Dr Clare Gunby and Dr Rebecca Barnes

Coercive control

Evan Stark coined the term ‘coercive control’, highlighting that the core of domestic abuse was not physical violence, but a pattern of controlling behaviour aimed at eroding a victim’s liberty. Control can creep into relationships, ‘micro-regulation’ masquerading as romance. Buying her clothes [that she must wear, irrespective of tastes], escorting her out [regardless of wanting him to] and checking she’s safe [by monitoring communications] appear innocent if we ignore the bracketed subtext. When women have told us, ‘violence wasn’t the worst part’, our research has strived to illuminate the subtext and communicate what being in an abusive relationship looks like.

Dr Clare Gunby and Dr Rebecca Barnes - Department of Criminology

Gunby Barnes 1065

Share this page:

Issue 5 Cover