Univision talks with SAFE about power and control

Written by Antwon R. Martin

Sometimes it’s as obvious as a bruise or a swollen lip. Usually it’s as hidden as a belittling comment. The pattern of behavior used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner is generally referred to as domestic violence.

SAFE recently sat down with Univision’s Despierta Austin to talk about domestic violence and what people can do to seek help. Scroll down for an overview in English.

Forms of domestic violence

Domestic violence takes many forms. It can happen to anyone regardless of race, ethnicity, sex, disability, religion, age, language differences, immigration status, sexual orientation, gender identity, socio-economic status, marital status, or familial status. Domestic violence can affect couples who are married, living together, or in a dating relationship.


Any forceful or violent behavior. This includes denying a partner medical care. Examples:

  • Hitting
  • Shoving
  • Hair pulling
  • Biting
  • Pinching


Any abuse that attacks someone’s self-esteem, including damaging a partner’s relationships with their children. Examples:

  • Constant criticism
  • Diminishing a partner’s abilities
  • Name calling


Use of finances to control  or limit a partner. Examples:

  • Maintaining total control over financial resources
  • Withholding a partner’s access to money
  • Forbidding a partner from going to work or school


Abuse with the threat of violence. Examples:

  • Threatening physical harm to a partner, children, and/or self
  • Harming or threatening to harm pets
  • Destruction of property
  • Forcing isolation from family, friends, school, and/or work
  • Threatening to have a partner deported

Power and control wheel

The power and control wheel was developed by the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project. The wheel breaks down the pattern of actions that an individual uses to intentionally control or dominate their intimate partner.

Domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse all involve patterns of power and control. Threats, coercion, intimidation, isolation, and various other forms of domination constitute abuse. These make up the spokes of the wheel, with “power and control” at the center and physical and sexual violence holding it all together along the wheel’s rim.


What you can do

If you or someone you know is being abused, contact our SAFEline at 512.267.SAFE (7233) or safeaustin.org/chat. We can connect you with our services and programs available in the Austin area.

SAFE does not require you to file a police report and we never ask about immigration status.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline is available at 1.800.799.7233.