You may have heard people asking “Why doesn’t she leave?” when they hear about a woman experiencing domestic violence. The cycle of violence explores why women stay in abusive relationships for reasons beyond low self-esteem, isolation, family pressures and lack of community support.
What is the cycle of violence?
The cycle of violence looks at the repetitive nature of perpetrator’s actions that hinder a victim’s ability to leave an abusive relationship. The cycle of violence theory provides an insight into this by illustrating how the behaviour of a perpetrator can change very dramatically, making it difficult for the woman to leave. Women who have experienced violence may recognise this cycle.
The cycle of violence theory was developed in 1979 by Dr Lenore Walker. It describes the phases an abusive relationship moves through in the lead up to a violent event and its follow-up.