There are privileges to being a man and a father in our society. In this social structure there is the expectation of a woman to be a “good mother and to keep the family together”. An abuser will often use children as a way to control a woman by constantly declaring, “If you leave me you are a bad mother and I will take our children away from you forever”. The continual verbal abuse the woman receives from the abuser that she is a failure of a mother and a woman has a huge influence on her sense of esteem and power, especially considering the numerous social messages women receive about the utter importance of being “good”. Even after women leave abusive relationships, abusers often continue to use children to control her and her life by getting the children to repeat his abusive words to her, or denying her to have access to the children, or constantly bombarding her with family court applications and hearings.

“He told me that he won’t let me see my children and will tell everyone how I’m a horrible wife and mother if I ever leave him. That would just kill me”

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