What is Intimate Partner Violence?
Intimate partner violence (IPV), is physical, emotional, sexual, or financial abuse between two people in an intimate relationship. This may include either current or former spouses or dating partners. It is not restricted to heterosexual relationships and may occur in any racial or social economic settings. Intimate partner violence can be one isolated event or long-term abuse characterized by emotional, sexual, or physical trauma.
Intimate partner violence may be any of the following:
- Physical abuse is when a person hurts, or attempts to hurt, a partner of any kind by aggressive or painful attacks on their partner. This may include striking, kicking, burning, pushing, shoving, or any other physical assault.
- Sexual abuse is forcing or coercing a partner into sex, unwanted touching, or even sexual accusations, without their partner's consent.
- Threats of physical or sexual abuse include the use of words, gestures, weapons, or other means to communicate the intent to cause harm.
- Emotional abuse may occur when an abusive person threatens to injure their partner or important belongings or loved ones. This may also include eroding their partner's sense of self-worth through name-calling, put downs, and/or yelling.
- Isolation keeps a partner from contacting friends and family. A restriction from contact with others outside of the situation maintains the abusive partner's control.
Many victims suffer physical injuries:
- Some are minor such as cuts, scratches, bruises, and welts.
- Others are more serious and can cause chronic pain or trauma. These include broken bones, internal bleeding, head trauma, or ultimately death.
Not all injuries are physical, IPV can also be, or cause:
- Emotional harm, low self-esteem
- Difficulty in trusting others or sustaining meaningful relationships
- Trigger-induced anger or stress
- Eating disorders and depression
- Thoughts and feelings about suicide, or suicide attempts within the relationship.