Nearly one third of American women will experience intimate partner violence during their lifetime. The Family Violence Prevention Fund (FVPF) defines Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) as a pattern of assaultive and coercive behaviors that may include inflicted physical injury, psychological abuse, sexual assault, progressive social isolation, stalking, deprivation, intimidation, and threats. Intimate partner violence appears in many forms, has substantial consequences, and affects men as well as women.
Intimate partner violence is not always just physical, but can be emotional and sexual as well. Physical abuse is when a person is hurt due to any form of physical violence, including but not limited to; hitting, kicking, shoving, slapping, and any other form of physical force. Dr. Jeanne Segal states that one of the top signs of physical abuse is "frequent injuries with the excuse of an accident." Emotional abuse can include name calling, threats, belittling, domination, blackmail, and many other characteristics that make a person question his or her self-worth. Sexual abuse includes sexual assault, rape, or any other sexual events that occur without consent. These abusive behaviors often occur in intimate relationships such as marriage, dating, friends, or family.
Violence is a serious matter and crucial consequences can occur. Being a victim of emotional, physical, or sexual abuse can be life altering and affect an individual forever. Many victims suffer from physical injuries including cuts, scratches, bruises, and broken bones. Low self esteem, trust issues, stress, and depression are also a common result in emotional abuse. Unwanted pregnancy is often an outcome in sexually abused cases. "IPV is linked to harmful health behaviors as well. Victims are more likely to smoke; abuse alcohol, use drugs, and engage in risky sexual activity."(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2009). These careless rituals only create a larger problem for the victim. Although there are many negative consequences and results for the victim there are also consequences for the abuser including a personal protective order, probation, jail, and a permanent record of "domestic abuse battery".
Although many think that women are the only victims of abuse it is important to know that men are victims as well. It is estimated that each year, intimate partner violence results in 1,200 deaths and two million injuries among women and nearly 600,000 injuries among men (National Domestic Violence Hotline, 2009). It is extremely difficult to get an accurate estimate of how many men are victims of domestic violence each year because many do not report the incident. Some reasons for this might be humiliation, pride, and embarrassment. As the years go on physical abuse in men is becoming a growing problem. A recent 2009 study performed by California State University found that women initiate domestic violence just as often as men and 38% of reported victims are males.
Generally, when a person hears of violence one usually thinks about physical abuse. It is important to remember that emotional and sexual harm is abuse too and just as serious. No matter which form of abuse a person experiences it can affect him/her for weeks, months, years, or even an entire life time. A victim may never be able to trust or feel safe again. Even though women are more commonly victims, domestic violence against men is becoming more common and a growing issue in our society. To prevent intimate partner violence, the goal is to stop it before it begins and promote healthy dating relationships. There are many ways to seek help including crisis hotlines, shelters, and 911. "The main goal of the future is to stop violence. The world is addicted to it."-Bill Cosby.
- (2009). Domestic violence statistics. Domestic Violence Resource Center. Retrieved February 5, 2010 from http://www.dvrc-or.org/domestic/violence/resources/C61/.
- (2009). Understanding intimate partner violence. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved February 5, 2010 from http://www.cdc.gov/ViolencePrevention/intimatepartnerviolence/index.html.
- Belmont, J. (2009). Domestic violence and abuse. Retrieve February 6, 2010 from http://www.helpguide.org/mental/domestic_violence_abuse_types_signs_causes_effects.htm.
- The National Domestic Violence Hotline. (2009). Abuse in America. Retrieved February 6, 2010 from http://www.ndvh.org/get-educated/abuse-in-america/.