The toll of intimate partner violence on communities
|“Prevention shapes a world where no one would conceive of abusing or hurting anyone they love.”
(Texas Council on Family Violence)
We all strive to live in communities that are healthy and safe; where our families, friends, and neighbors can reach their fullest potential.
But the presence of intimate partner violence (IPV), or domestic violence, can alter this trajectory in lasting and impactful ways. IPV is a pattern of abusive behaviors – including physical, sexual, and psychological attacks as well as economic coercion – that adults and adolescents use against an intimate or dating partner. It is characterized by one partner’s attempts to control the other by use of a range of tactics.
The recent National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS) reveals that 20 people per minute in the United States are victims of physical violence by an intimate partner with 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men experiencing this violence at some point in their lifetime (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011). This survey also shows that victimization is impacting all types of people and communities, with a significant majority of people reporting that victimization started early, occurring before the age of 25. These trends in violence are far reaching, creating a ripple effect of social and health consequences beyond immediate injury and beyond just the individual or family unit.
Luckily, IPV is preventable. Across the nation and in your own community, there are deeply-rooted networks of community-based organizations, advocates, and activists working to make violence a thing of the past and to ensure bright and healthy futures for youth. This work builds on decades of public health, social justice, and advocacy movements in order to support comprehensive solutions to intimate partner violence. IPV prevention efforts seek to promote cultural and social norms that protect us from violence – like healthy relationships or family and community connectedness – and interrupt those that put us at risk for violence. The end result is safe, thriving communities where equality and respect are shared core values. But this type of change doesn’t just happen overnight. The work calls for new, innovative partnerships, saturated efforts, and coordinated community support. Everyone has a role to play in this change effort, and that’s exactly where you come in.