When you think of domestic violence, do you think of physical acts of violence? Do you picture the abuser as being addicted to drugs or alcohol, or from a different race, religion, or economic background than you?

It may be hard to believe that the person sitting next to you in church, a co-worker, or a close friend may be a victim or even an abuser. Domestic violence occurs within all racial, economic, educational, and religious backgrounds. Many times the abuse does not start until the relationship has progressed, making it more difficult to walk away.

Domestic violence is about power and control. The abuser often uses a pattern of coercive behaviors including threats, intimidation, humiliation, isolation, and blame to firmly establish a pattern of control in the relationship. Physical acts of violence may be used at any time to maintain control within the relationship.

Physical abusers maintain power and control by using coercion and threats, minimizing denying and blaming, using privilege, using economic abuse, using the children, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, using isolation, and using intimidation.

Click on the power and control wheel above to enlarge it and see examples of how an abuser may control their victim.

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