'Coming Out Of Control: Know What Coercive Control Is' by Shradha Sangeeta


“People don't make decisions within these sorts of groups. They try to avoid more torture. Then they are tortured into thinking they made a decision of their own free will.”


The quote found its way to my blog from goodreads.com. I thought I should write about a kind of abuse that takes away the freedom of the victims. Well, honestly, I think all sorts of abuse do that. Isn't that why it is called 'abuse'? But the one I am talking about is where the abuser decides for the victim on what kind of life they should lead. Obviously to feed the abuser's ego. In general terms, it is known as 'Coercive Control'.


What is Coercive Control?

Coercive control is an act or pattern of aggression, threat, humiliation, intimidation, or other abuse used to hurt, punish or intimidate the victim. Coercive control involves manipulation and intimidation to make the victim fearful, isolated, and dependent on the abuser. As a result, the victim may feel dependent on the abuser, creating a perpetual cycle of control and abuse. Whether the survivor does something for the partner to control or abuse her, the abuser can change the behavior of the survivors. Gaslighting, isolation, economic control, and financial abuse: rules and regulations are put in place on time and the victim suffers the consequences if they are violated.


Assuming that, during an episode of abusive physical violence, victims assess their relationship and make the necessary decisions to protect themselves, the control system recognizes that the primary outcome of coercive control conditions is imprisonment and hostage-taking, regardless of whether they violate dignity, freedom, autonomy, personality, physical or mental integrity.


Normal Instances of Coercive Control

  1. confining you from your loved ones

  2. controlling how much cash you have and how you spend it

  3. observing your exercises and your developments

  4. over and over putting you down, calling you names, or disclosing to you that you are useless

  5. taking steps to mischief or kill you or your kid

  6. taking steps to distribute data about you or to report you to the police or the specialists

  7. harming your property or family merchandise

  8. driving you to participate in crime or kid misuse


A portion of the practices in this rundown can be different offenses just as coercive control, so your perpetrator can be captured for more than one offense for similar conduct. For instance, on the off chance that your perpetrator broke your telephone as a component of his coercive control, he could be captured and charged for coercive control and furthermore the offense of criminal harm.


Your perpetrator will be at fault for the offense of coercive control if

  1. he|she is actually associated with you, and

  2. his|her conduct has seriously affected you, and

  3. your perpetrator knew or should have realized that his conduct would seriously affect you.

What Does Serious Effect Mean?

Your perpetrator conduct is considered to seriously affect you if:

  1. on no less than two events you have expected that savagery will be utilized against you, or

  2. you have felt genuine caution or misery and it has substantially affected your standard everyday exercises. The conduct has substantially affected you on the off chance that it has made you change the way you live. For instance, you might have changed the manner in which you associate, your physical or emotional wellness might have decayed, you might have changed the manner in which you do family tasks, or how you care for your youngsters. In the event that you have changed the way you live to guard yourself or your kids from hurt, it is conceivable that the conduct you are encountering is coercive control.

The Self-Blame Game

Accusing yourself of not doing enough harms your self-esteem and is a way for the abuser to exert control over you. Perpetrators can manipulate the law to such an extent that victims' response to abuse, including shouting, slurs, and vile texts, convinces authorities that they are being abused and in control. The perpetrators use violence, intimidation, humiliation, and isolation to deprive victims of their right to physical safety, dignity, and respect. While domestic violence laws focus on discrete physical assault, coercive control laws cover a wider range of abusive behavior associated with physical violence.


The abusers take advantage of their victims' vulnerability and use it against them. Leaving them no way out as they are trapped and constantly blame themselves whenever they are abused.


What do the Experts Say?

Evan Stark, Ph.D., forensic social worker and author of Coercive Control estimates that between 60% and 80% of victims of domestic violence experience coercive control in addition to physical and emotional abuse. In fact, one in three women who have suffered violence from her partner declares to be a victim of coercive control, compared to one in 20 men who are victims of domestic violence. The violence model fails to recognize the harm that coercive measures do to control the behavior of victims of abuse in order to subjugate their victims and ignores the type of abuse that most victims do and most women seek out external help.


