Monday, October 11, 2010

Before the Split Blog Tour: Guest Post+Giveaway

I'm honored to have author Swati Avasthi stop by today for her Before the Split blog tour. I'm handing the blog over to Swati so she can talk about how domestic abuse is a painful, repetitive cycle and how difficult it is to be broken. Please take the time to read her guest post because not only is it presented in an informative and thought-provoking way but for each comment posted here (and for the rest of the tour), Swati is donating $1 per comment to raise money for The Family Violence Prevention Fund. If $250 in comments is reached, she will double her donation to $500! If you'd like to help with commenting, here's the full tour scheduele.
Cycle of Abuse

Split was inspired by the stories of abuse I heard when I was coordinating a domestic violence legal clinic. But not one moment of abuse in the book is based on any specific incident I heard. Rather, I based it off the pattern – a pattern so predictable that Lenore Walker coined it, The Cycle of Abuse. For those of you who have read Split, I have inserted short excerpts from it where the pattern presented itself in the book. Here’s the pattern:

1. Tension-building phase.

It’s palpable. The stress is building. The air around you feels weighted and charged. You try to diffuse it. Be silent, dress right, be funny. None of it works.

She used to get quieter when my dad was gearing up for a big one. She never spoke that much anyway, but when she sensed my father’s stress, our dialogue would turn into me monologuing, just to fill the room.

2. Incident of Abuse.

The tension has snapped. You’re a target. Of a verbal explosion. Maybe hitting. Maybe worse.

I froze and watched him fire his foot into Christian’s stomach, cock it and slam it into his back and then his face. Christian’s head hit the cement with the distinct thud that I came to associate with concussions.

3. Reconciliation.

Now you get flowers, dinner, apologies, remorse and… blamed (sometimes subtle, sometimes not.) But no admission of fault.

“Go,” she says, “and I’ll come to you.”

I want to ask her when – before he takes her to Orchestra Hall before they spend a dinner at the Russian Tea Time and a weekend at the Drake, or after the next beating, when the cycle starts again.

4. Calm.

Then, life returns to the speed of normal. The tension will build later because the timer has begun its countdown again. The abuser gives you space to breathe but little control.

Taking a beating isn’t that remarkable in our family. It’s not as if the earth shatters or time stops. You get up the next day and go to school…overall, you just keep moving at the speed of your life.

Inside the cycle, you keep thinking it will get better. But the cycle repeats faster and faster and you’re on a downward spiral. Eventually, you might admit that it won’t get better, but you don’t know how to get out.

You believe it’s your fault. It isn’t your fault. The abuser chooses. Abusers can chose to hit you in the stomach so your bruise won’t show. Abusers choose to wait until there are no witnesses. If they can choose all that, then they can choose not to hit you, too. But they don’t.

Hard as it is, you can leave.

For help in creating a safety plan, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799-SAFE (TTY: 800-787-3224), or the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline at (866) 331-9474 (TTY: 866-331-84530). 
Wasn't that just so powerful? Thank you Swati for taking the time to stop by and for writing such a compelling guest post.

As part of this tour, I'm also hosting a giveaway for one finished copy of Swati's debut, Split, so if you'd like to have a chance of winning it, please fill out this form. This giveaway will last one week, ending on October 18th. The winner will be announced the following day. This giveaway is only open to those in the US. This giveaway is now closed! Contest policy/privacy policy

AuctionIf you are interested in helping out, again, just follow the blog tour and comment all you'd like on each post! Teen {Book} Scene has all the info. Or you can bid on some amazing stuff over at the auction that's Swati's coordinated where you can get critiques from acclaimed author Sara Zarr or personalized copies of Mindi Scott's debut Freefall. (you know, awesome stuff.) So what are you waiting for? ;)


  1. Thanks for posting about this important topic, especially for the final few paragraphs. I think the most insidious part about this cycle is how, the more you're hurt in this cycle, the more you feel worthless and scared -- and like you need your abuser because no one else would have you, and you are as awful as they say. It makes me sick to think about it.

  2. I love reading all the things that insipired your writing of this amazing book.
    The auction is fanatastic also - I've been bidding since it started!

  3. This is such a great cause. Thanks for providing such important information.

  4. What a powerful post. It's upsetting yet enlightening to see that abuse can be broken down into steps like this. Hopefully this pattern will be broken, as no one deserves this kind of pain. Thank you for sharing this... What you are doing with this blog tour is inspiring and I wish you the best of luck.

  5. Wow. What an awesome post. Great info!

  6. What a powerful post. People should never be treated like that, or feel that they deserve it; that's why it's great that you put information about how to get help at the end. Also, what a wonderful idea to donate money for each comment. Thank you!

  7. Thank you so much for this information and putting it in such simple terms so that it is easy to understand! I think that it is also great that you say, "It's never your fault," because I hear so many girls who think that it is and they need this reminder that it NEVER is there fault no matter what the guy tells them! Thank you!!

  8. Thanks for pointing out the futility of trying to control abusers' behavior by just being [fill in the blank] enough. The abuse comes from pressures and patterns within the abuser, not from the victims.

  9. As someone who has had abuse occur in my family I definitely recognize the cycle. An excellent guest post. I've really been wanting to read Split and am grateful for the opportunity to win a copy.


  10. This is a powerful post. The emotional control that someone exerts over others in order to make them stay through more than one incidence of physicsl abuse...

  11. Thanks so much for posting this. Terrific information. I really hope I can read this book soon.

  12. Thanks for posting this, Sandy!
    I don't think there can ever be enough information about this, it's definitely a good thing to get stuff like this out there.

  13. This was one of the most interesting guest posts I've read in a while. Thanks for sharing it with us and for promoting this message to the masses.

  14. Great post! I highly recommend SPLIT to YA and adult readers both!