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Dating & Domestic Violence

Over the past decade or so there has been a shift in the definitions used to describe intimate partner violence. There is still widespread use of various terms used to describe intimate partner violence. Many organizations use the terms partner violence, dating violence, or domestic violence. The Center for Injury Prevention and Control, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), uses the term Intimate Partner Violence to encompass dating and domestic violence.

According to the Center for Injury Prevention and Control, intimate partner violence “describes physical, sexual, or psychological harm by a current or former partner or spouse. This type of violence can occur among heterosexual or same-sex couples and does not require sexual intimacy.”

The University of Kansas uses the terms Intimate Partner/Relationship Violence and it is defined as “violence or abuse by a person in an intimate relationship with another. The term ‘intimate partner violence’ is defined to mean any physical, sexual, or psychological harm against an individual by a current or former partner or spouse of the individual. It would include stalking, dating violence, sexual violence, or domestic violence.” The University of Kansas definition closely mirrors the definition of the Center for Injury Prevention and Control and is meant to be all-inclusive.

The mandates of Title IX require that colleges and universities track certain charges in addition to the already mandated Clery charges. These additional violations are found in the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act (Campus SaVE Act) and includes sexual assault, stalking, dating violence, and domestic violence. The Campus SaVE Act requires institutions to differentiate between dating and domestic violence. Both are violations of the University’s Sexual Harassment Policy and are included as Intimate Partner/Relationship Violence.

Throughout this section, you may see the terms intimate partner violence, dating violence, and domestic violence used. They will be used according to the source that is being cited.

What is Intimate Partner Violence?

The CDC defines intimate partner violence as “any physical, sexual, or psychological harm against an individual by a current or former partner or spouse of the individual. It would include stalking, dating violence, sexual violence, or domestic violence.” The CDC breaks intimate partner violence into five categories for the National Intimate partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS). They are as follows:

  • Sexual Violence includes rape, being made to penetrate someone else, sexual coercion, unwanted sexual contact, and non-contact unwanted sexual experiences.
  • Physical Violence includes a range of behaviors from slapping, pushing, or shoving to severe acts, such as being beaten, burned, or choked.
  • Stalking Victimization involves a pattern of harassing or threatening tactics used by a perpetrator that is both unwanted and causes fear or safety concerns in the victim.
  • Psychological aggression includes expressive aggressions (such as name calling, insulting, or humiliating an intimate partner) and coercive control, which includes behaviors that are intended to monitor and control or threaten an intimate partner.
  • Control of reproductive or sexual health includes the refusal by an intimate partner to use a condom. For a woman, it also includes times when a partner tried to get her pregnant when she did not want to become pregnant. For a man, it also includes times when a partner tried to get pregnant when the man did not want her to become pregnant.

From the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey: An Overview, 2010

 

“Dating violence is a pattern of abusive behaviors -- usually a series of abusive behaviors over a course of time -- used to exert power and control over a dating partner.

Every relationship is different, but the things that unhealthy and abusive relationships have in common are issues of power and control. Violent words and actions are tools an abusive partner uses to gain and maintain power and control over their partner.”

From www.breakthecycle.org/learn-about-dating-violence, 2014.

Intimate Partner Violence by the Numbers
  • 51.1% of female victims of rape report being raped by an intimate partner. 40.8% of female victims of rape reported being raped by an acquaintance. 91.9% of female rape victims were raped by someone they knew.
  • 52.4% of male victims of rape reported being raped by an acquaintance.
  • 79.6% of female victims of completed rape experienced their first rape before the age of 25. Approximately 35% experienced their first rape between the ages of 18 and 25 – the time when many young women are in college.
  • More than 1 in 3 women and more than 1 in 4 men have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
  • 69% of female victims and 53% of male victims of rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner experienced some form of intimate partner violence before the age of 25.
  • About 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner.
  • 48.4% of women and 48.8% of men have experienced psychological aggression by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
  • The cost of intimate partner violence is more than 8.3 billion including healthcare costs loss of work, and the value of lost lives.

From National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, 2010 Summary Report

What Does Intimate Partner Violence Look Like?

Common Warning Signs of Dating Abuse & Violence include:

  • Checking cell phones, emails or social networks without permission
  • Extreme jealousy or insecurity
  • Constant belittling or put-downs
  • Explosive temper
  • Isolation from family and friends
  • Making false accusations
  • Erratic mood swings
  • Physically inflicting pain or hurt in any way
  • Possessiveness
  • Telling someone what to do
  • Repeatedly pressuring someone to have sex

From http://www.breakthecycle.org/warning-signs

 

Identifying Signs of Intimate Partner Violence (Eggertston, 2013; Gottlieb, 2008):

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Suicidality
  • Sleep disorders
  • Unexplained GI symptoms
  • Unexplained reproductive system symptoms
  • Unexplained injuries
  • Using healthcare services often

 

Digital abuse may be a new concept for some, and includes the use of technology (such as texting, email and social networking) to bully, harass, stalk, or intimidate a dating partner.  Digital abuse may look like this:

  • Telling a partner who they can or can’t be friends with on Facebook or other sites.
  • Using social media sites to keep constant tabs on a partner.
  • Pressures to send explicit photos or videos via technology.
  • Sends threats, insulting messages, or unwanted explicit pictures using emails, Facebook messages, tweets, and other online messages.
  • Constant text messaging that makes a partner feel as though they can’t be separated from their phone for fear of punishment.

