Intimate Partner Violence: The Untold Story

With October being National Domestic Violence Month, I
figured this was the best time to discuss this sensitive topic, a topic that is
near and dear to my heart. A topic that I’ve chosen to discuss as a part of wellness and starting over. Intimate Partner Violence is likened to a silent
killer; many people suffer from it but don’t speak on it for several reasons.
One being they’re not aware of the condition they’re in and like Domestic Violence
victims, are ashamed of what’s happening to them. Well it’s time to break the
silence on this destructive force so that people can live happy, fulfilling
lives.

What is Intimate
Partner Violence?
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Intimate
Partner Violence (also known as IPV) is an actual public health problem that
pertains to physical, sexual or psychological harm by a current partner or
spouse. This also includes past relationships such as a former boyfriend or
girlfriend.
Millions are affected by this preventable public health
issue that must be stopped before it begins.
IPV manifests in four
main ways:
·
Physical
the use of physical force causing harm or injury.
·
Sexual
physical force on partner to engage in unwanted sexual acts, attempting to have
sex with someone who unable to understand the nature or condition of sex and is
unable to decline participation (someone who may be mentally retarded) or
sexual abuse.
·
Threats
to do physical or sexual harm
– the use of gestures, weapons or words to
communicate intention to cause harm, injury disability and even death to the
person.
·
Psychological/Emotional
– caused by coercive tactics including threats of violent acts, harassment,
stalking, isolation from family; this is perhaps the most intense form of IPV
especially when physical violence is not involved.
Important Facts about
IPV
·
IPV has no barriers: Cases of IPV are not
limited to race, education, gender, disability or socioeconomic status. It is happening
to people of all colors and backgrounds.
·
At least 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men in the
United States alone have experienced some form of IPV by an intimate partner
during their lifetime.
·
IPV has been known to be prevalent in hetero and
same-sex relationships.
·
IPV is fairly common among teenagers and college
students
 
 
What victims
experience
Many of those who are actual victims of IPV don’t realize
it. IPV is more common than people realize. The statistics are alarming –
especially since it doesn’t include numbers of men and women who are not
reporting the sexual and psychological abuse they’re enduring by their
partner.  Here are some of the symptoms a
victim may experience, according to the American Psychological Association:
·
Suicidal thoughts and/or behavior
·
Depression
·
Inability to trust
·
Isolation
·
Emotional detachment
·
Sleep disturbances
·
Flashbacks
·
Constant replay of assault in mind
·
Unhealthy eating
·
Dependence on substances
·
Chronic pain, headaches and limited activity
Because there is shame attached to this condition, the pain
and suffering is held within leaving friends and family clueless as to what is
going on with victims of IPV. One of the first things a person should do is get
some type of support – support from those who will NOT point fingers, be
judgmental or blame you for what is happening. A support group is vital for a
victim’s survival for IPV, even if it’s just one person you’re talking to and
can trust. That’s a starting point to get out of the situation.
 
Can one overcome IPV
and flourish? Yes, yes YES!
It is possible to move past such a difficult
situation and rebuild with a new sense of purpose and inspiration. With the
right support and resources, it can be done. Another important aspect of
survival is the release of the victim mentality. Being a victim is not
something that should last a lifetime. One survives and overcomes to the point
where they can help others, but it happens one step at a time.
There are community resources that are also available for those
looking to get out of a harmful relationship.
The National Domestic
Violence Helpline
– a national call center available for victims who need
resources and counseling
Abused Deaf Women’s Advocacy
Services
(ADWAS) – provides specialized services to deaf and deaf-blind
victims of sexual assault, domestic violence and stalking
Guidelines
to Internet Safety and privacy
– if you’re concerned about your research
activity on this topic being traced, read here to find out how you can be
protected
If you’re in the beginning of a relationship, take your time to get to know the person. Any signs of aggression domineering behavior or insecurity should raise a red flag. The longer you stay, the more difficult it can be to leave. The importance of a support system cannot be stressed enough when trying to exit an unsafe environment. Please reach out and get help as soon as you can. Resources abound!
Question: What are your thoughts or concerns on IPV? 

 

Additional Resources:
American Psychological Association (2014). http://www.apa.org/topics/violence/partner.aspx?item=7
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2014). http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/intimatepartnerviolence/definitions.html

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