Relationship violence, also called domestic violence, dating violence, or intimate partner violence, is a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner.  It can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic or psychological actions or threats that influence another person.  This includes   behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt injure, or wound someone.  It knows no boundaries in regards to race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, or socio-economic status.

The American College Health Association surveyed over 90,000 college students in the spring of 2009.  The survey found:
  • 11% of the women and 8% of the men reported being in an emotionally abusive relationship within the last year.

  • 2% of the women and 2% of the men reported being in a physically abusive relationship within the last year

  • 2% of the women and 1% of the men reported being in a sexually abusive relationship within the last year

  • 35% of the women and 29% of the men reported that their intimate relationships within the last year were either traumatic or difficult to handle

Relationship violence can take many forms including:

Physical -- Inflicting or attempting to inflict physical pain

  • Slapping
  • Biting
  • Hair pulling
  • Hitting
  • Stabbing
  • Shooting
  • Spitting
  • Strangeling
  • Withholding access to medication or medical care
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Burning

Emotional -- Intended to undermine a person’s self image and sense of self worth.

  •  Name calling
  • Constant criticism
  • Belittling someone’s abilities and competency
  • Psychological --Involves controlling access to friends, family, school, or work.
  • Forced isolation
  • Intimidation
  • Threats
  • Blackmail
 Sexual --Any exploitive or coercive, non-consensual sexual contact
  • treating someone in a sexually derogatory manner
  • attacks on sexual parts of the body
  • marital or acquaintance rape
Economic --Attempts to make a person completely dependent on the abuser for money and economic survival.
  • Not allowing the person to have a job
  • Interfering with completion of school
  • Denying access to funds
  • Demanding that pay checks be turned over
  • Having to account for every penny
Spiritual --Using a person’s faith against them. 
  • Saying things like “God doesn’t love you.”
  • Using religious teachings or texts to control her/him
Social --Isolating the person from family and/or friends
  • Spreading rumors or using blackmail to control  a partner’s actions
  • Keeping the partner “in-check” by monitoring  cell phone or e-mail constantly or by using friends to keep tabs on her/him
  • Using religion/culture to control her/him