PODCAST: Coercive control is a key aspect of abusive relationships, but still misunderstood

“Coercive control” is something we’ve only just begun to hear about, yet it plays a key role in domestic abuse. Campaigner and journalist Julie Bindel reports that “Coercive control is now the most common form of abuse for which female victims seek help at domestic violence charities.” But when people think about abusive relationships, their imaginations often limit their understanding to the overt violence. But it’s more complicated than that.

Psychological and emotional abuse is often what keeps women from leaving, and can torment them even more than the physical blows. There are clear red flags in terms of men’s behaviour towards their victims that could be noted and addressed in order to potentially save women from further violence or even death.

Jennifer, 42 is a feature length animated documentary that tells the true story of Jennifer Magnano, a Connecticut mother of three, who spent 15 years in a brutally abusive marriage, and attempted to escape with her family. The film delves into the nature of coercive control as well as the broader cultural forces at play. Jennifer, 42 is scheduled for release in April 2020.

In this episode, I speak with the director of the film, Elle Kamihira, and executive producer, Laura Richards, a criminal behavioural analyst and the producer of Dirty John, The Dirty Truth.

Kamihira is a multi-genre director, producer, and writer working in installation media and documentaries. Her credits include the award-winning introductory film Who We Are at the Lelawi Theater at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, signature films for The Museum of the American Revolution, The Harley-Davidson Museum, The Heard Museum, The Chickasaw Cultural Center, and The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame NY Annex.

Richards is an award winning and world renowned criminal behavioural analyst who worked for a decade at New Scotland Yard as head of the homicide prevention unit and head of the violent crime intelligence and analysis unit. She is also world-leading victim advocate who has trained and addressed thousands of police officers, frontline, and specialist professionals across the world in identifying, intervening in, and preventing this form of male violence against women. Richards spearheaded the Domestic Violence Law Reform Campaign to criminalize coercive control, and developed and delivered the first training on the new law in the UK. She is also the author of Policing Domestic Violence. Follow her on Twitter @LauraRichards99.


PODCAST: Coercive control is a key aspect of abusive relationships, but still misunderstood
Meghan Murphy

Founder & Editor

Meghan Murphy is a freelance writer and journalist from Vancouver, BC. She has been podcasting and writing about feminism since 2010 and has published work in numerous national and international publications, including The Spectator, UnHerd, Quillette, the CBC, New Statesman, Vice, Al Jazeera, The Globe and Mail, and more. Meghan completed a Masters degree in the department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2012 and is now exiled in Mexico with her very photogenic dog.