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Re-Thinking the Cycle of Violence Linda Coates, Ph.D. Allan Wade, Ph.D. Centre for Response-Based Practice Duncan B.C. Canada In Dignity: Addressing Violence.

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Presentation on theme: "Re-Thinking the Cycle of Violence Linda Coates, Ph.D. Allan Wade, Ph.D. Centre for Response-Based Practice Duncan B.C. Canada In Dignity: Addressing Violence."— Presentation transcript:

1 Re-Thinking the Cycle of Violence Linda Coates, Ph.D. Allan Wade, Ph.D. Centre for Response-Based Practice Duncan B.C. Canada In Dignity: Addressing Violence aand Injustice through Response-Based Practice Yellowknife Feb 18-20, Coates & Wade, 2014 Centre for RBP

2 Response Based Practice: Accurate and Complete Descriptions (Minimum) Social Context Accurate language Actions of Perpetrator Responses of Victim Social Responses to Victim and Perpetrator Victim and Perpetrator Responses to Social Responses

3 Coates & Wade, 2014 Centre for RBP 3 Description 1: One night Sue and Tom argued on the walk home from the pub. Tom complained Sue was cold and not interested in sex. Tom stopped to urinate in the bushes. Tom asked Sue to stop and wait. By the time Tom caught up to Sue, they were at the house. Tom tried to get into the bedroom. Tom pushed the door open and forced his way in. Sue told Tom to get out. Tom pushed Sue hard against the wall, called her a nasty name, and punched the wall near her face. Tom grabbed Sue, punched her in the ribs, and left the bedroom. Tom left the house.

4 Coates & Wade, 2014 Centre for RBP 4 Description 2: One night Sue and Tom argued on the walk home from the pub. Sue complained Tom was crude to her drank too much. Tom complained that Sue was cold and not interested in sex. Tom stopped to urinate in the bushes. Sue kept walking. Tom asked Sue to stop and wait. Sue refused to wait and kept walking. By the time Tom caught up to Sue, they were at the house. Sue went straight into the bedroom and closed the door, without saying a word. Tom tried to get into the bedroom. Sue told Tom to leave her alone. Tom pushed the door open and forced his way in. Sue told Tom to get out. Tom pushed Sue hard against the wall, called her a nasty name, and punched the wall near her face. Sue ducked underneath his arm and ran for the phone in the living room. Tom grabbed Sue, punched her in the ribs, and left the bedroom. Sue rolled onto her side, gasping for breath. Tom left the house. Sue found the phone and called her best friend, who lived two blocks away.

5 Emotional Hydraulics Rage and intimate abusiveness are closely tied to issues in early development, and seeing this connection can.... enable us to chart cyclical buildups of internal tension as a key element in intimate abusiveness. Such cyclical tension is, I believe, a personality consequence of a disrupted attachment process, a pathway linking early problems with adult pathology. From John Bowlby’s descriptions of insecurely attached infants “arching away angrily while seeking proximity” to the ambivalence of the abusive adult, a lifelong thread appears in the psychological profiles of abusive men. This thread includes ambivalence toward the partner, dysphoria produced by intimacy, and a tendency to blame the partner for the dysphoria. The latter process spirals upward on self- amplifying ruminations that produce unbearable tension states that culminate in violence. (Dutton, 1998, p.vii) 5 Coates & Wade, 2014 Centre for RBP

6 Family Violence Project literature states: The partners' characteristics hold them together.... As abused partners adapt and become more compliant... the partners' characteristics make them increasingly dependent on one another. After prolonged abuse [they] develop complementary characteristics: aggressive/passive, demanding/compliant; blaming/accepting guilt. Coates & Wade, 2014 Centre for RBP 6

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8 The “Cycle Theory of Violence” is a social response to victims and perpetrators of violence. It is now called “the cycle of violence”, leaving out the word theory, as though it is a fact. Coates & Wade, 2014 Centre for RBP 8

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13 Coates & Wade, 2014 Centre for RBP 13 Language: Metaphor and Image Explosion, Honeymoon, Tension Building Cycle: Natural rhythms, hormones, sex/orgasm Unchanging, immutable, inevitable, right, good The cycle becomes the perpetrator The focus becomes the victim

14 Concealing Victim Resistance Generally, she realizes that his battering behaviour is out of control and that he will not respond to reason. In most instances, she does not resist; she tries to remain calm and wait out the storm. This feeling is usually accompanied by a firm belief that if she tries to do anything to resist, her attacker will only become more violent. (Walker, 1979, p. 62) Coates & Wade, 2014 Centre for RBP 14

