Intimate partner violence (IPV), which is often called domestic violence, occurs when a current or former intimate partner (e.g., boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse) harms, threatens to harm, or stalks their partner. While domestic violence does include IPV, it refers to any violence that occurs in the home. Domestic violence includes child abuse, elder abuse, and other forms of interpersonal abuse. IPV refers specifically to violence between intimate partners. IPV can happen to anyone. It can happen no matter your age, income, race, ethnicity, culture, religion, or disability.
IPV is prevalent among women Veterans, active duty women, and women living in the U.S. overall. One third of women Veterans experience IPV in their lifetime compared to less than a quarter of civilian women. Women who have experienced IPV may have short and long-term health effects. They may experience short-term health effects such as physical injuries like stab wounds or broken bones or sexually transmitted infections. They may also experience long-term health effects such as obesity; problems with their heart, stomach, or digestive systems; difficulties with pregnancy or unwanted pregnancies; chronic pain; and other stress-related difficulties such as headaches. They may also experience mental health issues such as depression, substance abuse, posttraumatic stress disorder, and thoughts of hurting themselves.
Emotional IPV is when a person tries to hurt his/her partner’s self-worth. It is common for emotional IPV to begin before the other types of IPV. Examples include:
• Name calling
• Controlling your money or spending
• Keeping you from friends and family
• Putting you down
• Controlling where you go/what you wear
• Trying to manipulate your actions
• Embarrassing you in front of others to prove a point
• Saying you are “crazy” or “worthless”
Physical IPV is when a person tries to hurt his/her partner by using physical force. Examples include:
• Using force in any way that intimidates
Sexual IPV occurs when a person forces or tries to convince his/her partner to engage in sexual activities when the other partner does not want to or is unable to consent. Someone may not be able to consent if they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Stalking occurs when a person frequently or continuously contacts, follows, talks to, or sends things to his/her partner when the other partner does not want them to do these things. Examples include:
• Knowing your daily schedule
• Showing up at places you go
• Sending mail, e-mail, texts, or pictures
• Calling or texting repeatedly
• Contacting you or posting about you on social networking sites (such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)
• Creating a website about you
• Sending gifts
• Tracking you via GPS devices in your phone or car
• Gaining access to your email or social networking accounts
• Using force in any way that intimidates
• Monitoring your online behavior or cell phone communication (texts and phone calls)
Threats of violence are ways to cause fear through words, actions, or weapons to harm the partner, their possessions, their pets, or their loved ones.
Ask yourself these questions:
Has your partner:
• Emotionally mistreated you (e.g., called you names, tried to embarrass, or intimidate you)?
• Tried to control where you go, who you talk to, what you can wear, or what you can do?
• Told you that you are “crazy” or “worthless"?
• Stolen or tried to control your money?
• Looked at you or acted in ways that scare you?
• Threatened you, your possessions, your pets, or loved ones?
• Physically hurt you or tried to hurt you?
• Forced you to engage in sexual activities?
• Threatened to commit suicide or kill you if you left them?
If you answer yes to any of the questions above or identify with any of the behaviors detailed above, VA can help.
Some people experience only one of these forms of violence while others may experience more than one. IPV can be a single event or can last for many years. No matter what, no one deserves to be treated this way.
• If you are in immediate danger, call 9-1-1.
• Contact the National Domestic Hotline at 1-800-799- SAFE (7233) or on the web at http://www.thehotline.org for 24-hour confidential support, local referrals, safety planning, housing options, and legal resources.
• Contact your local VA hospital and ask to speak with the Women Veterans Program Manager. Find your local VA hospital here.
• Develop a safety plan here.
• VA employees who are impacted by IPV can contact their Employee Assistance Program or visit it on the web at http://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/worklife/employee-assistance-programs/.
• Talk to your primary care provider, who can refer you to a specialist if needed.
• Check out Futures Without Violence at http://www.futureswithoutviolence.org/section/our_work/women_and_girls to learn about educational programs designed to end violence against women.
• An IPV Webinar training conference is scheduled for October 9. For information on how to attend, visit http://conferences.bwjp.org/webconferencedetail.aspx?confid=350.
• An extensive IPV brochure will be available later this year.
Intimate Partner Violence Poster (685 KB, PDF)
Dimensions: 8" x 11"
Intimate Partner Violence Poster
(1.5 MB, PDF)
Dimensions: 11" x 17"
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