A Look at Intimate Partner Violence (IPV)


The world has spent the last few months dealing with an epidemic that has changed life for all of us. But there’s another, more silent epidemic that’s been infecting the world for much longer — domestic violence. After the coronavirus pandemic swept the world, layoffs, shut-downs and shelter-in-place orders led to people being stuck at home, and rates of domestic violence (now called Intimate Partner Violence or “IPV”) have gone up worldwide. 

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), intimate partner violence is defined as the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another. It includes physical violence, sexual violence, psychological violence, and emotional abuse. While the frequency and severity of domestic violence vary, the one constant component of domestic violence is this: one partner maintains control over the other.

A Silent Epidemic of Violence

I call IPV the “silent epidemic” because of how incredibly common it is. You may be aware that IPV happens, but most of us are not well informed on the scope of this issue. Sadly, it’s far too common. In fact, nearly 20 people are physically abused by an intimate partner in the U.S. every minute, making Intimate Partner Violence responsible for 15% of all violent crimes. That means that more than one in every ten violent crimes in this country happens in our homes, the place where we’re supposed to be the safest. And since we’re all restricted to our homes so much more these days, the opportunity for these incidents to occur has been on the rise. 

Despite the stereotypes about domestic violence, IPV occurs in all types of relationships and to all types of people. Both men and women are subjected to IPV, with 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men experiencing severe intimate partner physical violence, intimate partner contact sexual violence, and/or intimate partner stalking with impacts such as injury, fearfulness, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), use of victim services, contraction of sexually transmitted diseases, etc.

It’s Big in Texas

Here in Texas, the issue is even more severe. Statistics from previous years show that 34.5% of Texas women and 35.1% of Texas men experience intimate partner physical violence, intimate partner rape and/or intimate partner stalking in their lifetimes. That’s more than a third of all Texas citizens!

Sadly, the COVID-19 epidemic has only made situations worse for many IPV survivors across the world. When China first went into full lockdown to combat the spread of the virus, people who called their abuse support lines were told “We can come to your place after the crisis.” In Spain, the emergency number for domestic violence received 18% more calls in the first two weeks of lockdown than in the same period a month earlier. In France, the French police reported a nationwide spike of about 30% in domestic violence. In Great Britain, some regions experienced abuse reports rising by about 20% in just the first week of lockdown. Due to the risk of spreading the infection, many shelters around the world were no longer able to take in IPV survivors. Italy, Spain, France and Great Britain all passed ordinances to repurpose empty hotel rooms into makeshift shelters for those that need to get out of their violent homes. In the U.S., we saw similar spikes in reports all over the country.

When Isolation Becomes a Weapon

Troublingly, however, some cities saw a reduction in calls for help. They speculate that this is because people stuck at home with their abusers couldn’t get the few minutes of peace and solitude needed to reach out. Isolation is one of the most effective weapons in the abuser’s arsenal. Separating the victim from their loved ones is often the most effective way for an abuser to ensure control because their victim is unable to get help or escape. 

But, survivors need to know that, even in the midst of a global pandemic, help is available. U.S. shelters are open for survivors to escape to. For anonymous, confidential help that’s available 24/7, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY). NCADV also offers resources and helps to find local shelters from their website at https://ncadv.org

Here in Dallas, we have several resources for survivors in the community:

Genesis Women’s Shelter & Support

214-946-HELP (4357)

Mosaic Family Services 

24-Hour Mosaic House Hotline: 214-823-4434 

24-Hour Mosaic Trafficking Hotline: 214-823-1911

The Family Place 

24-Hour Crisis Hotline 214-941-1991

All of these places are open and ready to help. In addition, several of our counselors here at Lifeologie Oak Cliff have experience supporting survivors of IPV. Help is only a phone call away. You can reach us at 972-590-8030 or through our website. Don’t wait to call or book online.

 

About Lifeologie

Lifeologie Counseling was founded in 2000 with one goal in mind — to bring a fresh, innovative approach to the everyday problems of life. Creative solutions to stuck problems®. With our unique multi-specialty, collaborative approach, Lifeologie Counseling helps individuals and families heal their wounds and break out of old, unhealthy patterns.