What is Interpersonal Violence?
Who can experience interpersonal violence?
It is important to remember that anyone can experience interpersonal violence and that anyone can perpetrate interpersonal violence. An individual’s relationship to you (parent, significant other, friend, stranger) does not mean they cannot perpetrate violence against you. Additionally, a perpetrator being of your same sex or gender does not excuse or diminish any violence you might experience.
Power and Control Wheel
The Domestic Abuse Intervention Project created the Power and Control Wheel in 1984. The wheel assumes the abuse is occurring in a heterosexual relationship, but Unapologetically Surviving knows that abuse can happen to all individuals, not just those who identify as women, and can be perpetrated by all individuals, not just those who identify as men. For more information on the Power and Control wheel, click here. Si prefiere acceder a la rueda en español, haga clic aquí.
The Domestic Abuse Intervention Project created the Equality Wheel to describe the changes needed for abusers to move from being abusive to non-violent partners. The wheels can and should be used together as a way to identify and explore abuse, then encourage non-violent change. Si prefiere acceder a la rueda en español, haga clic aquí.
Cycle of Violence*
Phase One: Tension-Building Phase
- Build-Up: Tension begins to increase between individuals and is accompanied by verbal, emotional, psychological, or financial abuse.
- Stand-Over: The behavior of the abuser intensifies and reaches a point where a release of tension is inevitable. The individual experiencing violence often tries to maintain peace by calming, reasoning/agreeing with, or satisfying the abuser.
Phase Two: Acute Explosion
The peak of the violence is reached in this phase. The perpetrator experiences a release of tension. This feeling can become addictive, and the perpetrator may become unable to deal with anger in any other way.
Phase Three: Honeymoon Phase
- Remorse: At this point, the perpetrator starts to feel ashamed. They may become withdrawn and try to justify their actions to themselves and others. For example, they may say: “You know it makes me angry when you say that.”
- Pursuit: During the pursuit phase, the perpetrator promises never to be violent again. They may try to explain the violence by blaming other factors such as alcohol or stress at work. The perpetrator may be very attentive to the person experiencing violence, and I t could seem as though the perpetrator has changed. At this point, the person experiencing the violence will feel confused and hurt but also relieved that the violence is over.
- Denial: Both people in the relationship may be in denial about the severity of the abuse and violence. Intimacy increases and both people feel happy and want the relationship to continue, so they ignore the possibility that the violence could happen again.
The entire cycle may happen in one day or it may take weeks or months. It is different for every relationship and not all relationships follow the cycle—many report a constant stage of siege with little relief.