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Domestic Violence / Power and Control Wheel


Domestic violence is a pattern of assaultive and coercive behaviors, including physical, sexual, and psychological attacks, as well as economic coercion, that adults or adolescents use against their intimate partner.


  •  A pattern of behaviors including a variety of tactics – some physically injurious and some not, some criminal and some not – carried out in multiple, sometimes daily episodes.
  •  A pattern of assaultive and coercive behaviors, including physical, sexual, and psychological attacks, as well as economic coercion.
  • A combination of physical force and terror used by the perpetrator that causes physical and psychological harm to the victim and children.
  •  A pattern of purposeful behavior, directed at achieving compliance from or control over the victim.
  • Behaviors perpetrated by adults or adolescents against their intimate partner in current or former dating, married or cohabiting relationships of heterosexuals, gays and lesbians.

Prepared by Anne L. Ganley, Ph.D. for the Family Violence Prevention Fund

It Is Not My Shame…I Am Not To Blame…


Every 2 minutes, someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted.

There is an average of 207,754 victims (age 12 or older) of sexual assault each year.

54% of sexual assaults are not reported to the police.

97% of rapists will never spend a day in jail.

Approximately 2/3 of assaults are committed by someone known to the victim.

38% of rapists are a friend or acquaintance.

Sexual violence knows no boundaries, reaches every age, race, class, gender and sexual orientation. It affects entire communities from high schools to college campuses, the workplace and our own homes.

Many victims will never seek justice for a host of fears: not being believed, reliving traumatic experiences, retribution.

The effects on victims and society are profound. Many rape victims suffer severe long-term physical and emotional difficulties. They experience higher rates of depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and even thoughts of suicide.

Safety Planning

If you are still in the relationship:

Think of a safe place to go if an argument occurs – avoid rooms with no exits (bathroom), or rooms with weapons (kitchen).

Think about and make a list of safe people to contact.

Keep change with you at all times.

Memorize all important numbers.

Establish a “code word” or “sign” so that family, friends, teachers or co-workers know when to call for help.

Think about what you will say to your partner if he\she becomes violent.

Remember, you have the right to live without fear and violence.

If you have left the relationship:

Change your phone number.

Screen calls.

Save and document all contacts, messages, injuries or other incidents involving the batterer.

Change locks, if the batterer has a key.

Avoid staying alone.

Plan how to get away if confronted by an abusive partner.

If you have to meet your partner, do it in a public place.

Vary your routine.

Notify school and work contacts.

Call a shelter for battered women.

If you leave the relationship or are thinking of leaving, you should take important papers and documents with you to enable you to apply for benefits or take legal action.

Important papers you should take include social security cards and birth certificates for you and your children, your marriage license, leases or deeds in your name or both yours and your partner’s names, your checkbook, your charge cards, bank statements and charge account statements, insurance policies, proof of income for you and your spouse (pay stubs or W-2’s), and any documentation of past incidents of abuse (photos, police reports, medical records, etc.)

Books I have read over and over again and highly recommend…


The Verbally Abusive Relationship by Patricia Evans

This book was a blessing to me. It gave me so much insight and affirmation.

It is a must read for everyone!!


Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men by Lundy Bancroft

Another incredible book. I had the pleasure of attending one of Mr. Bancroft’s workshops in Nashville, Tennessee and meeting him in person.

Thank you to both authors for their voice and wisdom!

15 Signs Someone Might Be Dangerous

Do they do one or more of these things? Then it’s time to get help or get out.

1. Wants to get involved fast: Right away he wants you to promise to only be with him. Says, “No one’s ever loved me like you do.”

2. Jealous: He wants to make sure you aren’t with anyone else; calls all the time, or shows up without telling you he’s coming.

3.Wants to control you: Wants to know who you talked to and where you were; checks mileage on your car; keeps all the money; makes you ask for his OK to go anywhere or do anything.

4. Expects you to be perfect: He expects you to know what he wants and meet his every need.

5. Cuts you off from others: Doesn’t want you to see family and friends; won’t let you have a phone or a car; doesn’t want you to work.

6. Blames others for problems: If anything goes wrong, it’s always someone else’s fault–the boss, you. Everyone is out to get him.

7. Blames others for his feelings: He says, “You’re hurting me by not doing what I tell you” or “You make me mad” instead of “I’m mad.

