Definition of Domestic Violence
A pattern of coercive tactics used by perpetrators to establish and maintain power and control over the victim.
Tactics of Power and Control
Abuse is a choice. It’s not about an abuser losing control – it’s about an abuser doing whatever it takes to maintain power and control.
Here are tactics of abuse:
Making victim afraid by using looks, actions, gestures, smashing things, destroying victim’s property, abusing pets, displaying weapons.
Using emotional abuse
Putting victim down, making victim feel bad about her/himself, calling victim names, making victim think she/he is crazy, playing mind games, humiliating victim, making victim feel guilty.
Controlling what victim does, who victim sees and talks to, what victim reads, where victim goes, limiting victim’s outside involvement, using jealousy to justify actions.
Making victim feel guilty about the children, using the children to relay messages, using visitation to harass victim, threatening to take children away.
Using male privilege
Treating victim like a servant, making all the big decisions, acting like the “master of the house,” being the one to define men’s and women’s roles.
Using financial abuse
Preventing victim from getting or keeping a job, making victim ask for money, giving victim an allowance, taking victim’s money, not letting victim know about or have access to family income.
Using coercion and threats
Making and/or carrying out threats to hurt victim or children, threatening to leave victim, to commit suicide, to report victim to welfare/immigration/child protection, making victim drop charges, coercing victim to do illegal things.
Minimizing, denying, and blaming
Making light of the abuse and not taking victim’s concerns about it seriously, saying the abuse didn’t happen, shifting responsibility for abusive behavior, saying victim caused it.
The Cycle of Violence
Love – Hope – Fear
Love, Hope, and Fear keep the cycle in motion.
- Love for the partner (the relationship has its good points, it’s not all bad)
- Hope that it will change (the relationship didn’t begin like this)
- Fear (that the threats to harm or even kill you or your family will become a reality)