What is “Domestic Violence?”
Domestic Violence, or IPV (Intimate Partner Violence) can happen to anyone. It can happen to people of any race, ethnicity, socioeconomic background, education level, gender, sexual preference, or gender identity. It can happen to people who are dating casually, or in a committed relationship, engaged, living together, or married.
Domestic Violence includes a whole range of behaviors which the abuser uses to gain and maintain power and control over their partner. These tactics include physical and sexual violence, intimidation and emotional abuse. It may include isolating their partner from other people and society to increase dependence on the abuser. Many of these types of abuse are happening at the same time within the relationship.
The Power and Control Wheel captures the different tactics of abuse that are used to gain and maintain power and control. The outer ring of physical and sexual abuse are the more overt, forceful, and visible types of abuse, which are accentuated regularly by the tactics on the inner circle. Using various parts of this wheel, the abuser can become successful in gaining control of their victim.
What is “Coercive Control’
Evan Stark, Ph.D. MSW identifies coercive control as:
Coercive control refers to abuse as a “strategic course of oppressive behavior,” meaning that battering is:
- rational, instrumental behavior and not a loss of control
- “ongoing” rather than episodic
- based on multiple tactics like violence, intimidation, degradation, isolation and control.
Are you in an abusive relationship?
- Feel afraid of your partner?
- Feel you can’t say what you would like to around your partner or they will get angry?
- Feel that you can’t do anything right?
- Make excuses for your partner’s behavior?
- Try not to do anything that will make your partner angry?
- Always do what your partner wants rather than what you want, to avoid conflict?
- Wonder if you are crazy?
- Feel emotionally numb or helpless?
- Blame you for their problems, and for the abuse?
- Criticize you and put you down?
- Humiliate you in front of family and friends?
- Tell you no one else would ever want you?
- Put down your opinions or ideas?
- Threaten you, or to hurt the people you care about?
- Threaten to ‘out’ you?
- Control all of the decisions?
- Call you names, tell you that you are crazy?
- Destroy your possessions?
- Hurt animals?
- Control your access to money?
- Force or coerce you to have sex when you don’t want to, or sex that you are not comfortable with?
Red Flags/Warning Signs
- Humiliation and insults
- Controlling behavior
- Unpredictable mood swings
- Alienating friends and family
- Calculated Outbursts
- You feel you always have to defend yourself
- Sarcasm downplayed as a joke
- Constant criticism
- Extreme jealousy
- Says,”If you loved me you would do…xyz…”
- Abusive behavior in past relationships
- Quick involvement
- Cruelty to vulnerable people, children, animals
- Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde personality