Battering Ė Itís Power and Control
Many myths surround domestic violence.
People think that batterers are violent because they have low
self-esteem, a genetic defect, a drug problem, or because they
lose control of their emotions. Even though any one of these
may be true, the primary cause of battering is learned behavior.
Abusive partners use violence to gain
power and control. When they want something, they know how to
get it Ė violence. Abuse works because it maintains control
over a woman. She lives in fear of further violence and will
later alter her behavior to accommodate her abuserís moods,
whims, and needs in order to protect herself and/or her
children. The batterer knows how to use other behaviors in
addition to violence to keep the woman isolated and
subordinate. Backing up these behaviors with violence makes
her escape near impossible. An abuser chooses to batter because
the choice is there to make and until quite recently, there have
been no consequences for these actions.
Power and Control Wheel was developed
by the Duluth Abuse Intervention Project. It describes
behaviors that are used together as a system by batterers. The
Power and Control
Wheel is drawn with violence as the rim and
other behaviors as the spokes. Just like a wheel, they depend
upon and reinforce each other.
Each of these tactics help the batterer to
maintain control over the woman. The tactics are backed up and
held together by violence and the threat of violence. The woman
is forced to comply with the abuserís demands because of the
threat of physical harm. Each action by the batterer puts
another obstacle in place to prevent her escape. All together,
this system of behaviors builds barriers to a womanís escape far
beyond the physical violence alone.