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F e a t u r e s MR RIGHT OR MR WRONG There is no direct evidence to suggest that domestic abuse is a greater problem within the Service community than amongst the

wider civilian population. There is, however, evidence that, nationally, the true extent and level of domestic abuse remains hidden. A Working Group has been set between SSAFA-FH staffs and RAF Community Support to look at the issue of

Domestic Abuse and consider how these organisations could work in partnership to ensure the safety and well-being of Service personnel, their children and families.

Here Pat Craven, author of the book ‘Living with the Dominator’, talks about Domestic Abuse. THIS ARTICLE CARRIES A WARNING

Whether or not to publish this article was a difficult call and some readers may disagree with our decision to go to print on a subject steeped in stigma and taboo. However, on balance, we felt that the subject of Domestic Abuse should not be swept under the carpet and ignored. SSAFA-FH and the RAF CS teams agree, as they have held workshops aimed at addressing these difficult issues. The article is hard hitting, so if you feel you may be upset by its content, move on. If, however, you feel you may be a victim or perpetrator of Domestic Abuse, or suspect a friend or colleague may be affected, you may find the article and the websites highlighted below of value.


ome Office statistics state that in Britain 112 women are killed each year by a male partner or former

partner and 22 men a year are killed by a female partner or former partner.

From the available statistics it is clear that in the majority of cases the perpetrators of domestic abuse are men and the majority of victims women. The next question is, Why do they do this?

Perpetrators tell us, and we believe them, that the violence was caused by drink, stress, unemployment, overwork, low self-esteem or insecurity. Many professionals also accept these explanations. The reality is that these are all excuses. They may have been drunk when they hit but they don’t usually hit anyone else. Being insecure doesn’t make people violent. Why should it?

The real reason for their violence and abuse is the desire to keep women under control. They do not need to use violence every day. Some abusive men never need to use it at all, because they can control by using other tactics. They will usually use violence when they believe the other tactics are failing. Some women can also use many of the controlling and abusive tactics of the Dominator. The difference is that in the case of abusive men they are more likely to use violence.

Here we look briefly at some of the tactics used to achieve power and control.

The Headworker

He uses emotional abuse to control his partner by

telling her she is stupid, ugly, and incompetent. He is

unfaithful and he puts her down in front of 24 Envoy Winter 2010

The Bully He uses intimidation to control his partner by shouting, glaring, sulking, driving too fast and firing questions at her without giving her a chance to answer. As a result, she believes he is angry and tries to placate him. The men on my Programme* have told me that the Bully is not angry. He is cool, calm and collected and completely in control of his emotions. What does he have to be angry about?

others, usually using humour. As a result she loses all self-confidence.

victim. Many men come to the programme asking me to help them to deal with this horrible woman who forces them to be violent. The Liar also uses a bewildering array of excuses. He blames drink, drugs, overwork and unemployment. He blames loss of temper, low self-esteem and insecurity. As a result his victim and many other professionals believe him.

The Bad Father He uses the children to control his partner. He turns them against their mother. If she leaves him he uses the courts to harass her for access. He denies paternity and tells her she is a bad mother. As a result women can have their children removed. He can seriously damage their ability to parent effectively.

The Jailer He isolates his partner by sulking when her friends visit. He refuses to look after the children when she has arranged to go out or go to work. He charms friends and family so they do not believe her. He moves her to remote places. As a result women are completely isolated.

The Liar He makes the abuse seem less than it was by using the

‘only’ word. For example, it was ‘only a slap’. When

the ‘only’ word is used the listener does not really hear the rest of the sentence. He also denies there was any abuse or he blames the

The Sexual Controller He uses sex to control his partner. He refuses it, demands it, and rapes her. As a result women feels used and unable to stand up to him.

The King of the Castle He controls his partner by treating her like a servant and expecting her to do all the dirty, menial jobs. He controls the money and makes all the major decisions. As a result, women can come to believe they are second-class citizens.

All images ©2009 The Freedom Programme

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