Intimate violence refers to experiences of abuse or aggression from a partner in a romantic relationship, marriage or dating life. It is an intentional pattern of violent or threatening behaviours that tend to escalate over time.
Some examples of intimate partner violence are:
Physical violence (hitting, kicking, restraining)
Sexual Violence (rape, sexual harassment, sexual coercion)
Emotional Violence (humiliation, gaslighting, threats, belittling)
Controlling behaviours (restricting finances, monitoring behaviours and movement, and isolating partner to minimise the opportunity of seeking help)
The type of abusers varies, although research indicates that people who are more prone to commit intimate violence are those who witness family violence, are victims of family violence themselves, are substance abusers or have a strong belief in gender stereotyping (e.g. that women need to obey their husbands no matter that). These people are more likely to commit intimate violence compared to those who have a secure sense of self.
Although the victims of intimate violence are predominantly females, there have been increasing cases of male partners being victims of intimate violence in recent years.
Survivors of intimate violence often experience extreme distress and the severity ranges according to the length of exposure and the availability of support and resource.
The reasons why some victims stay in an abusive relationship also varies. It is dependent on things like the level of support systems, a lack of financial resources, a misconception that their children should have a complete family and the fear of the unknown. The victim may also feel confused because the perpetrator manipulated the victim into believing that it is her (or his) fault that the perpetrator is acting violently. The victim may also have a false belief that things will get better during moments when the perpetrator acts remorseful and starts to treat the victim nicely. However, this usually occurs only for a short period of time before the violence resumes.
Indicators that a person may be in an abusive relationship include having a partner who is extremely jealous and possessive, stalking or monitoring the person, controlling who she or he can see or having erratic mood changes (for example, one moment the partner is loving and the next the partner angry).
Intimate violence affects the victims and their children who witness the violence. Survivors of intimate violence continue to experience nightmares, flashbacks, and fear of trusting others long after the abuse stop. Children of intimate violence often grow up unable to have a secure relationship and can become victims of intimate violence relationships.
Restoring Peace Counselling & Consultancy offers counselling and psychotherapy for survivors of intimate violence. Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or Whatsapp us at +65 8889 1848 for more information.
Victims who need help to file personal protection order (PPO) or resources to support you and your family to transit out from the violent household, may call: National Anti-Violence Helpline: 1800-777-0000 or PAVE 6555 0390 for support.
Keywords: intimate violence, abuse, counselling, therapy, peace