15 During the first stage... the woman tries to calm the abuser and often changes her lifestyle to avoid angering the man. (Ciraco, 2001, p. 172) The victim senses the aggressor becoming edgy and more prone to react negatively to any trivial frustration. Many victims learn to anticipate violent outbursts and try to avoid it by becoming nurturing, compliant or by staying out of the way. (RCMP) Coates & Wade, 2014 Centre for RBP 15

16 During the first stage... the batterer engages in minor verbal abuse.... The woman tries to calm the abuser and often changes her lifestyle to avoid angering the man. This usually sets a precedent of submissiveness by the woman building the gateway to future abuse. The second stage consists of an “uncontrollable discharge of tensions that have been built up during phase one”.... During the third stage, the abuser acts remorseful and apologetic, usually promising to change. As a result, many women grant abusers multiple opportunities to repent and thereby fall into a cycle of abuse. Ciraco, 2001 Coates & Wade, 2014 Centre for RBP 16

17 Mutualizing: Victim as Accomplice She lets the batterer know that she accepts his abusiveness as legitimately directed toward her. It is not that she believes she should be abused; rather, she believes that what she does will prevent his anger from escalating. If she does her job well, then the incident will be over; if he explodes, then she assumes the guilt. In essence, she has become his accomplice by accepting some of the responsibility for his abusive behaviour. (p. 56) Coates & Wade, 2014 Centre for RBP 17

18 Her reward for accepting abusive violence is a period of calm and kindness. (p. 67) If she has been through several cycles already, the knowledge that she has traded her physical and psychological safety for this temporary dream state adds to her self-hatred and embarrassment... She is selling herself for brief periods of phase- three behaviour. She becomes an accomplice to her own battering. (p. 69) Coates & Wade, 2014 Centre for RBP 18

19 Blames and Pathologizes This usually sets a precedent of submissiveness by the woman building the gateway to further abuse. (Ciraco, 2001, p. 172) During the third stage, the abuser acts remorseful and apologetic, usually promising to change. As a result, many women grant abusers multiple opportunities to repent and thereby fall into a cycle of abuse". (Ciraco, 2001, p. 172) The batterer, spurred on by her apparent passive acceptance of his abusive behaviour, does not try to control himself. (Walker, 1979, p. 57) Coates & Wade, 2014 Centre for RBP 19

20 Learned Helplessness: Repeated batterings, like electrical shocks, diminish the woman's motivation to respond. She becomes passive. (p. 49) Coates & Wade, 2014 Centre for RBP 20

21 Learned Helplessness “This concept [of learned helplessness] is important for understanding why battered women do not attempt to free themselves from a battering relationship. Once the women are operating from a belief of helplessness, the perception becomes reality and they become passive, submissive, 'helpless'. They allow things that appear to them to be out of their control to actually get out of their control. (p. 47)” “Their behaviour was determined by their negative cognitive set, or their perceptions of what they could or could not do, not by what actually existed. The battered women's behaviour seems similar to Seligman's dogs, rats, and people. (48)” Coates & Wade, 2014 Centre for RBP 21

22 Conceals Violence The batterer fully accepts the fact that his rage is out of control, as does the battered woman. (Walker, p. 60) The second stage consists of an ‘uncontrollable discharge of tensions that have been built up during stage one’. (Ciraco, 2001, p. 172) The aggressor appears to lose control physically and/or emotionally. Many aggressors report they do not start out wanting to hurt the victim, but want only to teach the victim a lesson. (RCMP) The violence has an element of overkill to it, and the man cannot stop even if the woman is severely injured. (Walker, p. 62) Coates & Wade, 2014 Centre for RBP 22

23 Mutualizing: The couple who live in such a violent relationship become a symbiotic pair – each so dependent on the other that when one attempts to leave, both lives become drastically affected. (p. 68) When the loving-kindness is most intense... this symbiotic bonding really takes hold. (p. 68) As abused partners adapt and become more compliant... the partners' characteristics make them increasingly dependent on one another”. Both the batterer and the battered woman fear they cannot survive alone, and so continue to maintain a bizarre symbiotic relationship from which they cannot extricate themselves (p. 43) The worse their relationship gets, the more they are cut off from others, and the more they are dependent on each other. Coates & Wade, 2014 Centre for RBP 23

