Power and Control: Domestic Violence in America: Chapter Summaries
Chapter start times are in parenthesis.
An impressionistic overview of domestic violence in America. A woman sits on her door step reflecting on abuse. Police respond to domestics. Media reports on the Rihanna case and the OJ trial. Most domestic violence never makes the news. Introducing the title: behind domestic violence is the dynamic of power and control.
Introduce Duluth, MN, a lakeside city. Kim Mosher has taken refuge in the Safe Haven women’s shelter, along with her daughters Rebekah, Dakotah and Debra. After several years of abuse, Kim left her husband after he was violent toward the girls.
An interview with Kim’s husband, Josh. “It was hard to come back to an empty house.”
Safe Haven (5:58)
An advocate speaks to a victim on the phone. Shelter director explains policy. Women stay as long as six months, even longer. Remy: wanted to come the first time she was hit, but her boyfriend convinced her not to. Vashawn: recalls being hit with a phone book. Kids go off to school on a yellow bus.
Kim’s Struggle (7:33)
Kim: “I felt like I was nothing, I was worthless. It’s getting better.” At McDonald’s where she’s working. Advocate explains how hard it is for women to leave, when economic realities hit and
the abuser pleads.
The Duluth Model (9:35)
Activists Ellen Pence and Michael Paymar recount how they developed the “Duluth Model” in the early 1980s. They approached the police and other officials shortly after a gruesome incident, when an abused woman shot her abuser. The police, courts and other institutions agreed to participate in an experimental domestic violence policy. Linda Mills, of NYU, observes that the impact of domestic violence activists has been “revolutionary.”
Kim’s Childhood (12:02)
Kim experienced abuse from a young age. Her father abused Kim and her five sisters.
She doesn’t want her girls to go through the same thing.
Josh on the Girls (13:17)
He says he “probably paddled the girls harder than I should have.” He also was abused as a child.
Shelter Children (13:46)
Two children’s advocates talk about kids in the shelter. The children are often violent and scared. “They come from a domestic violence situation and they believe that’s a ‘normal’ way to behave.”
Power and Control (15:07)
Advocate explains wheel of power and control to shelter residents. It was developed in Duluth, by victims of domestic violence. Ellen Pence and Michael Paymar talk about wheel’s evolution.
Kim’s Perspective (16:41)
She sees many ways in which Josh exercised power and control.
Josh and Control (18:07)
Josh says he grew up angry — the result of sexual and physical abuse. “I had no control of everything around my life, and there was something I had control over, at home.”
Ellen Pence (18:35)
Pence recalls her beginnings in the battered women’s movement. “In our culture, we have it engrained very deeply, that women do not get to walk out of relationships that are abusive to them.”
Duluth MN Officers intervene in a domestic dispute. Officer says “Physical domestic calls are probably one of the few kind of calls that are hard to shake off when you leave.”
Duluth has unusually detailed policies and procedures. Duluth was one of the nation’s first jurisdictions to implement a “mandatory arrest” policy — a policy which has become a standard through the US and also abroad. Changes in the criminal justice system culminated in the passage of the Violence Against Women Act in 1994.
Health Care (26:08)
Kim visits a friend from the shelter who is having surgery for back injuries caused by her husband. Kim recalls that she was hospitalized to deal with the psychological impact of abuse.
An overview of key health issues related to domestic violence. Interview with Jacqueline Campbell, Johns Hopkins.
Kim: Ready to Go (27:52)
Kim and her daughters look at a townhouse that will soon be their new home.
Kim feels stronger after her time in the shelter, and is ready to move on with her life.
Josh: Troubled (30:25)
After Kim left, Josh thought about suicide. He was admitted to a VA hospital for psychiatric treatment.
Batterer Intervention (31:18)
An important part of the “Duluth Model” is to require batterers to attend treatment programs designed to change attitudes towards women. A group of men meet in Duluth with a man and a woman facilitator.
Kim Leaves (34:34)
[Erratum: The year of Kim’s departure from the shelter is inaccurately stated as 2009 in a title card in this chapter. The actual year was 2008)
Kim meets with an advocate as she prepares to leave the shelter. Kim and Dakotah drive to their old home, in Wabasha, MN to pick up their furniture and other belongings. They drive back to Duluth in a U-Haul and start unpacking.
Duluth’s Critics (42:33)
Opposition to the Duluth Model has emerged. Activists in the men’s rights movement are particularly vocal critics. In academia, a number of researchers have challenged some of the assumptions behind Duluth. Duluth critics are interviewed, including: Murray Straus (U of New Hampshire), Donald Dutton ( U. of British Columbia), Richard Gelles (U. of PA), Linda Mills (NYU), and Erin Pizzey, (founder of an early shelter in London who has become a critic of mainstream domestic violence ideas).
Unexpected Development (48:01)
We see Kim and the girls having breakfast at home. Then we see Josh, and it becomes apparent that he has moved back in with them. Kim recalls that she was sick and in the hospital. Josh came to help with the girls, and that led to a reconciliation. Kim and Josh offer their versions of how and why they go back together. We see more of their life in the new home with the girls.
The Struggles Continue (55:14)
Ellen Pence visits the St. Paul, MN police department, where she is working with officials to create a new domestic violence initiative, The Blueprint. Her visit takes place on the same day that a local officer was shot and killed while responding to a domestic call.
Pence reflects on the past 30 years, and speaks of the progress that still needs to be made.
Advocates now in Duluth speak of how the progress so far is “just a beginning.”
A Sunny Day (58:09)
Kim, Josh and the girls enjoy a visit to a local park on a sunny day. A hopeful note, with undertones of uncertainty.
Duluth advocates and their supporters gather along the shore of Lake Superior to commemorate women and children who have been killed in domestic violence.
Pence says that what’s needed now in the movement is a sense of sisterhood.
Kim concludes by urging that no one submit to abuse.
Interviews and their length in minutes in parenthesis.
Kim Mosher (1:38)
Kim says her feelings about herself have changed since she entered the shelter.
Reflects on an incident when her husband tried to punch her.
Josh Mosher (4:33)
Josh talks about his difficult childhood. Moving around the country, being adopted. Abuse by
adults. His deteriorating condition at home with Kim and his children. His version of what happened when Kim left.
Ellen Pence (5:36)
Pence’s story of how power and control wheel was devised and discussion of the ideas behind the wheel. Batterers feel entitled to power and control in a relationship, which is different than simply wanting it. Violence shapes all the other tactics on the wheel.
Michael Paymar (5:02)
Paymar offers his recollections of how the power and control wheel was devised, discusses the specific tactics of battering and remembers how battered women responded when they saw the wheel for the first time.