According to the CDC, Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) can be defined as violence or aggression in a relationship. This includes physical, sexual and emotional/psychological abuse. It also includes stalking. The reason I'm talking about this is because a lot of people have experienced IPV, whether it was through their own experience with a partner or watching their parents go through it in their relationships/marriages. It's something that shocked me when I saw the statistics of how common it was. Literally millions of people are affected by IPV. As a matter of fact, 20 people per minute are dealing with some form abuse in relationships right now. According to U.S. crime data, 1 in 6 homicides are victims killed by an intimate partner.
Below is a table showing the amount of men and women who experienced violence in their relationships at some point in their lifetime.
It's important to recognize that no one should think they have to deal with abuse from a partner. Being a victim of IPV can result in physical injuries, chronic pain, mental disorders, isolation from friends and family, substance abuse, and even death (homicide or suicide).
It's not always easy to recognize abuse in a relationship. Sometimes it's not consistent. Maybe a person is only abusive sometimes, but other days they seem sweet and caring. Maybe they're really manipulative and can convince their partner to stay. This is called the cycle of violence. Below is a picture that provides more detail.
A situation of violence in a relationship is worse when there's children involved, even if the children aren't being abused. Them being in that environment, whether they hear it and/or see it, can negatively impact them too. Children who grow up in an IPV environment can develop mental disorders like anxiety, depression, and PTSD. They may have issues sleeping and have nightmares because they're worried about the parent who's the victim or are worried about their own safety. They themselves could start being aggressive or have other behavioral problems and end up carrying that into adulthood. They could become abusive in their relationships as well because that's what they've learned.
It's hard for victims to get out of these relationships because there's manipulation and psychological abuse usually involved. It could also be because the victims are scared something worse will happen to them if they leave. But it's so important to leave those relationships and try to find safety because it might become fatal. Even if it never becomes fatal, the long term effects can make it difficult to live a happy life, whether the relationship ends or not. Any form of abuse should not be tolerated, no matter how much you're convinced it's love.
If you're in a relationship that has violence or aggression, you need to leave. You might think your partner can change or that you can help them, but it's not your responsibility to fix or help them, especially if they're putting your safety at risk! If you're scared or know someone who's scared to leave, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. For more tips, here's a really good article: https://www.helpguide.org/articles/abuse/getting-out-of-an-abusive-relationship.htm. It talks about how to protect yourself when getting out of an abusive relationship. Remember that you have options and that you deserve better than someone who's abusive. Always keep your best interest at heart. You should always feel safe in a loving relationship, otherwise it's not really love.