Name It. Learn It. Escape It.
One of the most empowering things a victim can do is put a name to the abuse they are experiencing. Gone are the days when domestic abuse consisted of only physically hurting someone. Here are the days where we better understand the different aspects to domestic violence.
(You will hear the terms domestic abuse and domestic violence used interchangeably as well nowadays, even if physical methods are not being used)
Part of preventing or stopping abuse is to fully understand the types of abuse. Without that knowledge, many victims/survivors will feel alone in their experiences. The truth is that so many other survivors/victims have and are experiencing the same things. Domestic abuse is such an isolating experience, learning that you are not alone will help draw you to a supportive community.
Once a victim is ready to name their abuse, they are finally ready to understand the depths of their relationship.
The Power and Control Wheel
Over the years, we have learned that domestic violence/abuse is not a pattern of romance-abuse-romance-abuse as we thought it before. Organizations, like the National Domestic Violence Hotline, have worked to get out information about the Power and Control Wheel. We no longer believe that abuse is a linear pattern, but in fact it is a wheel of different types of abuse, where either one or all of the types of abuse can be happening at once. We no longer believe that the abuse falls away during a “romance” period, but instead realize that even when the abuse is not occurring as obviously, the threat of the abuse is just as damaging.
Power and Control is at the center of this wheel because abuse is not rooted in anger, as many believe. Abuse is rooted in an abuser’s desire to have power and control over their victim. Although there are many types of domestic abuse, it only takes having one of these in a relationship for it to be considered an abusive relationship.
Types of Abuse
Coercion and threats
-Making threats to hurt their partner
-Threatening to leave their partner
-Threatening to Commit Suicide
-Threatening to Report Fraud on Benefits
-Threats to make victim drop charges
-Making partner do illegal activities
-Using looks/action/gestures to scare partner
-Putting their partner down
-Trying to make their partner feel crazy
-Humiliating their partner
-Trying to make partner feel guilty
-Controlling what their partner does and who they see
-Limiting their partner’s involvement with activities outside their home
-Using jealousy to justify actions
Minimizing, Denying, and Blaming
-Making light of abuse
-Saying the abuse never happened
-Shifting responsibility of abuse to the victim
-Saying she/he caused the abuse
-Making their partner feel guilty about children
-Using children to relay messages
-Using visitation as way to harass them
-Threatening to take children away
Using Male Privilege
-Treating their partner like a servant
-Making all the big decisions
-Acting like the “Master of the castle”
-Being the one to define the men and women’s role in the relationship
-Preventing partner from getting/keeping a job
-Making partner ask for money
-Giving partner an allowance
-Taking their partner’s money
-Not allowing partner to have access to family income
-Any physical act of harm against their partner
–Coercing or threatening partner into sexual activity
-Demanding sex as part of the partner’s role
-Physically forcing the victim into sexual activity
One that is not on the wheel, but is widely talked about is:
-Text messaging/calling constantly to check on their partner
-Demanding their partner call or text them
-Harassing their partner on social media or text
-Demanding passwords to social media accounts
-Jealousy related to texts/social media
Are there any other things you can think of?