12 April 2009
05 April 2009
“Living with the Dominator”
March 31, 2009 | Filed Under The Heartless Bitch Way, Lifestyles of the Heartlessly Bitchy | 1 Comment
I recently received a copy of this book by Pat Craven. (ISBN-10: 0-9558827-0-8 ISBN-13: 978-0-9558827-0-8)
Pat’s book is an adjunct to a workshop/programme she holds called The Freedom Programme, in the UK. The book is largely about 8 types of “Dominator” behaviors that abusive partners can exhibit, and the power and control tactics they use in relationships. It’s about how to see them for what they are, and what belief systems underlie and reinforce their behaviors. In many respects, I think the title might be more appropriate if it were, “Recognizing the Dominator”, because really, that’s what this book is about.
Jacky Fleming has instructive and entertaining cartoons throughout the book that emphasize the points without being too flip or maudlin.
Pat worked for years as a probation officer, and spent two years working on their programme for male perpetrators of violence against women. In addition to learning about the attitudes and behaviors of abusive men, (and changing some of her own) she also came to realize that, “There is a very common misapprehension that a woman who has been abused has some understanding of what has happened to her. This is simply not true. When a woman is being subjected to abuse she feels that she’s in the middle of a very confusing mess and that it must be her fault.”
This compelled her to create The Freedom Programme in the UK. I wish we had a similar programme here in Canada.
If the email feedback I have had from this site is any indicator, I concur that abused women often don’t realize that the behavior they are experiencing is abusive, and seldom realize the very negative effect it has on their children (especially true if he is has not yet become physically violent). That’s why I think the section “Home Improvements”, in Pat’s book is so important. It explains the very real benefits to you and the children when the dominator is gone. Women who are living with abusers need to have a vision of what life can be like without that person in their lives.
Pat counteracts the descriptions of the Dominator types with their “good” counterpart, so the reader knows what an emotionally healthy individual looks like. I think this is an important component, since so many women caught up in abusive relationships lose perspective, and lose trust in their own judgment. As Margaret Atwood said in “The Handmaid’s Tale”, “Normal is what you get used to.” Unfortunately, for abused women, “normal” can be pretty fucked up.
Pat does an excellent job of analyzing the underlying social constructs, media, and cultural history that reinforce the behavior and beliefs of the Dominator and Dominator sub-types. She also talks about how that socialization affects the beliefs of women as well, and how we can internalize that twisted thinking to reinforce the abuser’s behavior, or reenact it ourselves.
It’s difficult to read at times - Pat describes quite graphically what the each type of dominator does, and I learned some things that sexual dominators do that horrified me. But for women who don’t realize they are being abused, it might just be the wakeup call they need.
Each section starts with a quote, and the one for chapter 10 is the most chilling, but a statistic I had heard before: “Most women are killed or injured when leaving the relationship.”
In this section Pat discusses, ‘The Rules of the Game’ - a circular series of events and tactics that keep the victim in the cycle of abuse. It’s kind of like Karpman’s drama triangle, in that there is no easy way out, and it’s a no-win situation if the other person is intent on keeping the cycle going.
She talks about all the ways that women “break” the (often changing) rules by refusing to comply with the dominator’s tactics, in order to try and escape. But she also highlights that this very often results in violence and lies, the purpose of which is to get the woman back into the cycle and compliant.
While she talks about ways to recognize the lead-up to a violent outburst, I think this is where the book could have used a few more tools or more information on what a woman needs to do to NOT get sucked back in and to protect herself from that potential for violence. ESPECIALLY since this is the point at which she is most likely to be killed or injured.
At the end of the book, Pat has some very good pointers for recognizing the early warning signs of each type of dominator. I found this very similar to the Red Flag List on HBI, but quite a bit more succinct.
Though the book references services and incidents in the UK, I think the concepts and archetypes are universal when it comes to abusive behavior. All in all, it’s a relatively quick and enlightening read, and well worth getting if you think you, or someone you care for might be suffering at the hands of an abusive partner. In fact, I think it should probably be required reading for most teenageers so that we can start breaking the cycle of dominance and abuse that is still so pervasive in our society.
It’s not yet available on Amazon.com, but you can get Living with the Dominator from Amazon.co.uk.
