WomenSV’s Ruth Darlene Patrick on Recognizing the Signs of Coercive Control

LOS ALTOS, CA / ACCESSWIRE / May 9, 2023 / Domestic violence can take many forms, and sometimes the most subtle and difficult to recognize forms of abuse are the most harmful. Coercive control is a type of abuse that can be particularly challenging to identify, and it involves a pattern of behavior aimed at dominating and controlling an intimate partner. The prevalence of spousal coercive control is surprisingly prevalent and is more commonly reported by women (48%) than other forms of intimate partner violence, including emotional at 11%, physical abuse at 22%, and sexual abuse at 5% over the past 12 months, according to BioMed Central.

Ruth Darlene, formerly Ruth Patrick, is the Executive Director and Founder of WomenSV, an organization that works to raise public awareness of the signs and dangers of coercive abuse, educate professional providers on the issue of domestic violence, and support women who are experiencing the impact of covert abuse.

"Coercive control is often subtle and insidious, making it difficult to recognize. However, it's essential to be aware of the signs to take action to protect yourself or someone you know. Recognizing these signs is the first step in addressing the problem," Ruth Darlene explains.

To identify coercive control, it's important to be aware of the various tactics used by abusers. Isolation, monitoring, intimidation, financial abuse, and gaslighting are just a few of the ways abusers maintain power and control over their partners. It's crucial to understand that coercive control is not a one-time event, but rather a pattern of behavior that escalates over time.

So, what are the signs of coercive control? There are several indicators to look for, including extreme jealousy or possessiveness, controlling what a partner wears, where they go, or who they spend time with, restricting finances, creating isolation from friends and family, and threats of violence or harm. These are not the only signs of coercive abuse, however. And oftentimes, these abusive behaviors aren't visible to the public or those outside of the relationship -- which is why coercive abuse's power lies in the abuser's ability to make the victim feel powerless and weak while maintaining an external sheen of respectability.

"If you suspect that you or someone you know is experiencing coercive control, seek help and support. WomenSV offers helplines and trained domestic violence advocates who can identify and address coercive control and help victims define their own path to a new life," Ruth Darlene says. "It's important to remember that coercive control is a form of abuse and not your fault. You deserve to live a life free from abuse and control, and there are resources available to help you escape the cycle of abuse and build a healthier life for yourself and your loved ones."

If you suspect someone you know is experiencing coercive control, it's important to approach the situation with sensitivity and compassion. Remember that leaving an abusive relationship can be difficult and dangerous, so offer support and resources while respecting their choices and autonomy.

"Unfortunately, for many victims, it can be a slow and painful process to not only accept that they are in an abusive relationship, but for them to find a path to freedom and safety," explained Ruth Darlene. "Organizations like WomenSV are critical, as they provide a lifeline to victims who would otherwise feel alone and isolated, working to empower them to make informed decisions and choices as they plan their path to freedom."

Recognizing the signs of coercive control is crucial in identifying and addressing domestic violence. Abusers use various tactics to maintain control and power over their partners, but by being aware of these signs and listening to and supporting victims, we can work together to create a safer and more supportive community for all. Organizations like WomenSV are dedicated to providing resources and support for survivors of domestic violence, including those experiencing coercive control.

"Let's stand together against domestic violence and support those impacted by this pervasive issue. We all deserve to live a life free from abuse and full of love and respect," says Ruth Darlene.

About WomenSV: WomenSV is a non-profit organization that works to empower survivors, train providers and educate the community to break the cycle of covert abuse and coercive control in intimate partner relationships. This organization operates with the mission of creating a world in which every woman and child can exercise their fundamental human right to live in peace, safety, and freedom in their own home.


Andrew Mitchell


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