man's unfairness and experience physical effects such as depression, tension, anxiety and headaches. As the tension in the relationship increases, minor episodes of violence increase, such as pinching, slapping or shoving.
The tension-building phase ends in an explosion of violence. The woman may or may not fight back. Following the battering, she is in a state of physical and psychological shock. The man may discount the episode and underestimate the woman's injuries.
During the last phase of the family violence cycle, both parties have a sense of relief that 'it's over." The man is often genuinely sorry for what happened and is fearful that his partner will leave him. He apologizes and may "shower" her with love and praise that helps repair her shattered self-esteem. He tells her he can't live without her, so she feels responsible for his well being and guilty for her actions and blames herself for what led to the abuse.
Increasing Spiral of Violence
Once violence has begun, it continues to increase in both frequency and severity. Understanding the psychological consequences of her violent relationship can help the woman take power and choose constructive alternatives, as well as aid those who intervene to help her.
If you become a victim of domestic violence:
- Call the police or sheriff.
- Make sure you are safe from another beating. Whenever you believe you are in danger, leave your home and take your children with you. Also, take important papers such as your birth certificate, vehicle registration, etc.
- Get medical attention. Don't try to treat yourself; you may be injured much more seriously than you realize.
- Seek assistance. Whether or not you file charges against your batterer, you may need to talk to a professional about your situation. Contact your local battered women's shelter, women's support group or victim's assistance center.
- Save all the evidence (proof) you can. (You may even want to take photographs of your injuries.) Whether or not you file charges now, you may later change your mind and will then need proof that you have been assaulted.
A Way Out
Everyone has the right to be safe from threats and beatings - but you must take the first step. Once you recognize that it isn't your fault and that it is possible to change your situation, seek the help you need to correct your situation. Help is available.
If you're the victim of domestic violence, call the police and report the crime. If you're in danger call 911.
For information about temporary shelter contact Wild Iris at (760) 934-2491
If you have been sexually assaulted, you can obtain counseling services
You may contact the Mono County Superior Court at (760) 934-5444 for information about court orders that can:
- Restrain the attacker from abusing you or other family members.
- Prevent the attacker from entering the victim's residence, school or place of employment.
- Award temporary custody of children and your home.
- Directs both parties to attend counseling.
- Direct persons to pay child or spousal support.
From 1973-1981 the United States Department of Justice Statistics reports that 2.2 million women reported abuse by a mate.