The graphic is titled People with Disabilities in Partner Relationships. It offers ideas on how to better understand people with disabilities in partner relationships as it pertains to power and control. The outside of the image, which is in the shape of a wheel, has the words “Targets Disability with Physical and Sexual Abuse.” Areas of focus include Privilege (Ableism); Coercion and Threats; Withhold Support or Treatment; Emotional Abuse; Isolation; Minimize, Deny, and Blame; Sexual Abuse; and Economic Abuse.
Presentation and content
The image is in the shape of a wheel. The words “Targets Disability with Physical and Sexual Abuse” appear at the top and bottom of the wheel, along the outer edge. The inner portion of the wheel is made of eight wedges, each of which contains a category along with supporting information. The words “Power and Control” are in the middle of the wheel.
The Privilege (Ableism) wedge contains the following statements: “Overprotects,” “Makes decisions alone,” “Creates physical barriers to getting around (moves furniture, leaves clutter), “Keeps tabs on partner for ‘safety’ reasons because of disability,” and “Takes over tasks to make partner more dependent.”
The Coercion and Threats wedge contains the following statements: “Threatens to leave or to take children,” “Says will kill partner, children, pets, or service animals,” “Threatens to have partner arrested or institutionalized,” “Forces use of alcohol or drugs on addicted partner,” “Makes partner steal or buy drugs.”
The Withhold Support or Treatment wedge contains the following statements: “Steals or throws away medication,” “Doesn’t provide medicine or support when needed”, “Doesn’t allow needed medical treatment,” and “To increase dependence, breaks or does not let partner use assistive devices (phone, wheelchair, cane, walker, etc.)”
The Emotional Abuse wedge includes the following statements: “Insults and shames about disability,” “gives conflicting messages by both helping and hurting,” “Sneaks up to startle,” “Abuses more as partner becomes independent,” “Drives dangerously to scare,” “Talks down to partner,” and “Torments by not letting partner sleep.”
The Isolation wedge contains the following statements: “Pressures to give up disability services,” “Confines and restrains to restrict access to others,” “Exposes disability (AIDS, mental illness, etc.) to others to isolate,” “Limits contact with others,” “Threatens friends,” and “Says no one else cares.”
The Minimize, Deny, and Blame wedge contains the following statements: “Lies about abuse to others (says partner is crazy, fell out of wheelchair, is forgetful, just didn’t take medications),” “Blames disability for abuse,” and “Twists reality, says abuse did not happen.”
The Sexual Abuse wedge contains the following statements: “Forces sex when partner unable to physically resist,” “Humiliates sexually because of disability,” “Makes decisions about birth control/pregnancy,” “Cheats and lies (does not think partner will know because of disability),” and “Pressures partner into prostitution.”
The Economic Abuse wedge includes the following statements: “Controls all money,” “Uses partner’s disability income for self,” “Does not share expenses because being partner to person with a disability is a ‘favor,’” and “Does not allow partner to work and be economically independent.”
Below the graphic are the words “Created by SAFE with in-depth input from people with disabilities.”
The following information appears below the graphic: Adapted with permission from DOMESTIC ABUSE INTERVENTION PROJECT
101 East Superior Street
Duluth, MN 55802
The following information appears below the graphic:
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
City: Austin, Texas
24-hour Hotline: 512.267.SAFE (7233)
For Deaf people of all identities, please use relay/VRS.