Defining Intimate Partner Violence


The issues of violence as a threat to many individuals’ mental, physical, and emotional well-being, is broadly discussed by researchers. However, there exist multiple definitions of the term, as well as diverse interpretations of the phenomenon. Due to the complexity of the nature of violence and its various manifestations among different population representatives, it is either generalized or misinterpreted by limitation only to men’s abuse of women.

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The problem of intimate partner violence consists of many factors, thus needs to be resolved from many different perspectives. Intimate partner abuse is a widespread social concern that imposes severe danger to people’s quality of life. It is vital to identify the complex nature of the problem by dividing its types and the reasons for the occurrence to develop effective preventative interventions capable of eliminating intimate partner violence as a threat.

Intimate Partner Violence Term Identification

The term “intimate partner violence” proves to be a broad description of the complex issue of interpersonal abuse. To define the term, it is a repeated violent behavior directed at a partner in relationships that is manifested in the form of physical, sexual, emotional, and psychological abuse and humiliation that causes harm to the victim. In many cases, when discussing intimate partner violence, the researchers refer to sexual abuse against women in heterosexual couples (Bagwell-Gray et al. 1).

However, it is relevant to suggest that this threat exists outside the sexual dimension and embraces psychological pressure, emotional abuse, humiliation which might exist not only between spouses but also between siblings, young dating couples, or family members. That is why there exists a need to use more specific terminology capable of addressing narrower areas of violence manifestation.

Violence Toward a Family Member

Family member abuse is one of the issues that impose a significant array of outcomes in the form of psychological traumatization. One of its kinds is sibling violence (SV) which is recognized as a typical form of family abuse that needs to be raised awareness of (Khan 498). According to Khan, “numerous studies report a high frequency of SV victimization during childhood” (499). This type of abuse is different from the one identified as intimate partner abuse due to the forms of their manifestation. When intimate partner violence might usually incorporate sexual abuse, SV includes minor or severe physical injuries or psychological pressure resulting in diverse behavioral disorders (Khan 500-501). Thus, different types of abuse should be defined differently, with the appropriate application of the risk factors and forms of violence.

Partner Violence on College Campuses

The problem of partner violence occurs to be one of the most significant issues among young people in educational institutions across the country. The highest level of incidents in this regard is detected to be sexual assaults committed against women rather than any other form of violence. The statistics data say that “one-in-four women” has been “sexually victimized during their college years” (Schwarz et al. 45). Within the discussion of rape culture as a normalized offensive sexual behavior against women, date rape is the most observed issue. Emotional or psychological violence is not usually taken into account.

Moreover, according to the idea of the rape culture concept, most victims are responsible for being raped “if they had consumed alcohol or drugs prior to or during the assault” (Schwarz et al. 46). That is why the majority of sexual assault cases on college campuses are not reported to the appropriate bodies, and the problem remains unresolved leading to severe adverse outcomes.

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Preventative Measures for Educational Institutions

Given the severity and high occurrence level of violence victimization at educational institutions, there is an urgent need to raise awareness of the issue and implement some preventative measures to minimize the harm. Schools have to develop a system of legal support to ensure the handling of abuse accusations. It is essential to develop programs addressing the diverse forms of violence, their threatening outcomes, and forms of struggling with them.

Such programs might include training courses, social discussions, class presentations, literature publications aimed at problem disclosure. The educators should raise discussions on the issue among students of different ages to prevent partner violence. Due to the concealed nature of the problem, the cases of abuse are difficult to identify. The system of preventative measures will encourage “unacknowledged victims” to recognize their problems and be able to report a case of assault and find support (Schwarz et al. 47). Therefore, a team of well-trained professionals should be employed specifically to work with violence victims.


In conclusion, the majority of researchers discuss the issue of intimate partner violence in isolation from such forms of assault as sibling violence, family member abuse, or date abuse. When defining the problem, it is essential to underline the complexity of its manifestation forms which might result not only in sexual assaults but also in psychological pressure or physical violence. Also, rape culture existing on college campuses imposes a significant threat to young people’s mental health due to its secluded manifestation.

Many victims do not report a case of assault or even do not realize it has been committed because of substance abuse that is also an issue among students. That is why it is vital to implement decisive preventative measures capable of stopping violence victimization among students and ensure support and protection for those who were traumatized.

Works Cited

Bagwell-Gray, Meredith E., et al. “Intimate Partner Sexual Violence: A Review of Terms, Definitions, and Prevalence.” Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, vol. 16, no. 3, 2015, pp. 1-20.

Khan, Roxanne. “Sibling Violence: Validating a Two­Factor Model of Severity in Nonoffender Populations.” Psychology of Violence, vol. 7, no. 4, 2017, pp. 498­507.

Schwarz, Jill, et al. “Sexual Assault on College Campuses: Substance Use, Victim Status Awareness, and Barriers to Reporting.” Building Healthy Academic Communities Journal, vol. 1, no. 2, 2017, pp. 45-60.

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