Intimate partner violence (IPV) is violence that includes “physical violence, sexual violence, stalking and psychological aggression (including coercive tactics) by a current or former intimate partner” (Breiding, Basile, Smith, Black, Mahendra, 2015). It can also include financial manipulation (Goldenberg, Stephenson, Freeland, Finneran, Hadley, 2016). Intimate partner violence is a term that has developed to encompass the expanding knowledge of the different types of relationships that can be influenced by violent partners. The more well known term, domestic violence, has begun to fall out of favor due to its association with the archetypal image of a married woman experiencing physical violence at the hands of her husband. Intimate partner violence is a public health risk that is linked to increased physical and mental health trauma (Goldenberg et al., 2016). Research has shown that violence within relationships can occur “regardless of sexual orientation, marital status, or gender” (Wallace, 2015). Intimate partner violence occurs across all racial, ethnic, religious, socioeconomic, and cultural groups (Loue, 2001, Chapter 1). It is an issue that can, in essence, touch upon the life of anyone.
Social consequences of IPV include stigmatization, mental health issues, and child abuse. In a study conducted in Japan, Amemiya and Fujiwara (2016) discovered a positive correlation between pregnant victims of verbal IPV and the likelihood of maternal abuse of infants. IPV has also been linked to higher occurrences of depression, suicide, PTSD, low self-esteem, substance abuse, and anxiety, amongst other psychological issues, for both heterosexual and homosexual victims (Cubellis, Peterson, Henninger, Lee, 2016) (Mason, Lewis, Gargurevich, Kelley, 2016) (Karakurt, Smith, Whiting, 2014). Adolescent females exposed to IPV in childhood are more likely to expect a link between relationships and violence (Lee, Begun, DePrince, Chu 2016).
The first of my recommendations would be that education regarding the warning signs of intimate partner violence be distributed more aggressively throughout society. There is no institution that could not benefit from being better informed about prevention, education, and support services around IPV. It is also important that the educational tools be adaptable so victims, and potential victims, of differentiating backgrounds can all receive the same quality of services and support. As there is ample research now that demonstrates a victim of relationship violence can be male, female, homosexual, heterosexual, transgendered, rich, poor, single, married, divorced, etc. the education needs to be able to reflect the needs of the each type of victim and how institutions that serve different types of populations can still provide the correct assistance. Another recommendation would be the continue to pursue an end to the stigma of being a victim of IPV. Many of the studies listed in the previous pages returned with evidence that there continues to be a stigma, no matter the type of victim, associated with having suffered IPV. Having events or televised programs in which victims of IPV from all walks of life (i.e. an Asian gay male, a masculine heterosexual female, an African-American heterosexual male) can share their stories would provide the opportunity for others to learn how IPV affects so many. By promoting education and understanding within American society and its multitude of different communities, the stigma of being identified as being a victim of IPV can continue to decline and, hopefully, disappear completely.