How to Identify Post-Separation Abuse Tactics and Protect Yourself

Today, on Prevention of Violence Against Women Week, we’re shedding light on an insightful article by Chuck Derry titled “Abusive Men Describe The Benefits of Violence”.

For many years, Chuck Derry facilitated court mandated groups for men who batter.

One night he started the group by asking the men what they thought the benefits were of their violence. At first they all looked at each other (notably) and said, “There are no benefits.” This did not surprise him, as men who batter routinely deny their actions—as they deny their intents as well. So he said, “Well, there must be some benefits from the violence; otherwise why would you do it?” They looked at each other again and then one guy started admitting there were benefits, and then they all chimed.


Here is a list of the benefits of violence that abusive men cited:

  • She’s scared and won’t go out and spend money
  • Get your way: go out
  • Respect
  • She won’t argue
  • Feeling superior: she’s accountable to me in terms of being somewhere on time: I decide
  • Keeps relationship going—she’s too scared to leave
  • Get the money
  • Get sex
  • Total control in decision making
  • Use money for drugs
  • Don’t have to change for her
  • Power
  • Decide where to go (as a couple)
  • Who to see
  • What to wear
  • Control the children
  • If she’s late, she won’t be again
  • Intimidation
  • She’s scared & can’t confront me
  • Can convince her she’s screwin’ up
  • She feels less worthy so defers to my needs and wants
  • She will look up to me and accept my decisions without an argument
  • Decide her social life—what she wears so you can keep your image by how she acts
  • She’s to blame for the battering
  • She’s an object
  • (I get) a robot babysitter, maid, sex, food
  • Ego booster
  • She tells me I’m great
  • Bragging rights
  • If she works—get her money
  • Get her to quit job so she can take care of house
  • Isolate her so friends can’t confront me
  • Decide how money is spent
  • “I’m breadwinner”
  • Buy the toys I want
  • Take time for myself
  • She has to depend on me if I break her stuff
  • Get to know everything
  • She’s a nurse-maid
  • She comforts me
  • Supper on the table
  • Invite friends over w/o her knowin’ = more work for her
  • No compromise = more freedom
  • Don’t have to listen to her complaints for not letting her know stuff
  • She works for me
  • I don’t have to help out
  • I don’t have to hang out with her or kids
  • Don’t have to get up, take out garbage, watch kids, do dishes, get up at night with kids, do laundry, change diapers, clean house, bring kids to appointments or activities, mop floors, clean refrigerator, etc.
  • Answer to nobody
  • Do what you want, when you want to
  • Get to ignore/deny your history of violence and other irresponsible behavior
  • Get to write history
  • Get to determine future
  • Determine what values kids have—who they play with, what school they go to or getting to ignore the process—dictating what they “need” food, clothes, recreation, etc.
  • Dictate reality, etc.
  • Kids on my side against her
  • Kids do what I say
  • Mold kids/her so that they will help do what I should do
  • Keeps kids quiet about abuse
  • Choose battles & what it will cost her
  • Proves your superiority
  • Win all the arguments
  • Don’t have to listen to her wishes, complaints, anger, fears, etc.
  • Make the rules then break them when you want
  • So she won’t get help against you for past beatings because she has no friends to support her and she is confused by my lies
  • Convince her she’s nuts
  • Convince her she’s unattractive
  • Convince her she’s to blame
  • Convince her she’s the problem
  • I can dump on her
  • Can use kids to “spy” on mom
  • Kids won’t tell mom what I did
  • Kids won’t disagree with me
  • Don’t have to talk to her
  • I’m king of the castle
  • Can make yourself scarce
  • Have someone to unload on
  • Have someone to bitch at
  • She won’t call police
  • Tell kids don’t have to listen to mom
  • Get her to drop charges
  • Get her to support me to her family, my family, cops, judge, child welfare, prosecutors, etc.
  • Get her to admit it’s her fault

He then asked “Why would they give up using violence?”

The men then responded with things like:
“get arrested,”
“get protection orders taken out against you,”
“adult kids don’t invite you to their weddings,”
“have to go to groups like this.”


Chuck Derry writes:

“This was the first time I fully comprehended the necessity of a consistent coordinated community response through the criminal, civil, and family court systems which can mete out safe and effective interventions that hold men who batter accountable while preserving the safety of the women, girls, and boys they abuse.”

“It was on that day that I realized if I had to choose between providing batterer groups for men who batter or a consistently effective criminal and civil/family court response to domestic violence, I would choose the criminal and civil/family court response every time. There are just too many benefits gained from this behavior.”

To read the full article, please visit

This Prevention of Violence Against Women Week, we want to invite you to continue to engage with BWSS as we continue to release resources and action steps on violence prevention. Follow us at @endingviolence and visit for more information and ways to get involved. 

If you or someone you love is in need of support, please contact the Battered Women Support Services at Crisis Line:

Call toll-free: 1-855-687-1868
Metro Vancouver: 604-687-1867

How to Identify Post-Separation Abuse Tactics and Protect Yourself