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Coercive Control: What It Is, and Why It's Still Legal

  • Kensington Park Library 4201 Knowles Avenue Kensington, MD, 20895 United States (map)

This event is a make up from the original March 13 date, which was postponed due to inclement weather.

Paul Bardack – a local political activist – will talk about coercive control*: what it is, and why it’s still legal. Most importantly, he will suggest concrete steps MCNOW and its members could take to try to end these still legal practices at the local, statewide, and national levels.

*The phrase “coercive control” refers to a pattern of behavior that some people – usually men – employ to dominate their partners and ex-partners.  It involves actual, or threats of, manipulation, humiliation, isolation, financial abuse, stalking, gaslighting, or sexual abuse, among other things.  It could entail initiating frequent judicial actions against an ex-wife, forcing her to spend scarce funds on legal representation.  It could entail, in a shared custody situation, an ex-husband routinely transferring a child to her mom after the agreed upon hour, forcing the mom to waste time away from work waiting for her ex to show.  It could entail, shortly after a divorce, cutting off the cell service of an ex-partner, causing her to miss incoming calls from prospective clients of her home-based business.  Or it could entail an ex-lover’s threat to share with others things said in confidence by his former partner, unless she’ll continue having sexual relations with him.  And the victims of coercive control inevitably find themselves becoming domestic hostages to those coercively controlling them.

Sadly, under current American law, these – and other – instances of coercive control are legal.  Only in the United Kingdom are they illegal. 

Please email us to RSVP (not necessary but nice to know).

(You may bring your own snacks/dinner if you like.)