"I Didn't Want her to Leave": power and control dynamics and intimate partner violence

*warning, graphic information in this article that may be deemed disturbing to some readers*


Putting his wife in the backyard after he murdered her because he " didn't want her to leave" is the central belief of and true testament to the power and control dynamics of intimate partner violence, and that of a dangerous perpetrator. She was leaving him, statistically the most dangerous time for women and children (if involved) as it is in the perceived loss of control the perpetrator will harm or kill the victim(s). The ultimate motive for homicide in intimate partner violent relationships (past or present) is perceived loss of control. This is why perpetrators engage in violent behaviour like stalking, keeping the victim isolated from friends and family or independent life contexts like attending school, work or getting a driver's license. Sometimes a perpetrator makes the controlling behaviour obvious like stating he forbids the victim and sometimes it is through subtle and covert psychological and emotional manipulative behaviour like guilt trips, lying, acting out or finding ways to punish the victim after her unapproved behaviour. Oftentimes, the perpetrator is aware of his actions however, for many perpetrators, they may not even be aware of these unconscious attempts to gain power and control due to lack of awareness, education or insight into their behaviours and what drives them.

So many women and children are senselessly murdered by men with whom they have a current or past relationship.

Between advocating for appropriate social policy and laws that support victims in these situations, education and awareness raising to deconstruct the stigma around victim blaming we each have much to do to keep women and children safe from intimate partner violence and homicide.

If you suspect you are in a dangerous intimate partner relationship and your safety is at imminent risk, call 9-1-1 or your local women's emergency shelter or a trusted friend.

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