E.J. Smith Talks Domestic Violence on Voice America Radio
Moving Forward Series: From Domestic Violence
EPISODE 12 — Guest: E.J. Smith, M.S.
Original Air Date: April 6, 2015
E.J. Smith, counselor, advocate and creator of The Sassy Advocate and SimplyEJ sat down with Dayton Ann Williams, host of A Light for the Soul Who Weeps program on Voice America to discuss the issue of domestic violence in America today. Listen to the full broadcast below.
What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence can generally be defined as a pattern of abusive behavior characterized by the intent to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner or other family members.
Domestic violence can take many forms, including physical, sexual, emotional, verbal, economic and/or psychological abuse. It affects people of all ages, sexual orientations, religions, genders, socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels, and takes place in all kinds of relationships.
It is a crime rooted in power and control—it is never “caused” by making someone angry or upset. It is never justifiable or excusable, nor is it ever the fault of a survivor. All people deserve to be in healthy and loving relationships free of violence.
Domestic violence is characterized by violent actions or threats of violent actions, including behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure or wound a partner.
Power and Control
Physical and sexual assaults, or threats to commit them, are the most apparent forms of domestic violence and are usually the actions that allow others to become aware of the problem. However, regular use of other abusive behaviors by the batterer, when reinforced by one or more acts of physical violence, make up a larger system of abuse. Although physical assaults may occur only once or occasionally, they instill threat of future violent attacks and allow the abuser to take control of the woman’s life and circumstances.
The Power & Control Wheel is a particularly helpful tool in understanding the overall pattern of abusive and violent behaviors, which are used by a batterer to establish and maintain control over his partner. Very often, one or more violent incidents are accompanied by an array of these other types of abuse. They are less easily identified, yet firmly establish a pattern of intimidation and control in the relationship.
Some of these lesser known forms of abuse, or what I like to call ‘power plays’ involve restriction of financial assets, emotional abuse, using the children as pawns, isolation, using religion to reinforce the notion of male privilege to make her feel “less than”… It’s really a great tool.
The tool is available to anyone on the internet: Power & Control Wheel.
We also discussed the myth of abusers “just losing control” and the work of Lundy Bancroft (author of “Why Does He Do That?”) and the importance of safety planning.
Safety Planning — It doesn’t happen overnight.
“A Safety Plan is so important because— as I mentioned earlier— the planning involved in leaving a violent partner is critical and probably more intricate than most other “plans” we make in our daily lives.”
There is a wonderful and very thorough example of a safety plan put out by the National Center on Domestic & Sexual Violence that listeners can get completely for free online. If anyone has a problem finding it, please get in touch with me on Facebook or tweet @SassyAdvocate and I will gladly send it over to you.
To learn more about domestic violence, and safety planning tips, listen to the full interview online or with iTunes.
Want to take it with you? Download this episode from iTunes!
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