Domestic Violence: Violence Wheel
The Violence Wheel is a chart developed by the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project. It is a way of looking at the behaviors abusers use to get and keep control in their relationships. Battering is a choice. It is the conscious decision of the abuser to force his partner in whatever means to submit to his demands. It is used to gain power and control over another person. It is used to prove his superiority. Physical abuse is only one part of a system of abusive behaviors. This system of abuse spans to sexual abuse, emotional threats, verbal abuse, stalking and economic control, etc.
Abuse is never a one-time event. Abusers choose to use violent tactics to gain control his partner. It is not a spur-of-the-moment event. Alcohol and drug use will never be a valid excuse for battering and other abusive behavior.
This chart uses the wheel to show the relationship of physical abuse to other forms of abuse. Each part shows a way to control or gain power.
Using Coercion and Threats
The abuser makes and carries out threats to do something to hurt her. He threatens to leave her, to commit suicide or to report her to welfare. He makes her drop charges against him and makes her do illegal acts.
Minimizing, Denying, and Blaming
The abuser makes light of the abuse and does not taking her concerns seriously. He insists or claims that the abuse did not happen. He shifts responsibility for abusive behaviour, blaming the victim of it, saying that she caused it or asked for it.
Using Male Privilege-
The abuser uses gender-specific roles to gain superiority over his partner. Being the man of the house gives him the privilege to define men’s and women’s roles. He treats her like a servant. He makes all the big decisions and acts like the “master of the castle”.
The abuser makes her afraid by using looks, actions, gestures. He smashes things and destroys her property to prove a point, to prove that he can and will hurt her if she is not complacent. Aside from that, abusing pets and displaying weapons are common acts made by perpetrators.
Using Emotional Abuse-
The abuser puts her down. He makes her feel bad about herself by calling her names and by downplaying or undermining her achievements. He makes her think she is crazy for thinking that she is being abused. He plays mind games to gain control. He humiliates her and makes her feel guilty for all of his faults.
The abuser controls what she does, who she sees and talks to, what she reads, where she goes. He spies and monitors all her activities. He limits her involvement with people outside the home, like her extended family, friends, and colleagues. To justify his actions, he uses “jealousy” as his argument, which he equates with love.
The abuser makes her feel guilty about the children. He claims that by her leaving or not being submissive will ruin their family and their children’s futures. He uses the children to relay messages. If separated, he uses his visitation rights to harass her. He threatens to take the children away. He threatens to hurt the children to get his way with her.
Using Economic Abuse-
The abuser prevents her from getting or keeping a job since he demands all of time and attention. He makes her ask for money. He gives her an allowance instead of letting her handle her own financial resources. He takes her money and not let her know about the family income. He does not give her access to their money.