"She Must Have Deserved It": An Uncomfortable Reality About Abuse, And Reporting It by Ferret Steinmetz
I've been studying domestic violence for many years now and this is an excellent post that explains how people arrive at the assumption that a battered woman must have "done something" to incite the abuse. We all see the world through our own experience and inclinations and it's hard to put yourself into the mindset of a batterer--even when you are the one he is abusing.
My only criticism is that not all abusers are sociopaths and control isn't the only reason they batter. It's a piece of it, sure, but there are other factors and more than one type of batterer. Some batterers are, indeed, sociopaths. Researchers disagree on the percentage of these. One thing they do agree on is that these batterers cannot be helped by programs because they feel no remorse and thus have no motivation.
My experience has been that the beatings I received were not efforts to control me most of the time. What I gradually realized is that my first husband was not an assertive person, cared a great deal about how he appeared to others, and had poor stress management skills and impulse control. So he would be a "nice guy" in public and hold anger in rather than assert himself, store it up until he was ready to boil over, walk in the door ready to explode at the slightest provocation. It is a typical pattern in non-sociopath or typical batterers. The person he is trying to regain control over is himself, really. It had nothing to do with trying to make me do or not do anything most of the time. [I do recall being kicked once when he thought I was going to say something that he didn't want me to, to the driver and passenger in the front seat.] It was usually about releasing the tension inside himself. Afterwords there was first remorse and then, to save face, a shift of blame to me: "Why do you make me do this?"
I've met people who treat batterers and this is how they described the cycle as well. Sometimes there are undiagnosed and untreated disorders or conditions such as depression, ADHD, and so on, but this feature of anger building up and releasing tension seems to hold true for most batterers. Feeling powerful over someone less so is certainly a factor but not the only one.
This talks about some of the studies and classifications of batterers: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64431/
Meanwhile, a recent domestic violence incident at a public place illustrates that Nigella Lawson couldn't have done anything deserving of a beating while having a meal out with her husband! They were having a discussion and he started choking her. http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/nigella-lawson-attacked-husband-see-1955564 and http://t.co/MGmA9paKZG
ETA Police investigating: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/nigella-lawson-attacked-police-probe-1956397