Domestic Abuse in Families: A Feminist Perspective

Thumbnail Image
Issue Date
Niles, Julia
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Domestic abuse refers to a pattern of coercive control that can be used over a victim to maintain power and dominance. It does not always include physical violence. Violence can be emotional, financial, or consist of threats. The successful abuser adapts to use strategies that could be acceptable in society if isolated into one event. This capstone focuses on how to help families with children where patterns of coercive control dominate. The parents might be separated or not. Most of this type of abuse where coercive control exists is in heteronormative relationships where the man is the abuser, and the woman is the victim. This cultural "effect" has devastated the lives of millions of women and children. When we recognize how gendered odds originate from our culture, we gain an opportunity to understand our culture better, to avoid pathologizing victims, and to have a roadmap to healing. Our service providers: counselors, law enforcement, banks, and the legal system must adapt to a trauma-informed lens that will figure out how to keep the victims and their children safe from patterns of coercive control. Failing to recognize these patterns leads to escalation and often devastating outcomes. Counselors do not always help. We are taught to "remain neutral" in couples counselling and do not always screen for abuse. We engage in "change work" with victims which can be victim blaming. We also have our own cultural biases. Instead, we must screen for abuse, see individuals in a couple separately, identify abusive strategies, and examine our biases. This capstone explores the etiology and content of narcissistic strategies, why we as a culture have failed to recognize and stop these kinds of abuses, and what we can do to help.
feminist , domestic abuse , coercive control
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States , openAccess