Power and Control

I'm back to depressing topics and am still interested in finding out more about domestic violence and abuse. This week's reading has included a book entitled Power and Control - Why Charming Men Can Make Dangerous Lovers* by Sandra Horley (2002, Vermilion).

The book deals particularly with abused wives or female partners in a domestic relationship. Horley makes the point that she prefers the term 'Woman Abuse' to 'domestic violence' or 'relationship abuse' because the abuse is one-way, not two-way.

Because the abused women do not invite violence, or incite it, or deserve it, and because nothing they can do will stop the abuse, you cannot fall back on the old principle of 'it takes two to tango'.

Woman Abuse happens because the male partner has a need to control. He sees his wife or partner as his property and he has a strong need to call all the shots. He chooses violence or emotional abuse as the means of control. The abused woman can do nothing to stop it, short of leave.

According to Horley, the words 'domestic' and 'relationship' help perpetuate the idea that the woman is partly to blame for what is happening to her.

She presents a strong case for a different type of wording. I might be more specific about how I term this problem in future posts. Look out for more on the pattern of charm and control, myths about woman abuse and some of the reasons it happens.

* Just would like to state for the record that my husband is charming, and not dangerous.