Are abusers generally cowards?

I remembered watching Steve Wilkos show. While this abuser did whatever he wanted to his poor girlfriend (even smell her underwears), he did nothing when Wilkos was right in his face yelling at him.

Generally speaking (with few exceptions), the very same abusers that claimed to lack self-control, can magically be well-behaved with their employer or someone of authority. All of the sudden, they don't have the same urge to slap or punch a manager that reprimands them one day or gives an order. They fear getting fired or charged with assault and going to jail but don't have that same fire when hitting that poor girlfriend or wife.
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Oh no, with the poor girlfriend or wife... they don't have that same fear of getting kicked (equivalent of getting fired from a job) out of the house and getting charged with assault, along with jail time.
Are abusers generally cowards?
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