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The psychology of domestic violence

The psychology of domestic violence


‘The Battered Woman Syndrome’ (continued)

There are various stages that an individual who is suffering from this condition will experience. When an individual begins to experience domestic violence, they will often deny the abuse that they are suffering from. They will refuse to admit that anything is wrong.

In the previous article, we looked at the stages of Denial and Guilt. This week, we discuss Enlightenment and Responsibility.


One of the most important phases of the battered women’s syndrome is enlightenment. This occurs when victims of abuse recognize that they are not to blame for the abuse they are experiencing. They will begin to understand that no one deserves to be subjected to domestic violence, no matter what characteristics they possess. The fact that an offender does not approve of the victim’s behaviour does not justify subjecting the victim to abuse and violence.

During this stage, victims will begin to acknowledge that their partner has an abusive and violent personality, and that the domestic violence the victim is experiencing is the fault of the abuser. It is now that a victim may begin to realize the importance of seeking domestic violence help. Despite the realization that they are living in an unhealthy environment and with a dangerous individual, victims will continue to remain with their abuser. They will commit themselves to saving their marriage; many will have the belief that they can help change their abuser. They will often use various reasons in order to justify this decision. However, individuals who choose to remain in their detrimental environment will soon find that in most cases, the abuse will not get better, it will increase in severity.


Once victims, of abuse recognize that the domestic violence they are suffering is the fault of their abuser, it is only a matter of time before these victims understand the importance of escaping their current environment; it is noteworthy that this desire to escape MUST come from the victims themselves.

Also, in the majority of cases, domestic violence does not improve over time. Most individuals who subject their partners to violence and brutality are repeat offenders and they will continue to expose their victim to intimate partner abuse. When an individual acknowledges this, they will understand that their safety, and the safety of their children depend on leaving the abusive relationship. During the responsibility stage of the battered women’s syndrome, a victim of domestic violence may experience a vast array of difficulties.

It is essential that individuals who have decided to escape their detrimental situation ensure that they are safe and secure. Women are in the most danger when they make the decision to flee an abusive environment. Therefore, it is essential that an individual plans their escape well. If a victim would like support and advice about leaving an abusive relationship, then they can contact the police or any agency which deals with abuse situations. Domestic violence shelters may also be able to provide victims with information and support.