Power and Control – Tactics Used by Male Batterers

Power and Control – Tactics Used by Male Batterers

At Family Services, we provide emergency safe haven for victims of domestic violence.  Most of the victims we help are women and children seeking a way to escape an abusive family situation.

What some don’t know is that we also work very hard with perpetrators of violence (batterers) to break the cycle of violence.

The Power and Control Wheel is an extremely useful tool (developed by The Domestic Abuse Intervention Project) that we use as a part of our curriculum in our Batterer’s Intervention and Prevention Program and also with women who come to our shelter.

Battering is one form of domestic or intimate partner violence. It is characterized by the pattern of actions that an individual uses to intentionally control or dominate his intimate partner. That is why the words “power and control” are in the center of the wheel. A batterer systematically uses threats, intimidation, and coercion to instill fear in his partner. These behaviors are the spokes of the wheel. Physical and sexual violence holds it all together—this violence is the rim of the wheel. – The Domestic Abuse Intervention Project website.

Following are the Tactics most often used by male batterers:

  1. Using Coercion and Threats

    • Making and/or carrying out threats to do something to hurt her
    • Threatening to leave her, to commit suicide, to report her to welfare
    • Making her drop charges
    • Making her do illegal things
  2. Using Intimidation

    • Making her afraid by using looks, actions, gestures
    • Smashing things
    • Destroying her property
    • Abusing pets
    • Displaying Weapons
  3. Using Emotional Abuse

    • Putting her down
    • Making her feel bad about herself
    • Calling her names
    • Making her think she’s crazy
    • Playing mind games
    • Humiliating her
    • Making her feel guilty
  4. Using Isolation

    • Controlling what she does, who she sees and talks to, what she reads, where she goes
    • Limiting her outside involvement
    • Using jealousy to justify actions
  5. Minimizing, Denying, and Blaming

    • Making light of the abuse and not taking her concerns about it seriously
    • Saying the abuse didn’t happen
    • Shifting responsibility for abusive behavior
    • Saying she caused it
  6. Using Children

    • Making her feel guilty about the children
    • Using the children to relay message
    • Using visitation to harass her
    • Threatening to take the children away
  7. Using Male Privilege

    • Treating her like a servant
    • Making all the big decisions
    • Acting like the “Master of the Castle”
    • Being the one to define men’s and women’s roles
  8. Using Economic Abuse

    • Preventing her from getting or keeping a job
    • Making her ask for money
    • Giving her an allowance
    • Taking her money
    • Not letting her know about or have access to family income

If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence and live in Southeast Texas, please call our crisis hotline at (800)621-8882 or (409)832-7575.