Coercive Control

Coercive Control

Coercive control is a form of domestic violence that refers to the pattern of acts of humiliation, assault, intimidation or threats leveled against an individual. It exists in most marriages and relations but the victims might not actually have knowledge about it. The victims in most cases see it as love and car and endure intimidation and all sorts of assault and if not voiced out in time, more harm might be caused indirectly.

In a marriage or relationship, coercive control comes in form of controlling behaviors that create an equilibrium that solely favors one spouse thus causing unequal power dynamics. Worst of all, even the perpetrator might not know that it is abuse. The behavior elevates the perpetrators by giving them more powers over their partners. The danger with this is that, the victim is trapped and cannot leave. This kind of control can transform into physical abuse. Coercive control can therefore be said to be purely psychological.

Signs of Coercive Control
It is very difficult to notice coercive control, but some evidences can be used to determine its presence in a relationship or marriage. The copies of phone records, emails, text messages and also abuse on social media or maybe a diary kept by the victim can prove this kind of control. Availability of evidence showing that the victim was isolated and barred from mingling with friends and family members can also reveal this kind of abuse.

Some countries have declared coercive control as criminal and punishable by the law if the perpetrator is found guilty. The controlling behavior, which is a definitive aspect of coercive control is itself an offence and the law defines it as a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate or dependent. The law goes ahead to expound on the nature of control by ranging it from putting the victim down – telling them they are worthless, enforcing rules and activity which humiliate or degrade the victim to take part in criminal activity such as shoplifting. Coercive control, according to the countries that criminalize it must meet some conditions;

  • It must be a series of behaviors occurring repeatedly and takes place continuously
  • The perpetrator and the alleged victim must be in a relationship at the time the behavior takes place
  • The seriousness of the effect of the behavior must be clearly seen in the life of the victim.
  • The perpetrator must also have had knowledge on the effect of the behavior but went ahead to intentionally do it.

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