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A helpful conceptual model: Double Standards

Using the right conceptual model is vital to capturing and responding to the risks posed by coercive control. Double Standards.
Outdated and inaccurate conceptual models reduce the likelihood of seeing the acts of control as occurring all the time and understanding the context of the victim’s behaviours as she struggles for safety, justice and accountability for herself and her children (Tolmie, et al., 2018).

Double Standards

It is important to always have the clearest view of the perpetrator particularly around times that are known to heighten risk, for example, when separation is imminent or has occurred.

Knowing what women are experiencing (i.e., practice knowledge) and having a contemporary conceptual model (e.g., social entrapment) increases the likelihood of practitioners/ responders proportioning measures and resources that have a meaningful impact on risk.

The data, from Pitman’s 2017 study of the 30 women who had lived with coercive and controlling partners, also revealed what they (the victims) described as the “double standards” of their abusive partners. Knowing of these double standards can help us in our risk assessment with men who are invested in controlling behaviours.

There are three main types of double standards that emerged from the victims’ (participants’) stories:

  1. Denial of the same rights: “You must account for your time; but I do not need to.”
  2. Denial of accountability: Always very keen to lay the blame somewhere else, generally, the partner (“If you were different, I would not be like this.”)
  3. Denial of reciprocity: “You need to treat me as if I am special, but there is no way I’ll treat you that way.”

(Pitman, 2017)

When assessing risk through talking to the perpetrator, we would expect very different responses. He is someone who feels he is “entitled” (to have all their needs met) and does not really see his behaviour as abusive but protective, righteous, or disciplinary!

So, when asking questions of perpetrators of this form of violence, you could expect to learn about the degree to which they are invested in the control. This is revealed through beliefs about gendered roles, their lack of support for equality and is often strongly influenced by hegemonic masculinity.

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Understanding Coercive Control

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