OASIS Women’s Center representative speaks out about domestic violence

A woman is battered every nine seconds. One out of every three women is battered by a partner or ex-partner. And battering is the leading cause of injury for women – higher than muggings, car accidents and rapes combined.

Marcy Jacobs of the OASIS Women's Center spoke to roughly 30 students about domestic violence. She explored myths, the cycle of abuse, warning signs of abuse and more.

“There is nothing you can scare a battered woman with,” said Marcy Jacobs of the OASIS Women’s Center. “She lives with the scariest thing on the planet.”

Jacobs spoke to roughly 30 students last week, discussing myths of domestic violence, the cycle of abuse and more.


Jacobs explored three myths relating to domestic violence. The first is the idea that it is “not me.” People will do anything they can to distance themselves from violence. Jacobs gave the example of seeing a domestic violence case in the newspaper and rationalizing that it will not happen to oneself because it is not in one’s neighborhood.

The second idea is that alcohol and drugs, which are the biggest excuse for domestic violence, play a factor, according to Jacobs.

“We live in a culture that loves to blame booze,” Jacobs said.

If people can be held accountable for putting a key in the ignition when intoxicated, Jacobs said they should also be held accountable for hitting their wives.

The third myth is that an abuser is crazy or out of control. Most people, according to Jacobs, figure out how to solve their problems without hurting someone.

“Batterers feel the same kind of emotion,” Jacobs said. “… It’s not about low self-esteem. It’s about wanting to have power.”

Cycle of abuse

Jacobs also discussed the cycle of abuse. Typically, it is always the same person whose tension is building, and that person – the controller – is not interested in talking about the problems.

“Early in the relationship, [the] explosion seems harmless,” Jacobs said.

Once tension reaches its peak, there will be an abusive incident, followed by the honeymoon phase, in which the controller can “really believe that he’s sorry that it happened,” according to Jacobs. But the batterer, according to Jacobs, does not take responsibility for the violence.

When the batterer says he or she is sorry, it means her or she is unhappy that his or her partner is thinking about leaving the relationship, Jacobs said.

As the violence worsens, the honeymoon phase eventually fades out of the cycle.

But Jacobs also noted that, on occasion, the cycle can be broken.

“Some relationships can stay together and be violent-free,” Jacobs said.


Batterers, according to Jacobs, believe that to keep their significant other they have to control as many aspects of the significant other’s life as possible. Isolation, Jacobs said, is a common control technique.

“We are not designed to be completely alone,” Jacobs said.

She also noted that “early on, isolation can look quite romantic.”

But the more isolated a person is, the more that person feels as though they need the controller, according to Jacobs. The isolated person is also more likely to believe it is their fault they are alone.

“The more alone she gets, the more crazy she feels,” Jacobs said.

Friends of the person being isolated should stay in contact, according to Jacobs, because “even when it is hard because it is helpful to the isolated.”

Warning signs

People do not know if they are entering into a violent relationship, Jacobs said, though there are usually signs, such as a person saying mean or vindictive things about an ex, rather than just saying the relationship did not work out, and extreme jealousy.

“There are warning signs, but we’re really good at fooling ourselves,” Jacobs said.

Leaving an abusive relationship is the single most dangerous thing a woman can do, Jacobs said. Unless she has a safety plan, she could get injured.

“It’s very dangerous to leave a batterer,” Jacobs said. “… A lot of women choose to stay.”

People interested in contacting OASIS can call (618) 465-1978.

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