What is Abuse?
Perpetrators of Abuse
This page includes a variety of information on batterers, their beliefs and their behavior.
Beliefs that Contribute to Battering
Belief #1 – When a man makes a commitment to a relationship, she, in effect, becomes his property.
- He has the right to monitor her life (activities, friends, financials).
- He has the right to tell her where she can go and when she should return.
- If she had a life of her own, he wouldn’t be able to control her and get what he wants.
- He has the right to monitor and control who she sees and talks to, especially men.
- “Why do you have to put on makeup to go to the grocery store?”
- “No wife of mine is going to dress like that. Who are you trying to impress?”
- “I hate it when guys look at you that way.”
- “You’re not going to your parents house this Saturday. You’re going to help me clean the basement.”
- “I don’t want you hanging out with those stupid friends of yours.”
Belief #2 – A man should not have to do women’s work.
- “Is it too much to ask to have dinner on the table, keep the house clean and keep the damn kids quiet?”
- “I work long and hard every day to pay the bills. What more do you want from me?”
Belief #3 – A man has the right to punish his partner.
- He is not responsible for his behavior.
- If she pushes his buttons, she deserves to be punished.
- She is blamed for many of the things that go wrong at home or in his personal life.
- “I can yell if I want.”
- “I’m not paying child support so she can have fun with her new boyfriend.”
- “One thing about my last partner, she knew how to make a man feel good.”
- “So I called her lazy, punched a hole in the wall and went out to get something to eat. It’s not like I hurt anyone. All I ask is that she have food on the table when I get home.”
- “It’s your fault I lost my job.”
- “If you would quit acting so stupid I wouldn’t have to yell and scream.”
Belief #4 – A man is the head of the family and should have the final word… someone has to be in charge.
- He should be the center of her world.
- She is supposed to anticipate his needs and meet them to satisfaction.
- Women are not equal to men.
- He has the right to judge her family and friends.
- “Why do you work? You’ve got enough to keep you busy right here.”
- “What do you mean you need money for groceries? I just gave you food money last Friday.”
- “Why haven’t you put the kids to bed? Can’t you see I need some tonight?”
Common Beliefs of Batterers
- Anger causes violence
- Women are manipulative
- If I don’t control her, she’ll control me
- Smashing things isn’t abusive, it’s venting (and besides I didn’t hit her)
- Sometimes there is no alternative to violence<
- Women are just as violent as men
- Somebody has to be in charge
- Jealousy is natural in men
- Violence is a breakdown in communication
- Men can’t change if women won’t
- >When a woman disrespects a man, he has the right to beat her
- When a woman doesn’t do what a man wants, he has the right to make her
- Women can’t make good decisions
- Most women are bitches and will provoke a man to violence
- Men have a right to control access to a woman’s friends, work, school, money and family members in order to protect her<
- A man’s wife and children are his property
Common Characteristics of a Male Batterer
- Was abused as a child, or saw father abuse his mother
- Has a low opinion of women
- Has love/hate relationship with his mother
- Is jealous and possessive
- Drinks or uses drugs excessively at times
- Is demanding of mate’s time and attention
- Acts “macho”
- Is critical and difficult to please
- Treats partner like a possession
- Has quick, explosive temper
- Is overly suspicious and accusing
- Blames others
- Is unreasonable and inflexible at times
- Is easily annoyed or threatened
- Encourages mate’s dependence
- Is preoccupied with violence, guns, knives, etc.
- Is boastful and arrogant
- Feels no one understands him
- Is impulsive
- Uses aggressive sex to demonstrate superiority and control
- Is loving and kind at times
- Is remorseful after violence
- Is a good provider
- Is a “YES” guy outside the home and on the job, is socially charming
Relationship Bill of Rights
- The right to emotional support
- The right to be heard by your partner and to be responded to with courtesy
- The right to have your feelings and experiences acknowledged as real and valid
- The right to clear and informative answers to questions that concern you
- The right to live free from criticism and judgment
- The right to live free from accusation and blame
- The right to encouragement
- The right to live free from emotional and physical threat
- The right to be respectfully asked, rather than “ordered”
- The right to goodwill from your partner
- The right to live free from angry outbursts and rage
Abusive behavior is a desire to control the relationship, and that pattern isn’t going to change overnight. Your partner may stop using violence, but may still try to exert control by manipulating you. Some common manipulations:
- Tries to invoke sympathy from you or family and friends.
- Tries to buy you back with romantic gifts, dinners, etc.
- Tries to seduce you when you’re vulnerable.
- Uses veiled threats — to take the kids away, to quit counseling, to cut off financial support.
- Promises to change without actually changing behaviors.
The Six Big Lies
When an abusive partner makes statements like these, he/she is lying to himself/herself and to you.
- “I’m not the only one who needs counseling.”
- “I’m not as bad as a lot of other people.”
- “As soon as I’m done with the batterers treatment program, I’ll be cured.”
- “We need to stay together to work this out.”
- “If I weren’t under so much stress…;”
- “Now that I said I would change, you have to be more understanding.”
These statements have one thing in common: they let batterers off the hook for their abusive behavior. Remember, a person needs to be willing to accept responsibility for their violence in order to change.
Batterers and Cult Leaders: The Similarities The cultic one-on-one relationship. Click on the link to view or print a copy of an overhead useful for presentations. (pdf format)
Biderman’s Chart of Coersion is a tool developed to explain the methods used to break the will or brainwash a prisoner of war. Domestic violence experts believe that batterers use these same techniques. (pdf format)
The Choice to Batter: The batterer chooses to batter; it is not an inability to control anger. Click on the link to view or print a copy of an overhead useful for presentations. (pdf format)
Control and Equality Table: Comparing healthy and destructive relationships. (pdf format)
Is an Abuser Really Changing? (pdf format)
Partners Who Choose Violence: It is important to understand that violence is a choice made by the batterer. It is not an innate characteristic of some people, such as shyness or athletic ability. (pdf format)
Presentation of a Batterer: Batterers often pass themselves off to other people as being quite different from the way they are with their victim. (pdf format)
Ways that Systems Collude with Batterers (pdf format)
Where Do Abusers Go for Help?
DuPage County Domestic Violence Program
505 N. County Farm Road
Wheaton, IL 60187-
Contact: Thomas Sayers
Phone: (630) 407-6400
Fax: (630) 407-6401
Corporate Health Resource Center
3550 Hobson Road, Suite 440
Woodridge, IL 60517
Contact: Camille L. Ference
Phone: (630) 719-9292
Fax: (708) 383-1717
P.O. Box 1159
Oak Park, IL 60304-
Contact: Meg Dulay ext 1026
Phone: (708) 386-3305 ext 1009
Fax: (773) 261-0755