8. Gets upset easily: He gets mad about things that are just part of life.

9. Hurts animals and children: Kills or punishes animals. Wants children to do things they can’t, or teases them until they cry.

10. Uses force during sex: Enjoys throwing you down or holding you down against your will during sex; says he finds the idea of rape exciting.

11. Says things to hurt you: Always criticizes you or says cruel things; puts you down, curses, calls you ugly names.

12. Thinks women should obey men: Wants you to serve, obey and stay at home.

13. Sudden changes in mood: Switches from sweet and loving to mad in a few minutes.

14. Has hit women before: Says he hit women in the past.

15. Says he will hurt you: Says things like “I’ll break your neck, then says” I didn’t really mean it.”

Don’t wait until you get hurt ! Get help or get out.

Please note: by referring to ‘he’ and ‘him’ I am not implying that only men are abusive. Both men and women can be abusive. Everything posted on site applies to both genders.

Safety Planning

If you’re in an abusive relationship you should always have a safety plan.

Be ready to leave. Plan ahead.

Pack a bag…pack clothes, money or a checkbook and important papers.
Keep the bag in a safe place. Keep it with a friend or family member. Write down phone numbers for the police, a shelter, relatives or friends. Keep numbers where you can find them.

Find a safe place. Go to a friend or family member’s home. Go to a shelter. Call the National Domestic Violence Hot-line at 1-800-799-7233. Ask where the closest shelter is. Go to a motel or hotel. (Save enough money to pay at least for 1 night.)

Plan how to leave. Think about how you will go.

Will you leave by car? Keep the keys where you can find them. Put extra car keys in a safe place. Keep gas in the car.

Will you take a bus or a taxi? Know where the station is or the number to call. Have money for your fare.

Will you get a ride from a friend? Know who you can call.

Will you leave on foot? Think about where you will go.

If you have children, talk to them.
Tell them the abuse is not their fault.
Tell them to stay out of the fighting.
Teach them to call 9-1-1 or go to a neighbor for help. Teach them to know what to do when the fighting starts.

It’s not your fault either. Do not take advice from people who say the abuse is your fault. It’s hard to make a plan to be safe if you think you are to blame.

Abuse is not normal.

You deserve to be safe.

It’s not your job to stop the abuse. You can’t.

Have a plan in place. Be ready and stay safe.


The following mock investigation of Mr. Smith illustrates the brutal and rigorous treatment that victims of rape sometimes endure in the judicial process. The dialogue underscores the point that rape victims are never at fault for the crime committed against them, and it highlights the importance of sensitizing members of law enforcement and the judicial system to better meet the needs of victims.

Investigator: Mr. Smith, you allege to have been help up at gunpoint on the corner of First and Main.

Mr. Smith: Yes.

Investigator: Did you see a gun?

Mr. Smith: No.

Investigator: So, you made a conscious decision to comply with his demands rather than resist?

Mr. Smith: Yes.

Investigator: Did you scream? Cry out?

Mr. Smith: No.

Investigator: In other words, you didn’t try to get help for yourself.

Mr. Smith: I was afraid to.

Investigator: I see. Have you ever been held up before?

Mr. Smith: No.

Investigator: Have you ever given money away?

Mr. Smith: Yes, of course.

Investigator: And you did so willingly?

Mr. Smith: What are you getting at?

Investigator: Well, let’s put it like this, Mr. Smith. You’ve given money away in the past. In fact, you have quite a reputation for your generosity. How can we be sure that you weren’t planning on having your money taken by force?

Mr. Smith: Listen, if I wanted…

Investigator: Never mind. What time did this hold up take place?

Mr. Smith: About 11:00 p.m.

Investigator: You were out on the street at 11:00 p.m.? Doing what?

Mr. Smith: Just walking.

Investigator: Just walking? You know that it’s dangerous being out on the street late at night. Weren’t you aware that you could have been held up?

Mr. Smith: I hadn’t thought about it.

Investigator: What were you wearing?

Mr. Smith: Let’s see – a suit. Yes, a suit.

Investigator: An expensive suit?

Mr. Smith: Well, yes. I’m a successful lawyer, you know.

Investigator: In other words Mr. Smith, you were walking around the streets late at night in a suit that practically advertised the fact that you might be a good target for some easy money, isn’t that so? I mean, if we didn’t know better, Mr. Smith, we might even think that you were asking for this to happen, mightn’t we?

Source: American Bar Association Journal