Continuing on in my discussion about family violence, this week I am going to expand on the use of intimidation to condition a victim to stay in a relationship.
Threats can be physical or emotional. Typical phrases such as “If you love me you’ll…” or “I’ll leave you if you don’t…”Often this type of coercion or intimidation is sexual in nature and can be a tool to slowly break down your boundaries.
Alcohol or drugs is a huge factor here too, intimidating a victim to using drugs is a common tool abusers use. One of New Zealand’s worst family violence offenders used opiates for decades to get a successive partners addicted in order to exert his power over them.
Intimidation can also take the form of non-verbal threats such as gestures (raising a fist, or a look that often precedes violence) in order to control the victim.
Protection Orders can help here. I have successfully charged abusers who have exhibited this type of behaviour all without the need for a complaint from the victim. Threatening pets is also a common red flag that is seen, sadly too often by police. The emotional draw people feel towards their pets makes them an easy target and is also a barrier to leaving an abusive relationship.
If you or someone you know is in an abusive or toxic relationship. Seek help. If is an emergency, dial 111
Or use the following local resources
Waitomo-Waipa Women’s Refuge 0800 733 843
Kainga Aroha 07 871 6506