Intimate Partner Violence

Are you in a romantic relationship that is characterized by physical violence, sexual violence, stalking and psychological aggression you are involved in intimate partner violence (IPV)? These violent acts can be carried out by a current or ex-partner that does not require having sexual intimacy. Intimate partner violence happens in all spheres and among all people of different social, religion and cultural groups. Most of the time the victim is women but many men face this problem as well. This violence can happen in both heterosexual and homosexual relationship.

There is a fine line between domestic violence and intimate partner violence. Both of the terms have conceptually different meanings. Domestic violence is explained as physical, sexual, and mental maltreatment from one family member to another. It could be any family member. For instance child abuse, marital rape etc. On the other hand, intimate partner violence occurs among intimate partners.

Physical violence would include slapping, punching, choking, biting, pushing, shoving, etc. all with the intention of causing bodily pain, injury, disability, or death.

Sexual violence includes rape, unwanted sexual contact such as touching the victim’s genitalia, breasts, buttocks etc without consent. This also includes forcing the victim to touch the body of the perpetrator. Non-contact unwanted sexual experiences such as forcing the victim to view pornographic material, unwanted filming, taking or disseminating photographs of a sexual nature and verbal, behavioral sexual harassment.

“It's the place where dreams end and nightmares begin—it's the world of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV).”

― Mallika Nawal

Stalking involves repeated and unwanted attention that makes the victim feels fearful and threatened. The perpetrator would make unwanted phone calls, emails, texts, gifts that the person does not want or appreciate; following the person around, spying and showing up at places the person would likely be in attendance.

Psychological aggression would entail verbal and non-verbal communication that is deliberately done to exert power and control over the victim. The perpetrator would engage in name-calling, shaming, limit access to money, friends and mode of transportation, excessively close monitoring of victim’s movement, exploitation of the victim’s vulnerability as well as presenting false information with the intention of playing mind games with the victim.

Dominant behavior is often common in IPV. The perpetrator always tries to control the victim’s life. For example the perpetrator decides whom can the victim meet or keep relationship with. Sometimes force the victim to break ties with friends and family. Restrict them from financial expedient, jobs and often monitor victim’s movements. The perpetrator always tries to dominate the victim in every possible way. Sometimes the scenario gets so worse that the victim gets isolated from the outer world. They get captivated in a room by their violent intimate partner. This not only breaks a person mentally but emotionally as well.

The causes:
• Often the perpetrator is mentally sick or
• S\he has either experienced it or lived within such context where s\he has seen someone doing it
• It could be family,
• It could be friends,
• It could be media,
• It could be internet,
• It could be gender inequality,
• It could be anything.

This has been the perpetrator’s part. This should be kept in mind that the victim often does not even get to know the violent traits of their partner until they dive deep into the relationship. There could be many reasons for staying in such toxic violent relationship:

• Sometimes it could be financial dependency,
• Sometimes social acceptance,
• Sometimes emotional attachment,
• Sometimes children,
• Sometimes lack of support from close ones and
• Sometimes hoping that the partner would change.

Whatever might be the reason, people who are in this kind of relationship must take an initiative to stop this toxic trait from both the perpetrator’s and the victim’s end. The perpetrator must understand that what s\he is doing is wrong and should take necessary steps to overcome this issue. And even from the victim’s end, the victim should make the perpetrator understand that what s\he is doing is wrong. If the perpetrator does not understand then the victim must take necessary steps to stop whatever violence is going on.

Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence:
Victims of IPV may experience a variety of health related conditions including:
Physical – broken bones, bruises, knife wounds, back or pelvic pain, brain injury, cardiovascular disease, gastrointestinal disorders, bladder and kidney infections, migraines and headaches;
Reproductive- pelvic inflammatory disease, sexual dysfunction, unintended pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS;
Psychological – Anxiety, depression, PTST, anti-social behavior, fear of intimacy, emotional detachment, sleep disturbances; Social -Isolation from social networks, restricted access to services, homelessness; Health Behaviors -substance abuse, alcoholism, suicide attempts, engaging in high-risk sexual behavior.
Human development- this violence violates human right. People who are in this sort of relationship face violence of all classes of human rights which hinders the human development.
Any kind of violence must not be tolerated as it causes numerous problems. These problems might be life threatening. So, necessary steps must be taken.

Accessing Help:
Before the situation gets worse everyone should get immediate help. Depending on the severity of the condition people should find a way to deal with it. It is not too late yet. The psychotherapist would engage you in talk therapy and help you restore a sense of harmony and mental stability. And the address of getting help from any professional is Seeking Shalom. Seeking Shalom has trained and experienced therapists in the area of IPV. Seeking Shalom works with children, adolescents and adults. It offers you two contexts to help you come out from the toxic violent relationship and will help you to overcome. You can engage in weekly individual/family therapy or in a twelve week group setting where you get to interact with persons like yourself and together learn helpful strategies and techniques to deal with the problem. To pursue any of these options you can contact us via telephone at 212-655-9605. We would be happy to help you on this journey to healthier living.

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