Forms of domestic violence and the cycle of violence

Forms of domestic violence

  • Physical abuse such as slapping, beating, arm twisting, throwing acid and other inflammatory liquids, strangling, burning, choking, kicking, threats with an object or weapon, and murder
  • Sexual abuse refers to coerced sex through threats, intimidation or physical force such as forced sexual acts or forced sex with others or introduction of vegetables and other foreign objects into sexual parts of the victims anatomy
  • Psychological and emotional abuse includes behaviour that is intended to intimidate and persecute. It can take the form of threats of abandonment, verbal abuse or forcing out of the home, confinement to the home, 'spying', threats to take away children, isolation, ignoring the partner or lack of affection and care, constant humiliation and acts of omission
  • Economic abuse such as the denial of funds, refusal to contribute financially, denial of food and basic needs, retention of salary, economic coercion and controlling access to health care, employment and social services
  • Spiritual abuse: occurs when one person uses religious or spiritual beliefs and practices to threaten, dominate, manipulate and control another person with the intention to keep the latter under their power. It includes deeds or words that demean, humiliate or shame the faith of a person, the use of intimidation to subjugate someone to spiritual authority denying his/her right to disagree, unreasonable control of a person's basic right to make a choice on spiritual matters and prevention from practicing spiritual ceremonies.

However, although violence against women has been categorised separately, the various forms of violence are not mutually exclusive and many women often, if not daily, endure various types of violence and in many cases all of the above.

Cycle of violence

Domestic violence is not an isolated incident or a one-time occurrence or a one-off incident; it is recurrent and thus implies continuity.

As it progresses, it increases in frequency and severity. The cycle of violence lasts, on average, seven to nine years before the woman seeks help.

This cycle is ongoing and sometimes the violence continues even when the victim-survivor has left the violent relationship.

cycle of violence

Source :

Usually the cycle progresses through the following stages:

  • The Tension Building Stage
  • The Violent Episode Stage
  • The 'Honey moon' Stage
  • The Escalation of Violence