A pattern of abusive behaviors used to exert power and control over a current or former partner. It can include emotional, sexual, verbal or economic actions, or physical threats of violence. Acts may include any behaviors that intimidate, isolate, manipulate, humiliate, coerce, frighten, blame or hurt someone. It can happen to anyone, regardless of race, sexual orientation, age, education, religion, etc.
There is often a pattern or repeated cycle of violence, starting with the first instance of abuse.
General Pattern of Behavior:
- Tension Building: Relationship begins to get strained or tense between partners.
- Explosion: Outburst that includes verbal, emotional, or physical abuse.
- Honeymoon: Apologies where the abuser tries to re-connect with his/her partner by shifting the blame onto someone or something else.
Signs that it could be intimate partner violence:
- Constantly blames his/her boyfriend or girlfriend for everything, including his/her own abusive behavior/temper
- Makes mean and degrading comments about a partner’s appearance, beliefs or accomplishments
- Constantly checks the other person’s cell phone or email without permission
- Monitors where the partner is going, who he/she is going with and what he/she is doing
- Isolates the other partner from friends and family
- Controls money and time
- Shows extreme jealousy
- Loses his/her temper
- Physically and/or sexually assaults another
- Damages the other person’s property
The other person:
- Gives up things that are important to him/her
- Cancels plans with friends to appease the other person
- Becomes isolated from family or friends
- Worries about making his/her significant other angry
- Shows signs of physical abuse like bruises or cuts
- Feels embarrassed or ashamed about what is going on in his/her relationship
- Consistently makes excuses for his/her significant other’s behavior
Experiencing intimate partner violence can be a serious and frightening experience. The threat of repeated danger can be extremely upsetting. Here is a list of common feelings and reactions that survivors of intimate partner violence have reported:
- Difficulty concentrating, sleeping or remembering things