In recent years, workers in the field of family violence have noted that there is a “Window of Opportunity” in the cycle. This window occurs immediately after the Acute Battering Incident. This is the point of crisis. During this time the victim’s usual psychological defenses are down and her usual coping mechanisms have failed her. A crisis is always an opportunity for either growth or deterioration. It is a dangerous opportunity. Women are usually at this point in the cycle when they contact the Crisis Center.


Normal coping methods, at this time, have been overwhelmed and are not functioning. The victim may experience confusion and helplessness. Feelings may be intense and conflicting, or they may be shut down altogether. Hidden fears may surface as well as shame, anger , anxiety, and ambivalence. The crisis state is temporary; usual methods of coping (whether functional or dysfunctional) will soon return. For the moment, change (new choices and behaviors) is possible.

In this “Window of Opportunity” the victim’s two basic choices are whether to pursue independent living or to return to the abuser. In either instance, the Crisis Center offers practical assistance, new information and counseling to help the victim more clearly see his/her options and to make the victim a bit wiser should he/she decide to return to the abuser.