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What is Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) and How to Prevent It?

Feb 27,2022

Talking about sexual violence, a victim is not only abused outside the boundaries of his/her home. On the contrary, for most people, their homes and their partners become the biggest sexual threat for them. In the US, nearly 20 people are physically assaulted by an intimate partner. In addition to that, it is surprising to note that 1 in 10 women have been raped by an intimate partner. And, in 19% of domestic violence cases, the partner uses a weapon to assault the victim.

The statistics are not only sad but also startling to come across. Why is it that people still in some parts of the world are not safe in their own houses? Is there any explanation that can justify the obscene behavior of these perpetrators? Well, there is none. How is it that victims can protect themselves? In order to contest these questions, it is important to primarily understand what Intimate Partner Violence or IPV is.

Understanding Intimate Partner Violence (IPV)

Intimate Partner Violence, as the name suggests, is physical, emotional, sexual, mental, or psychological violent behavior that one goes through in a relationship. The prime reason why an intimate partner assaults another is to exercise control or dominate. Although anyone can be a victim of IPV, women are the ones adversely affected by experiencing violent behavior from the partner in a relationship.

IPV can be of several types:

Physical Violence: One of the most common types of IPV is physical harm by the dominant partner like slapping, beating, or even hitting with a weapon.

Emotional Violence: This is the most ignored type of IPV wherein the victim might not even recognize being harassed. Some forms of emotional violence include belittling, humiliating in front of others, insults, self-harm threats, etc.

Sexual Violence: Statistics suggest that 1 in 10 women have experienced rape from an intimate partner. Sexual violence constitutes forced sexual intercourse and other behaviors involving coercion.

In addition to the physical, emotional, and sexual violence, people also experience IPV in the forms of regular controlling behavior like restricting movements to certain places, keeping track of the activities, isolating the partner from acquaintances, etc.

Talking about Intimate Partner Violence, research suggests that often these different types of violent behaviors co-exist in victims experiencing violence. A study by WHO states that around 23 - 56% of women who reported being a victim of physical or sexual violence, experienced both the natures of IPV. It must additionally be kept in mind that Intimate Partner Violence can be experienced by anyone regardless of their age, gender, caste, color, or creed. Though the rates at which it affects different sections of society can vary, anyone can be a victim. As per research, around 45% of women facing IPV are below 25 years old. On the other hand, physically disabled women are 22% more at risk of becoming victims of IPV.

Signs You Might Be Going Through IPV 

Although identifying IPV signs is not difficult, some behaviors in our society have become common, which is why it is possible that a few disguised IPV signs can go ignored in several cases. Here are a few commonly neglected signs:

  • Making fun or humiliating with derogatory remarks in front of others

  • Not giving you the power to make your own decisions

  • Not allowing you to spend time with others

  • Coercive behavior

  • Intimidating or threatening emotionally

  • Keeping a track of your movements

  • Restricting you from doing the things that you love

  • Violent behavior

Preventing Intimate Partner Violence

The current rates of violence from an intimate partner clearly signify the requirement of comprehensive and effective approaches from the sides of both the governments and the citizens. A few strategies and measures that can be undertaken to prevent IPV can be:

  • Education: A victim is most often a person who lacks knowledge and information. To avoid IPV, it is of crucial importance to provide education to people regarding their rights and laws available for their help. Special campaigns and awareness programs at places like schools, institutes, localities, etc. can be organized to achieve the primal motive of combating IPV. In addition to that, people should have awareness of inappropriate couple behavior concerning emotional, sexual, and mental spheres.

  • Reforms: To prevent IPV, required reforms should also be made to the prevailing system. The governments should additionally strengthen civil rights concerning divorce, child support, and property. Laws regarding marital rape and coercive behavior from a partner should be expanded. Not only is the strengthening of the laws crucial, but also their implementation. The existing discrimination in the courts should also be avoided in order to offer appropriate support to the victims of assaults. 

  • Women empowerment: To reduce violence against females, it is important to come up with measures and approaches that support women empowerment eliminating gender inequality. Males of the society should be appreciated to take part in campaigns and programs against IPV. Mass media can be utilized for changing the prevailing conditions of gender inequality in society.

  • Intervention programs: It is paramount to disrupt the development of IPV in the early stages. This can be avoided by adopting a series of measures like early childhood visits to parents' homes. Furthermore, programs concerning education on parenting behavior and couple relationships can also evict the future chances of experiencing Intimate Partner Violence.

Many victims of IPV choose silence for numerous reasons. However, there is no explanation to suffer this sexual, mental and physical pain. No one deserves to be assaulted. If you or anyone you know is going through any type of violence, don't stay silent, speak up, and seek help.