Module 4: Intimate Partner Violence


Usually, we think of an intimate partner as someone we are dating or in a committed relationship with. We think of our spouse as our intimate partner. An intimate partner is anyone you have a close, personal relationship with. You have an emotional connection, regular contact, and your relationship may be sexual. With this broad definition, an intimate partner can include a roommate or friend as well as boyfriends/girlfriends, exes, and spouses.

Violence refers to physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse. Violence also includes controlling behaviors such as isolating a person, restricting access to resources, and stalking. With IPV, the abuse is usually not limited to just one type of violence.


IPV is prevalent in our society occurring at high rates between men and women. According to the NSVRC, about 1 in 4 women and 1 in 10 men experienced contact sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner and reported an IPV-related impact during their lifetime. Stalking is a form of IPV. Nearly 1 in 6 women in the U.S. were victims of stalking at some point in their lifetime (NISVS, 2015)

Power and Control Wheel

The Power and Control Wheel provides us a fundamental understanding of IPV. It explains how an abuser will use different things to assert their power over the victim. The different categories include: coercion and threats, intimidation, emotional abuse, isolation, minimizing, denying, and blaming, using children, economic abuse, and male privilege. On the wheel, developed in the 1980s after a study of abused women, all the sections are equal. It is important to remember the context can look different for people of diverse backgrounds.

Ecological Model

The Ecological Model integrates many perspectives to understand how they intersect and lead to IPV. There are three parts of the model. First is the individual; what about the individual causes them to be abusive? Past abuse? Mental illness? Substance Abuse? Etc. The second part is the relationship. Is power equally distributed in the relationship? Is the relationship a loving one? What stressors are they dealing with, and how do they work together? Finally, the last section of the Ecological Model is community and societal. This includes socialization, social and economic status (impacted by the community they live in). All three of these areas contribute to why IPV happens.

  • Physical injury caused by physical abuse. Injuries can impact your ability to do your job or other day-to-day activities.

  • Chronic health problems. It has been proven that chronic health problems can occur from prolonged stress.

  • Mental health problems develop from abuse (any kind). These diagnoses can include: anxiety, depression, PTSD, eating disorders, and low self-esteem.

  • Sexual and reproductive health problems can occur. Pregnancy is an issue that can occur from sexual abuse. Beyond that, girls and young women need to worry about pregnancy complications. There is also STDs, UTIs, and in some cases, sterilization.

  • Death. Severe injury can result in death. Also, if the victim develops a chronic illness, it can also result in death.


I was familiar with some of this content from my other CJ and VCST classes as well as through my work with SAAFE House. I've seen the Leslie Morgan Steiner TedTalk several times, but I stop to listen to it every time it is assigned. Her message is important. Some of the theories overlap with educational theories and how we learn (which I find interesting). I'm familiar with the theories because I teach them to future teachers. Although this class is talking about family violence, the theories can also be applied to how children learn and what children are facing in their communities.

I enjoyed this module. Although some of the information was not new information, the videos provided different perspectives. The gaslighting video really stood out to me because we may not think of some of those statements as abusive. The other one was the one about domestic violence starting at home with how we are socialized. I just watched that for another class, but it really makes you think how treating boys and girls so differently can impact their futures.

I enjoyed making the PSA. I like making things in Canva, and I cannot wait to get to Infographic. I love infographics!

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