The Power and Control Wheel was developed in Duluth by battered women who were attending education groups sponsored by the local women’s shelter. While we recognize that there are women who use violence against men, and that there are men and women in same-sex relationships who use violence, this wheel is meant specifically to illustrate men’s abusive behaviors toward women. The Equality Wheel was developed for use with the same groups.
We understand that on the surface, the problem of domestic violence focusing on one gender seems counter to reality. However, the social problem that has and continues to plague the globe is overwhelmingly that of men abusing women. Our agency is focused on that social problem but does acknowledge that women can also be violent. However, when we work with these women (and we have groups for them), we know the source of their violence is almost always from a very different place than men’s violence. In fact, most of the women arrested for illegal violence are using it because they live with a man who is beating them. The Power and Control Wheel was developed not as an idea or theory but from working directly with women who were abused by men. It is a tool that has been used all over the world because regardless of where victims live, they see their experience reflected in the wheel. To make the wheel gender neutral would erase the experience that so many women have at the hands of their male partners. In other words, the scale of battering (beating an intimate partner for the intent to dominate them) is far more likely to come from the male in a heterosexual relationship. Battering is the most dangerous form of the more general category of domestic violence. That is what we focus on and we don’t see women battering male partners at anywhere near the rate that men do toward women.
Therefore, any requests to make the Power and Control Wheel, or any of its derivatives, gender neutral will not be approved.
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