For years we have heard the saying "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me," but this may not really be true. Professionals who work with domestic violence (DV) issues have known for years that abuse encompasses much more than physical violence, and they have been trying to educate survivors, police, attorneys, judges/referees, batterer intervention groups, legislators and anyone who will listen.
Controlling behaviors such as belittling, berating, withholding of funds, etc. break down a person's self-esteem over time and are often the precursors to the physical acts that lead to hospitalizations or even death. In addition to education of this concept, many advocates are pushing to formally include coercive control as a component of DV statutes.
A New York Times article highlights these issues and looks at personal accounts from recently-elected Congresswoman Cori Bush and musician FKA twigs. A Court of Appeals in England is considering a group of cases that address whether coercive control can be considered domestic abuse.
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