October is Intimate Partner Violence (IPV), more commonly known as domestic violence, awareness month. IPV is described as abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another (NCASV, 2022). This can include physical violence, sexual violence, threats, economic, and emotional/psychological abuse. Frequency and severity can vary dramatically.
IPV is a prevalent issue in every community, regardless of age, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, race, religion, or nationality. On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States (NCASV, 2022). If children are involved, the exposure to IPV can be distressing and lead to the development of symptoms related to anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress. Per the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCASV, 2022), 1 in 15 children are exposed to IPV each year, and roughly 90% of these children are eyewitnesses to this violence.
Anyone can be an abuser. There is not one typical, detectable personality trait of an abuser, however they often display common characteristics. Often times, an abuser denies the existence or minimizes the seriousness of the violence and its effect on the victim. An abuser often possesses low self-esteem and feels powerless, which is why they will exercise control over their partner and relationship. Abusers may be pleasant and charming between periods of violence and often viewed as a “kind person” to third party observers. Lastly, an abuser may blame their violence on circumstances such as stress, their partners behavior, a “bad day”, or on drug/alcohol use.
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCASV) highlights important red flags or warning signs of an abuser including:
Although you may not have control over an abuser’s abusive behavior, you can plan how you will respond to future incidents and how to seek safety and support. For access to a personalized safety plan, please copy and paste the following link into your web browser:
Throughout the month of October, we will be providing weekly blog posts on IPV as it is such a prevalent issue. We will dive deeper into subtopics, such as how IPV effects children and adolescents, as well as provide local community resources.
For anonymous, confidential help available 24/7, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY) now.