Domestic violence can be deadly. An estimated 1,300 deaths are attributed to domestic violence every year in the United States. In addition to these deaths, approximately two million injuries are reported to be a result from this type of violence every year. Domestic violence transcends racial, socioeconomic, religious, and regional boundaries. Although domestic violence is commonly portrayed as being perpetrated by males against their female partners, individuals of either gender in both same- and opposite-sex relationships can be victims or perpetrators of domestic violence.
If you are a victim of domestic violence, you are not alone. Call the Illinois domestic violence hotline at 1-877-863-6339 to get help from an expert who can guide you toward one or more of the organizations in your area that serve victims of domestic violence. After you have done so, consider filing for an order of protection against your partner and speaking with an experienced family attorney to begin the process of ending your marriage.
The Cycle of Violence
Experts recognize the cycle of behaviors that occur in most abusive relationships and have organized them into a chart known as the cycle of violence. This chart shows the series of behaviors that abusers and their victims go through, creating a toxic cycle that can be very difficult to leave.
- Tension Building: The first stage of the cycle of violence is known as tension building. This is the point where the abuser might make threats to his or her victim or commit relatively minor acts of violence. In this stage, the victim often feels unstable in his or her relationship and often attempts to “right” the relationship by catering to the abuser and obeying him or her. However, no level of obedience is ever enough for the abuser, frequently leading him or her to the next stage.
- The Explosion: The next stage, the explosion, is where the abuse actually occurs. This abuse may be physical, emotional, sexual or financial and is often denied, downplayed, or never spoken of between the couple after it occurs.
- The Honeymoon: The final stage of the cycle, the honeymoon, is the abuser’s attempt to show remorse for the abuse by showering the victim with gifts, apologies, and promises to change his or her behavior. He or she might be successful in changing for the short term, but the overwhelming majority of these relationships end up back at the first stage, starting the cycle again.
Getting an Order of Protection
An order of protection is a legal order for an individual to cease all contact with another. Victims of domestic violence may seek orders of protection against their partners by petitioning to the court clerk of their home county, the county where the abuse occurred, or the county where the abuser resides. Your right to seek an order of protection is written into the Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986.
Divorce Attorneys in DuPage County
If you are a victim of domestic violence, seek safety before proceeding with filing for divorce. Once you are securely out of your abusive relationship, contact Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C. at (877) 889-4515 to discuss your circumstances with one of our firm’s compassionate DuPage County divorce attorneys. We are here to advocate for you and help you exit a dangerous marriage.