And do we need protection from it?

Coercive Control is a form of domestic abuse against an intimate partner or family member. The abuse can effect a male or female; or someone gay or straight.  It is a strategic course of oppressive behavior designed to secure and deprive another of their rights and liberties and dominate their life.

Surprisingly, it is equally prevalent against women and men, although the abuse against men is less documented.  It is best characterized as consistent psychological abuse against another. It is hidden, manipulative and deceitful. Often, it goes unnoticed by outsiders because the abuser isolates the victim from their support network.  Typically, the abuser controls the victim’s activities, their finances and contact with anyone who is a threat to their domination.  They will plant seeds of doubt about your friends and family and then restrict your access to them.

How does Coercive Control effect you? 

Most likely, if you are not a victim, you know or work with someone who is a victim.  Most people do not even realize this is happening to them because it is being done slowly and methodically. They are being psychologically worn down over time.  Some of the abusive conduct could include threats, intimidation, isolation, control, gas lighting and/or physical or sexual abuse.  They monitor your time and whereabouts, control your eating and dress, and chronic verbal abuse is common.  The victim lives in constant fear and control from their abuser whether they realize it or not.  The impact of this behavior on the victim is devastating over time and only benefits the abuser. 

Luckily, in recent years, many countries have adopted coercive control laws.  Last year, various states have recognized this form of abuse and adopted coercive control laws here in the United States.  Stay tuned for more information on Coercive Control.