Case study: Coercive control
Zara has been with Adam for over two years. At the beginning of their relationship they were very social, and often spent time with friend, family and colleagues. However, over time, things started to change. Adam started to monitor her whereabouts. He would get upset if she didn’t constantly check in with him throughout the day and would threaten to show up at her work if she didn’t reply to his messages. He started to drive her to work and pick her up. He didn’t like her going out with friends because he didn’t want her to talk to other men.
He would make comments about her appearance and tell her that she should be grateful to have him because no one else would want her. He would comment on how much make up she wore, and tell her that she should be embarrassed to go out in public looking like that. He became controlling over what she wore and wouldn’t let her wear certain clothes because he didn’t want other men looking at her. Sometimes he would ruin or destroy her clothes because he didn’t like her wearing them.
Over time, Zara stopped seeing her friends and rarely saw her family. She stopped answering their phone calls and arranging to see them. She stopped speaking to her colleagues at work and stopped going on work trips or nights out. She was afraid Adam would be angry if he found out she was talking to them because he said he didn’t like them and said she shouldn’t spend time with people like that. She felt anxious, depressed and constantly on edge. She felt like she was walking on egg shells and worried about upsetting Adam. She didn’t want to tell her friends or family because she worried they wouldn’t believe her. She thought that since he wasn’t physically violent, then it must not be that bad.Go back to the Domestic Abuse homepage