Domestic Violence relationships tend to follow somewhat of a pattern, at least in the earlier stages. The relationship will go through cycles lasting maybe hours, days, months or even years.
Tension phase: The relationship may be strained as tension builds between the couple. The problems may be because of behaviors by one or the other of the couple, or they may build due to outside stressors such as financial problems, work problems, or problems with children or other family members. There may be verbal, emotional or mental abuse during this time. There may even be some minor physical abuse. There may be attempts made by the member who is typically abused to placate the other partner. Many partners who have gone through this have described it as walking on eggshells and hoping they won’t break. They will try to do almost anything to keep the other partner from getting upset. Yet, no matter how much they give in, or give up the explosion is almost inevitable.
Battery: The tension will continue to escalate until a battering incident occurs. Then a triggering incident will occur. Often the abuser will relate this to some behavior of the victim, but often the actual trigger may be a frustration from an outside source or due to some internal conflict of the abuser. In other words, the abuser may look for something to get angry over. Very occasionally, the victim may in feeling the buildup of tension, and knowing the incident is inevitable and knowing that after the battering period is coming and that the ‘honeymoon’ period will follow, the woman may actually instigate the battering period either conciously or unconciously.
The battering period is worse than in the tension phase, and can become quite serious, with a possiblity of severe injuries or death occurring. This is often where there will seemingly uncontrollable rage, and will continue until the abuser him/herself stops it. (In other words, they can control it.)
The ‘honeymoon phase: Often this is where the abuser may feel the victim is contrite enough, or they are fearful enough, that they will make what appears to be very sincere apologies, excuses, and/or promises that it won’t happen again, and sometimes even give special “treats”. Planning special family events, giving gifts, taking them out to a special dinner, and being extra nice may occur.
Despite the promises, hours, days, weeks, months or even years later- it will happen again. And incidents of violence tend to escalate with each occurance.
Reportedly on Christmas Eve 2005, Wendell Jerome Herman Rogers II, 33, went to a Christmas party and came home late.
Then on Christmas morning he and his wife got into an argument that evidently escalated in front of their 2children. Allegedly the wife attempted to call for assistance, and Rogers tried to stop her.
Rogers was charged with family violence battery and obstructing and hindering a person making an emergency assistance call.
Rogers was in court on the charges recently. And the judge had words for him: “Basically you were hung over and didn’t want to be involved in some activities your wife planned,” “You acted up and ruined Christmas, so this year you’re going to make it up to them.” (emphasis mine).
The judge ordered a 12 month sentence, suspended until he completed an anger management program. A $1000 fine.
And he ordered Rogers to take his family to an expensive dinner at a restaurant for Christmas this year. He has until Jan. 5 to submit a reciept from the dinner to the court.
According to the defense attorney, Rogers agreed that he “misbehaved” and readily accepted the sentence. And the dinner for the family of four could cost Rogers up to $300.
Let’s see. An excuse (hangover), avowal of wrong (he “misbehaved”, and special treat (expensive dinner). Is it just me or does this bear a strong resemblance to the “Honeymoon Cycle of Abuse”?
Often I am a fan of non-traditional methods of sentencing as long as the sentence is meant to teach or correct a wrong. And as long as the sentence fits the crime. So let’s take a look at the sentence.
A fine is certainly appropriate, as is anger management course. I am not really clear on the suspended sentence- if he completes the anger management course and takes his family out to dinner, does that mean he won’t serve any jail time for his crime? He doesn’t have a criminal history, but if the family has reconciled, then he certainly will be in close proximation to the same circumstances again. (Something like giving a drug user a suspended sentence and sending them to a drug house after they complete rehab).
And an expensive dinner is to “make up for” trauma inflicted on the wife, and the trauma on the children who witnessed it. The dinner is supposed to “make up for” a Christmas spent in tears.
And let’s look at the message he gives to domestic violence abusers. If you commit abuse, then you must pay for it by giving special treats to the family. For a first offense it is an expensive dinner, and wonder for the second offense- can they just add a box of candy, or would jewelry be more appropriate? Maybe for the 3 rd offense a family vacation might “make up for it”.
Now the man has been ordered to take his family out to dinner (hopefully the judge was not so insensitive as to order this on a couple who had not reconciled), but what message does that send to the victims? So you got knocked around a little- but look what you get for it? Wasn’t it worth it?
And by giving that sentence to Rogers, he was in effect sentencing the family also. What if a member of the family should decline to go to the dinner? Would they be in contempt of court? Or will the family force them to attend?
A Thank You goes out to Trisha for the tip on this one.