Dr. Christine Marie Cocchiola testified at the September 12, 2023, at the Massachusetts Legislative Hearing in support of:
H.1399 / S.1079 An Act relative to controlling and abusive litigation.
H.1547 / S.1077 An Act improving protections relative to domestic violence.
H.1542 / S.1097 An Act relative to coercive control.
Her testimony is incredibly powerful and supremely brilliant! Dr. Cocchiola explains why a coercive controlling parent is abusive. The child sees love as conditional and the child fears that if the parent could do this to the spouse, then the coercive controlling parent could do the same thing to the child. Walking on eggshells is a part of the child's everyday life. The abuse is often hidden, leading the child to be hyper-vigilant, easily stressed, dis-regulated, attention difficulties, obsessive behaviors, anxiety, and depression.
The goal of a coercive controller is revenge at all costs. The relationship may not start out with physical violence, but as testified throughout the 7-hour hearing, violence is far too often, the final act.
The legislation and the legal systems need to support individuals in coercive controlling situations. Passing the above bills helps to give judges, lawyers, victims, and survivors the tools to stop the abuse and mitigate intergenerational childhood trauma.
Coercive Control is a systematically, unacknowledged form of child abuse. Adult victims and survivors need the ability to be heard and supported when they come forward. These bills afford and give our children an opportunity to live in freedom from the entrapment of a coercive controller.