Most of the women in their sample reported in the past 12 months that they had experienced violence or coercive control, 25% had experienced frequent coercive controls and 10% had experienced moderate to severe physical violence. These reports raise questions about the importance of attributing violence to control, non-violent or coercive tactics that lead to imprisonment, and the number of other negative outcomes associated with abuse.


In the 1970s, a number of feminist psychologists identified victims of domestic violence in their work as "living hostages" and coined the term "coercive control". The women said they were screened for verbal abuse, threats of physical and sexual violence, and harm to themselves and their children if they did not follow their "wishes".


Refers to the pattern of behavior that an offender uses to control his partner and create uneven power dynamics. Coercive control is a form of emotional abuse in which the abuser has exercised controlling and manipulative behavior in a relationship in order to exert power over the victim through intimidation and humiliation, which are usually subtle and difficult to recognize. Offenders like to check the time to keep track of victims' activities, says Davey. Offenders can send benefits to the victim and control how the money is spent. Over 51% of victims do not know they are being abused, manipulated, or controlled.


Are the Abusers Personally Connected?

Only someone who is personally related to you can commit a coercive control offense. You are personally connected to your abuser if you are in an intimate and personal relationship with him, for example, if he is your partner, spouse, or someone with whom you have a romantic or sexual relationship. This includes same-sex relationships. If you are no longer in an intimate relationship with your abuser, but still live together, then you are still personally related to him and the offense of coercive control may apply.


You are also personally related to your abuser if he or she is part of the family you live with. A family member can be anyone with whom you are related or with whom you have a child or anyone with whom you have already entered into or have agreed to enter into a marriage or civil partnership. A family member can also be someone with whom your spouse is related and with whom you live, such as the parents of your husband with whom you live.


Coming out of Coercive Control

Dr. Fontes from Psychology Today came up with ways to get out of the control of the abuser. She used the acronym RECOVERY to explain. It means:

  1. Reclaiming. Do those activities that were blocked by the attacker. Try to do the things you wanted to do but couldn't because of your abuser.

  2. Embodying. Being kind to your body by becoming physically active and eating well helps a person feel better about everything. Exercising daily can help your body feel better and your mind refreshed.

  3. Connecting. Spend time with family, friends, and support professionals. Abusers deliberately separate their victims from others. Reconnect with those from whom your abusers have separated you. It's time for you to gain your social trust.

  4. Organizing. Keeping track of physical time and space in your own way can help a person feel less overwhelmed. Sometimes organizing and tidying up your things in your room makes you feel better. Give it a try.

  5. Verbalizing. Sharing the true story of the relationship, in a way that feels right, can be empowering. You're not the only one. Someone else must have been through the same thing too. Maybe they need to hear things that no one has told you. Telling them, in a sense, is also telling yourself. When you share your story, you'll know how far you've come.

  6. Expressing. By way of creativity. Dancing. Drawing. Gardening. Singing. You could never indulge in any hobbies? Try them now. Nobody’s stopping you. Use your creativity and set yourself free.

  7. Remembering. It is said that there is a reason people come into your life. It’s either a blessing or a lesson. Keep the lesson you learned with you. It doesn’t mean you should lock yourself away from the world, but instead, you should explore the world as now you know how to stay away from a certain kind of people.

  8. You. Survivors must learn to put themselves at the center of their lives. Even though the earth revolves around the sun, you are still the center of your own life. It's your life. Live it your way. Don't let any negativity affect you.

It is natural for survivors to experience fear and regret from time to time. Looking to the future will give them hope. Survivors can expect a fulfilling life after ending a coercive control relationship. Recovery does not happen overnight, but it does over time.


Sources:

  1. Msmagazine.com

  2. Domesticshelters.org

  3. Healthtalk.org

  4. Rightsofwomen.org.uk

  5. Netdoctor.co.uk

  6. Coercivecontrolcollective.org

  7. Raq.org.au

  8. Healthline.com

  9. Thecut.com

  10. Laurarichards.co.uk

  11. Medicalnewstoday.com

  12. Opdv.ny.gov

  13. Journals.sagepub.com

  14. Iriss.org.uk

  15. Womensaid.org.uk

  16. Rightsofwomen.org.uk

  17. Psychologytoday.com

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