30 March 2009
We have the answer! Go to http://groups.onespace.org.uk/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=50 and see what you think.
Please register yourselves and join in the chat - the more the merrier! Although jo-anne and elissa have used their own names, we do encourage people to use pseudonyms (??). I hope you like the idea and please spread the word! Anna Visit our new parenting website for single parents: www.onespace.org.uk
This book is so much more than a history of the birth and evolution of Rape Crisis! This book is a fascinating, powerful examination of the socio-political dynamic underpinning Society's responses to sexual violence against women. Exploding the myths that surround rape and sexual abuse, it offers a radical, truthful insight into why the justice-system is so dismally failing women, at every turn. This book provides a cogent and compelling argument for its radical feminist standpoint and a 'living dynamic' that offers women both practical support and knowledge!
08 March 2009
A new partnership I am very pleased to announce that the Freedom Programme and Certain Curtain Theatre Company have joined forces to provide all future training. All training events will now include a performance of the spectacular play, ‘Lady in Red’.
Freedom in Essex Thurrock Children's services are also putting on the men's weekend in April for couples who have been referred by statutory or other professional services. It will be formally evaluated and the referrer will assess whether the female partner states that the process will not place her or her children’s safety at risk. To date they have now commissioned training for 100 professionals and are funding a Behind Closed Doors on 23.03.09 for 300 plus. They have bought 2000 books and are giving them out to EVERYONE who needs them! Police, Social Workers and all service users are receiving them. Freedom in schools St Helens school For the last 2 years DC Pauline Thomas has been running the Freedom Programme in 2 schools in St Helens. The schools have now completed a formal evaluation. It is really positive and has resulted in a policy that all the schools in St Helen's run the Freedom Programme. I am to train the teachers and Pauline is to supervise them. The evaluation is available from the Evaluation Section on my web site.
Name: St Helens Family Crime Investigation Unit Contact: DC Pauline Thomas
Tel: 0151 777 1589 Email: Pauline.Thomas@merseyside.police.uk Burnley school
Contact: Edel or Zoe Tel: 01282 457910 Email: email@example.com
Other details: For girls aged 11 – 14
Supervision I am now offering one free supervision session to all practising facilitators. This will take the form of a 3-day observation placement and they will be given a certificate. Further supervision sessions will incur a cost. Obviously I will be processing them a few at a time. Facilitators can find an event in their area by visiting my web site. http://www.freedomprogramme.co.uk
Conference in South Shields Behind Closed Doors in South Shields. On 20.03.09 The Freedom Programme and Certain Curtain Theatre Company will be offering a one-day training event in South Shields. This is hosted by the CVS. A big thank you to them! Pat Craven will provide an introductory session from the Freedom Programme. Local facilitators and graduates from the Freedom Programme will speak about their experiences. Certain Curtain Theatre Company will perform their wonderful play ‘Lady in Red’. Admission is FREE and lunch and refreshments will be provided. Please register for your place by e mailing Julie Robinson Julie@southtynesidecvs.org.uk Training in your area If you want an event in your area please contact me. I will add your name to a list and arrange an event when I have enough people. I currently have a few names for Derby so this is looking hopeful.
Money for women’s Aid Heather from Telford supplied this: I've found a search engine where if you use them to search every click gives Womens Aid money! the link is http://www.everyclick.com/womensaid
Men’s weekend with East Lancashire Refuge ELWRA and the Freedom Programme will be running a men’s weekend together in the near future. Dates are yet to be finalised but I will keep everyone posted.
BBC Documentary Dangerous Love This can currently be downloaded from the BBC Dangerous Love web site.
Pat Craven March 2009
07 March 2009
Model Danielle Lloyd embarks on a journey to uncover the true extent of violence in teen relationships in the UK today and to understand the impact this is having on Britain's young women.
Visiting organisations funded by Comic Relief, Danielle hears the real stories of teenagers who have violent boyfriends. She meets 21-year-old Sam, an inspirational young woman who, having survived violence in her teenage years, is now supporting others.
Danielle's search for answers also involves going back to school with children in Hendon to see groundbreaking solutions in action. Determined to stop more teens finding themselves in abusive relationships, the journey ends with her finding out about a campaign to directly spread the word and make a difference.