From http://www.loveisrespect.org/is-this-abuse/types-of-abuse/what-is-digital-abuse, 2014.

 

Emotional and verbal abuse, which is common in dating violence, may appear in the following ways:

  • Calling the partner names and putting them down.
  • Yelling and screaming.
  • Intentionally embarrassing them in public.
  • Preventing them from seeing or talking with friends and family.
  • Telling them what to do and wear.
  • Blaming the partner’s actions for the abusive or unhealthy behavior.
  • Threatening to commit suicide to keep a partner from breaking up with the abuser.
  • Threatening to harm a partner, their pet or people they care about.
  • Making them feel guilty or immature when they don’t consent to sexual activity.
  • Threatening to expose their secrets such as sexual orientation or immigration status.
  • Starting rumors about them.

From http://www.loveisrespect.org/is-this-abuse/types-of-abuse/what-is-emotional-verbal-abuse

Barriers to Leaving an Abusive Relationship
  • Isolation: from friends, family, community support, resources, as abusers often attempt to cut off survivors from support networks as a control mechanism
  • Children: desire to provide them with a two parent home, custody concerns (such as the abuser gaining custody)
  • Fear: if retaliation; of being killed; of the abuser hurting loves ones; of being stalked; of not being believed
  • Threats: the abusive partner may threaten to commit suicide and/or hurt their partner/children, other loved ones and/or pets, threaten to call INS, threaten to take the children
  • Economic necessity
  • Lack of resources or information about available resources
  • Shelters are full and there is no where to safely go
  • Hope/Belief that the partner will change
  • Failure of the criminal justice system: lack of prosecution, low sentences or penalties
  • Culture/religion/family pressure to stay
  • Shame and/or guilt – often because of societal victim blaming
  • Belief that the abuse is their fault – often because of societal victim blaming

From the Center for Relationship Abuse Awareness: http://stoprelationshipabuse.org/educated/barriers-to-leaving-an-abusive...

 

According to the Kansas Coalition against Sexual & Domestic Violence:

  • 296 Requests for Services were Unmet 
    Victims made more than 250 requests for services, including emergency shelter, transitional housing, and nonresidential services, that could not be provided because programs did not have the resources to provide these services. Financial assistance are no longer available for housing, legal representation, and transportation.
  • 28% of Housing Requests were Unmet 
    Emergency shelter and transitional housing continue to be the most urgent unmet needs with 83 requests unmet.

Programs were unable to provide services for many reasons:

  • 27% reported reduced government funding
  • 23% reported not enough staff
  • 19% reported cuts from private funding
  • 19% reported reduced individual donations

From 2013 Domestic Violence Counts: Kansas Summary found at http://nnedv.org/downloads/Census/DVCounts2013/State_Summaries/DVCounts1...

Intimate Partner Violence & College Students
  • Women between 18-24 are at the greatest risk for intimate partner violence.
  • The prevalence of dating violence among college students has been estimated from 10% - 50%. 

From www.justice.gov/ovw/responding-campus-sexual-assault

 

A College Dating Violence & Abuse Poll in 2011 revealed the following:

  • 43% of dating college women reported experiencing at least some violent & abusive dating behaviors (including physical, sexual, technology, verbal, and controlling abuse).
  • Physical abuse, sexual abuse, or threats of physical violence were reported by more than 1 out of every 5 college women.
  • Generally, college students are unsure or do not know how to help themselves or friends leave abusive relationships.
    • 38% of college students say they don’t know how to get help for themselves on campus if they are a victim of dating abuse.
    • More than half of college students say it is difficult to identify dating abuse.

From http://www.breakthecycle.org/dating-violence-research/college-dating-violence-and-abuse-poll, Poll results published September 14, 2011.

Obstacles for College Students
College students face many obstacles for accessing services that may help them escape an abusive relationship.
  • Students may feel isolated from their personal support networks and resources for help because the student is away from home for the first time.  This is especially true if the student is also from a different state or country.  (Break the Cycle, Inc. 2005)
  • They may have a small or limited social network due to the college campus atmosphere.
  • Students may fear their parents finding out and taking the student out of school.
  • Some students cannot afford supportive services.
  • Some students may not define their experience as abusive.
  • Many students may fear the assailant.  Often times, due to a somewhat isolated atmosphere of a college campus, it is easier for an assailant to stalk his or her partner.
  • Social networking sites provide easy access for perpetrators to control their partners.

The above information was taken with permission from the Sexual Assault Prevention & Awareness Center at the University of Michigan, “Dating and Domestic Violence on College Campuses,” at http://sapac.umich.edu/article/311


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