Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Power and Control

Throughout my years at Hope House I am continually asked what is domestic violence and why does it happen. The answer is simple yet very complex at the same time. It can be so hard to understand how someone who says they love another person can do such harm to them. It goes against our understanding of what is supposed to be and what we want our families to be.

So what is domestic violence? It is a pattern of coercive behavior used to establish power and control over an intimate partner. One person in the relationship uses tactics of control over his partner in order to maintain power over the partner. Those control tactics can take many forms. The most commonly known form is physical abuse.

Other forms of control include:

1) emotional abuse (name calling, constant put downs)

2) sexual abuse

3) using the children (threaten to take the children away)

4) threats of death or threats of violence to family members or pets

5) economic abuse (not allowing her to work or getting her fired due to disturbances at work)

6) stalking

Future entries will go into these methods in more detail.

Domestic violence happens in marriages, dating relationships, and with people who are living together. It affects young and old. It crosses all races, ethnicities and socio-economic levels. In other words, it can happen to anyone.

It can be happening to someone in your workplace or to your best friend. With 1 out of 4 women being a victim at some point in their lives, the likelihood of you knowing someone who is or has been a victim is very high.

If you know someone in an abusive relationship, please make sure they are aware of the resources available to them. Give them our 24 hour hotline number: 816-461-HOPE (4673) so they can access our services and get the support they need to live their lives free of abuse.

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