Intimate Partner Violence

What is it?

Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) is defined as “any behaviour within an intimate relationship that causes physical, psychological, or sexual harm to those in the relationship.”

It can occur in many forms* including:

  • physical violence (hitting, kicking, beating)
  • sexual violence (forced or coerced sexual activity)
  • emotional/psychological abuse (belittling, intimidation, threats, humiliation)
    • threatening to harm themselves if you don’t comply with their request
  • control, including:
    • monitoring whereabouts,
    • accessing or monitoring personal e-mail or social media accounts;
    • controlling access to resources e.g. money
  • isolating a person from family and friends
    • restricting social interaction with family and friends
    • belittling or lying about family and friends and their “motives” in the relationship

Sometimes certain behaviours are brushed off as minor but IPV can occur subtly and can develop slowly over time. Sometimes survivors struggle to label what they are or have experienced as intimate partner violence because they only really start to see the patterns of violence emerge when the look back on the experience as a whole.

Important Questions to Ask Yourself:

  • Are you experiencing any of the behaviours described above?
  • Do you often feel like you are “walking on eggshells” around your partner? (i.e. do you usually feel tense and worried about how your partner will react?)
  • Does your partner disregard your wishes, needs, and/or feelings?
  • Does your partner deny responsibility or blame you for their behaviour?
  • Do you feel diminished, powerless, or withdrawn in your relationship with your partner?
  • Do you make excuses for your partner to family and friends or hide your partner’s behaviour from family and friends?

Safety Tips:

  • Trust your instincts.  You are the expert in your relationship.
  • Always have your cell phone charged and on your person.
  • Tell someone what is happening – there are resources available to you both at the university and in the community.
  • Pre-program 911 onto your cell phone.  911 works everywhere there is a network, even if you don’t have a SIM card in the phone.
  • Every relationship is different and safety planning should be customized to your particular situation – please contact the Community Safety Office (416-978-1485)to create a safety plan or call the Assaulted Women’s helpline (416-863-0511).

If something feels not quite right, it’s worth looking into!  Give the Community Safety Office a call at 416-978-1485 if you’d like to schedule some time to discuss feeling unsafe or at risk of harm in your relationship.

The Power and Control Wheel
Understanding the Power and Control Wheel – videos