Types of Intimate Partner Violence

Intimate partner violence is a pattern of increasingly abusive and manipulative behavior whereby one person attempts to exercise power and control over the other person in the relationship. Partners may be married or not married; heterosexual, gay, or lesbian; living together, separated or dating. 

Understanding the definition of intimate partner violence is crucial in being able to act against it. Sometimes people may not even realize that they are being abusive toward their partner. On the other hand, victims do not know to take action against their abusers if they do not realize that they are in fact a victim of intimate partner violence. Additionally, friends and loved ones of victims can be better equipped to help if they understand what intimate partner violence looks like. Therefore, it is important that people understand the definition of intimate partner violence, are able to define the different types of abuse, and recognize the many forms it can take.

Definitions of Abuse:

Physical Abuse any intentional and unwanted contact with you or near your body.  The violence may consist of a slap, kick, punch, scratch, strangulation, choking, pulling of hair, grabbing of clothing, threatening with weapons, or worse.


Emotional Abuse:  may involve isolating the victim from his/her resources and sources of encouragement. The victim may be physically isolated by being locked in his/her home without a telephone, or source of transportation. The abuser may refuse to show any type of love or affection thereby, gaining more power in the relationship. The victim may not be able to perform at work or at home to the great amount of stress he/she experienced as a result of the fear and anxiety he/she feels.


Sexual Abuse:  any non-consensual contact that can happen to both men and women of any age.  Derogatory name calling, refusal to use contraception, forced sex, deliberately causing unwanted physical pain during sex, and passing on sexual diseases or infections using toys, objects, or other items are all form of sexual abuse.


Verbal Abuse:  use of words to attack an individual, such as name-calling and blaming.  It causes one to believe an untrue statement, or to speak falsely of an individual.  It constitutes psychological violence.  Some classic verbally abusive statements are; “You’re crazy!” “You’re stupid!” “You don’t know what you’re talking about!”  Verbal abuse is damaging to the spirit and can lower a victim’s self esteem.


Psychological/Mental Abuse:  any abusive behavior that uses emotions to intimidate the victim, such as threatening the victim or stalking the victim.


Stalking:  a pattern of repeated and unwanted attention, harassment, contact, or any other course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear.

Someone can also use technology to stalk an individual, this is known as cyberstalking.

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