24 Perpetrator Responsibility The batterer ends up not understanding what happened. His rage is so great that it blinds his control over his behaviour. He starts out wanting to teach the woman a lesson, not intending to inflict any particular injury on her, and stops when he feels she has learned her lesson. (p. 60) Coates & Wade, 2014 Centre for RBP 24

25 Mitigating Perpetrator Responsibility Tensions that have been built up erupt The incident is usually 'triggered' by an external event or internal state… Coates & Wade, 2014 Centre for RBP 25

26 For Don, control meant turning Martha into a puppet, stifling her independence, taking away any life she may have had apart from him. He was tortured by the fear that she would abandon him, and no matter how hard he tried to squelch that fear by asserting control, the fear never left him. This helps explain why Don was battering Martha practically every other day rather than episodically. He felt constantly vulnerable to losing her, and he released the demons of his vulnerability through violence. Jacobson & Gott man, 1998, p. 75 Coates & Wade, 2014 Centre for RBP 26

27 Perpetrator Responsibility The aggressor appears genuinely sorry for what has happened. Their worst fear is that the partner will leave them as a result of what has happened and they try to make up for their behaviour. (RCMP) He confesses when caught in the act and then cries for forgiveness. The batterer truly believes he will never again hurt the woman he loves; he believes he can control himself from now on. (p. 65) Coates & Wade, 2014 Centre for RBP 27

28 Police manual: “It is difficult to obtain a complete picture of family violence because it often remains hidden. A woman who is being abused may endure the abuse for a long time before seeking support, while some victims never tell anyone about the abuse. Victims may be reluctant or unable to talk about their situation or to report the abuse for many different reasons. They may: Fear that the abuser will retaliate against them or their loved ones Fear being stigmatized by others Be economically dependent on the abusive partner Live in an isolated area Be socially isolated from others Feel ashamed or powerless and lack access to information, resources and support.” 28 Coates & Wade, 2014 Centre for RBP

29 Police manual: “While often frustrating for professionals, the ambivalence, denial, and helplessness that often characterize abuse victims may be learned messages that have allowed the victim to survive the abuse. Victims of domestic violence may not behave like victims of other violent crimes. While some victims want prosecution to the fullest extent of the law, many do not. 29 Coates & Wade, 2014 Centre for RBP

30 Beverly Engel The emotionally abused woman is a particular type of woman, a woman who has established a pattern of continually being emotionally abused by those she is involved with, whether it be her lover or husband, her boss, her friends, her parents, her children, or her siblings. No matter how successful, how intelligent or how attractive she is, she still feels "less than" other people. Despite perhaps having taken assertion-training classes, she still feels afraid to stand up for herself in her relationships and is still victimized by her low self-esteem, her fear of authority figures, or her need to be taken care of by others. She was emotionally abused as a child, but she may or may not recognize how extensively this kind of childhood continues to affect her life. (Engel, 1990, p. 7) 30 Coates & Wade, 2014 Centre for RBP

31 Beverly Engel The JEW is a particular type of woman, a woman who has established a pattern of continually being emotionally abused by those she is involved with, whether it be her lover or husband, her boss, her friends, her parents, her children, or her siblings. No matter how successful, how intelligent or how attractive she is, she still feels "less than" other people. Despite perhaps having taken assertion-training classes, she still feels afraid to stand up for herself in her relationships and is still victimized by her low self-esteem, her fear of authority figures, or her need to be taken care of by others. She was emotionally abused as a child, but she may or may not recognize how extensively this kind of childhood continues to affect her life. (Engel, 1990, p. 7) 31 Coates & Wade, 2014 Centre for RBP

32 Four Operations of Language Conceals Responses Conceals Responses and Resistance and Resistance Blames Victim ConcealsViolence Conceals Violence Obscures Responsibility 32 Centre for RBP

33 Transformation of Unilateral Action into Mutual Cycle Unilateral Violence Deliberate Action Resistance Unilateral Action Abuse and Violence Action in social and material context Male perpetrator and female victim (of his violent actions) Mutual Cycle Effected, Automatic Behaviour Passivity Mutual Action Psychological traits Individual without social context Female perpetrator and male victim (of her psychology) Coates & Wade, 2014 Centre for RBP 33

34 Four Operations of Response Based Language Honour Responses Honour Responses and Resistance and Resistance Align with Victim ExposesViolence Exposes Violence Clarify Responsibility 34 Coates & Wade, 2014 Centre for RBP

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36 Thank You! Coates & Wade, 2014 Centre for RBP 36


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