Captive in ‘a world of confusion, contradiction and fear’

@ScotsAHF sees frightening parallels between the language used by Patrick Harvie and those who exert coercive control over women

I wrote a Twitter thread last week likening Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie to an emotional abuser, exerting coercive control against women.

It might, at first, sound hyperbolic or far-fetched, but hear me out.

Evan Stark, a world-renowned expert in abusive relationships, describes coercive control like being taken hostage and says: “The victim becomes captive in an unreal world created by the abuser, entrapped in a world of confusion, contradiction and fear.”

Laura Richards, a psychologist and a renowned international expert on domestic violence, says coercive control is akin to brainwashing and says that “over time, coercively controlling behaviour erodes the victim’s sense of self, their confidence and self-esteem, agency and autonomy. The abuser creates an unreal world of contradiction, confusion and fear. Moreover 51 percent of victims do not even know that they are being abused, manipulated and controlled”.

Telltale signs of abuse

These are signs that psychologists are trained to spot in a relationship. How many do you recognise?

  • Gaslighting
  • Constant criticism
  • Regulating the victim’s sexual relationship
  • Making violent threats
  • Forcing the victim to live by the abuser’s rules
  • Parental/child alienation
  • Policing the victim’s lifestyle
  • Closely monitoring the victim’s activity
  • Denying the victim’s freedom
  • Isolating the victim from their support network

No capitulation

I think that Patrick Harvie is very angry. He is angry that 49 percent of women who recognise his attempts at abusive coercive control are not capitulating to his demands that they give up their rights.

He is angry that these women will not accept his demands. He is angry that the women he feels obvious contempt for (remember he described them as intolerant, prejudiced, toxic and misled, and refused to condemn threats of violence made towards women discussing how changes to the GRA would impact them) will not be gaslit by him and allow him to control their language, behaviour and sexuality.

I am one of the 80 percent of women who have been in an abusive relationship. I know and recognise the signs.

I will fight for all women, including the 51 percent of women who don’t know and recognise that they are being abused. I will fight for the women who side with their abuser. I will fight for the women who are suffering from Stockholm syndrome. I will fight for the women who can’t fight for themselves.

I was a victim once. I will not be a victim again.

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