Abuse in relationships is much too common--it affects at least one quarter of all relationships: between men and women and same sex couples alike. However, in heterosexual relationships, men comprise the overwhelming majority of perpetrators and women the majority of victims. For this reason, in this section, we will refer to abusers as "he" and victims as "she," although we do not intend to slight victims of any gender. The information provided here is designed to empower both survivors, their friends and family members in making decisions about their lives, in breaking free of an abusive relationship, and finding the support they need to get to a place of healing and personal empowerment.
Power and Control
As described earlier, intimate partner violence is rooted in power and control. If you look at the wheel below, you can see how most aspects of abuse are not physical, but are emotional, sexual, and even economic. Physical violence, which is in the rim of the wheel, is the force that is used to keep someone under control when the behaviors inside the spokes do not work.