Intimate Partner Violence: What is it and how can you get help?
Abuse is any behavior that is used to control and subdue another person through the use and fear of physical, emotional, and sexual assaults. Intimate partner violence can come in many forms. I will discuss these further as well as treatment options and services that are available for individuals in these abusive relationships.
Intimate Partner Violence
Intimate partner violence (IPV) or domestic violence, is violence that occurs between people that are involved in a close relationship (Benokraitis, 2012a, p. 384). The people involved don’t necessarily have to be married, just in a close personal, intimate relationship. Abusive relationships are unhealthy, damaging and destructive. They can be both physically and emotionally devastating. Abuse is not partial to any sex, race, ethnicity, or social class. IPV can be physical, emotional, and sexual. IPV also includes the threat of any abuse. Physical abuse occurs when a person attempts to hurt or scare their partner or spouse with physical harm. This can occur in various ways. Some examples of physical abuse include hitting, pushing/shoving, slapping, kicking, grabbing, choking, biting, hair pulling, and throwing objects. Physical abuse may occur in a habitual and repetitive cycle where the abuser may become increasingly angry, jealous, and moody (Luther College, 2013). Dr. Lenore Walker, a prominent specialist in abusive relationship analysis, outlines the following as the 4 behavioral phases within abusive relationships (Laws.com, 2013):
1. The ‘tension’ phase: The phase in which the abuser created fear and anxiety within the abused partner.
2. The ‘incident’ phase: The phase in which the abusive acts occur.
3. The ‘reconciliation’ phase: The phase in which the abuser shows remorse and apologizes for the abuse and may even promise to never let it happen again.
4. The ‘calm’ phase: The phase in which the abuse is forgiven and forgotten.
Emotional abuse is any kind of abuse that is emotional in nature, rather than physical. It can include anything from verbal abuse, criticism and name calling, intimidation, ridicule, manipulation, neglect, and refusal to ever be pleased or happy (Benokraitis, 2012a, p. 384). Emotional abuse wears away at the victim’s self-confidence, sense of self-worth, trust in their own perceptions, and self-concept (Counseling Center, 2007). Eventually, the victim loses all sense of self-worth. Three general patterns of abusive behavior include aggressing, denying, and minimizing (Counseling Center, 2007).
• Aggressing: Aggressive forms of abuse include name-calling, belittling, accusing, blaming, threatening, ordering, and stalking. These behaviors are usually direct and very obvious. Through this behavior, the abuser undermines the equality and autonomy needed to have a healthy relationship. The relationship takes on a more parent-to-child pattern of communication. A more indirect form of...