Intimate Partner Violence, or Domestic Violence, is defined by the World Health Organization as: “Any behavior within an intimate relationship that causes physical, psychological or sexual harm to those in the relationship”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have added to this definition to include patterned instances, “progressive social isolation, deprivation and intimidation” (Class Notes Week 3)
WHAT IS IPV?
This week’s guest speaker, Carrie Moylan, noted how impactful this power wheel is when showing it to victims of IPV. Many do not recognize that they are a part of a system of abuse. Instead they consider the acts of their partner to be normal, or ways in which their partner grieves. There are many different forms of abuse, and no one deserves to endure any of them (Carrie Moylan).
WHO IS VICTIM TO IPV?
“An estimated 1.5 million women and 830,000 men are physically or sexually abused by an intimate partner annually in the United States” -National Violence Against Women Survey (Class Notes Week 3)
“People in abusive relationships often mistake intensity for intimacy. It feels intimate because it is so personal, but intimacy requires trust- and there is no trust in abusive relationships” -Dragonslippers (Penfold, 2005, p.1)
Domestic Violence can and does also happen in same-gender relationships. This story depicts the effects of emotional and physical abuse in IPV.
Warning: This award winning film on “the effects of domestic violence and alcohol abuse in same sex relationships” features some explicit language. (Emma Loveday & Tom Smith, 2015)
FAMILES EXPERIENCING IPV
Children of parents experiencing IPV also experience significant distress from the circumstances. This story shares the challenges of how growing up in a household with IPV can create grief.
- About one in three adolescent girls in the U.S. experience physical, emotional or verbal abuse in a dating relationship -Davis 2008 (Class Notes Week 3)
- Two in five girls ages 11-12 have reported friends with relationships containing verbal abuse -Tween and Teen Dating Violence and Abuse Study 2000 (Class Notes Week 3)
Children’s experiences with abuse can also influence their actions in future relationships. In fact, many perpetrators designate childhood abuse or witnessing abuse as reason for their anger and actions. This raises concern to our current methods of intervention for children in homes with IPV.
BARRIERS TO SEEKING HELP
The hardest question people ask survivors of Domestic Violence is “Why Didn’t you just leave…?”
There are many barriers that make the decision to leave EXTREMELY HARD. Victims with children are often in the greatest struggle because they want to keep their children safe and not expose them to major life changes. Other barriers include feeling ashamed about the circumstances, feeling like you are the only person that can help your partner, and great fear that the circumstances could become worse if you were to leave.
Even when victims return back to their homes after seeking services, Social Workers understand that one night of safety is still significant because it helps to plant the seed for escaping violence and seeking help. It can take up to approximately seven acts of aggression until the victim finally decides to leave the violence atmosphere (Carrie Moylan).
WHAT CAN WE DO TO HELP?
There is much to learn about IPV and its complexity… It is important for bystanders and victims to understand how painful and challenging situations can be to escape and recover.
As stated in the research of Mary Allen on gender symmetry: “To fully understand and make appropriate assessments will require a comprehensive understanding of the typologies of such violence, the dynamics which can be identified in each typology and the likely impacts on abused women and men and on their children” (Allen, 2010, p252)
Leslie’s story shows us that anyone can be victim to IPV. She leaves us all with the best advice and that is:
“Abuse only thrives is silence, you have the power to end Domestic Violence simply by shining a spotlight on it” -Leslie Morgan Steiner
If you or someone you know is experiencing any form of Domestic Violence please consider this local resource: RISE (Click the Link)
Allen, Mary. (2011). Is there gender symmetry in intimate partner violence?(Report). Child & Family Social Work, 16(3), 245.
Penfold, R. (2005). Dragonslippers : This is what an abusive relationship looks like (1st American ed.). New York: Black Cat/Grove Press : Distributed by Group West.