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Intimate partner violence

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Title: Intimate partner violence  
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Subject: Domestic violence, Domestic violence against men, Conflict tactics scale, Domestic violence in the United States, Sin by Silence
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Intimate partner violence

Intimate partner violence is domestic violence against a spouse or other intimate partner. The most extreme type of violence is "intimate terrorism" where one person is violent and controlling, generally perpetrated by men against women,[1] and most likely of the types of violence to require medical services and shelter. Survivors of intimate terrorism may engage in "violence resistance" as the result of the violence; violence resistance is likely to be infrequent and be conducted by women.[1]

The most common form of intimate partner violence is "situational couple violence" which is conducted by individuals of both genders, nearly equally. When both partners of a couple engage in controlling and violent behavior it is called mutual violent control.


Intimate partner violence occurs between two people in an intimate relationship. It may occur between heterosexual or homosexual couples and victims are men and women. Couples may be dating, cohabiting or married and violence can occur in or outside of the home.[1]

Studies by the 1990s showed that both men and women could be abusers or victims of domestic violence.[nb 1] Women are more likely to act violently in retaliation or self-defense one time and with less violence than that by men; Men are more likely to commit long-term cycles of abuse. As a result, the issue is not solely about violence against women, but about "violent people" or "violent couples." It also led to further research to better understand the situations within violent homes.[2]

The [3]

Region Percent
Global 30%
Africa 36.6%
Eastern Mediterranean 37%
European 25.4%
South-East Asia 37.7%
The Americas 29.8%
Western Pacific 24.6%

Reciprocal and non-reciprocal

The United States Centers for Disease Control, divide domestic violence into two types: reciprocal, in which both partners are violent, and non-reciprocal violence, in which one partner is violent.[4][5]


Michael Johnson argues for four major types of intimate partner violence, which is supported by subsequent research and evaluation, as well as independent researchers.[6][7][8]

Distinctions are made among the types of violence, motives of perpetrators, and the social and cultural context based upon patterns across numerous incidents and motives of the perpetrator.[6] Types of violence identified by Johnson:

Intimate terrorism

Intimate terroristm violence against women
by an intimate partner study
by the [9]
Location Physical
Bangladesh city 40 37 53
Bangladesh province 42 50 62
Brazil city 27 10 29
Brazil province 34 14 37
Ethiopia 49 59 71
Japan city 13 6 15
Namibia city 31 16 36
Peru 61 47 69
Peru city 49 23 51
Samoa 41 20 46
Serbia and Montenegro city 23 6 24
Thailand city 23 30 41
Thailand province 34 29 47
Tanzania city 33 23 41
Tanzania province 47 31 56

Intimate terrorism (IT) occurs when one partner in a relationship uses coercive control and power over the other partner, using threats, intimidation, and isolation. In such cases, "[o]ne partner, usually a man, controls virtually every aspect of the victim's, usually a woman's, life." Michael P. Johnson reported in 2001 that 97% of the perpetrators of intimate terrorism were men.[1] Using Johnson's typology, other studies have found that intimate terrorism is more often perpetrated by women or not gendered at all.[10]

Intimate partner violence may involve sexual, sadistic control,[1] economic, physical,[11] emotional and psychological abuse. Intimate terrorism is more likely to escalate over time, not as likely to be mutual, and more likely to involve serious injury.[6] Because this type of violence is most likely to be extreme, it is survivors of intimate terrorism that are most likely to require medical services and the safety of shelters.[1]

Abusers are more likely to have witnessed abuse as children than those who engage in situational couple violence.[12]

IT batterers include two types: "Generally-violent-antisocial" and "dysphoric-borderline". The first type includes people with general psychopathic and violent tendencies. The second type are people who are emotionally dependent on the relationship.[13] Violence by a person against their intimate partner is often done as a way for controlling their partner, even if this kind of violence is not the most frequent.[14][15] Support for this typology has been found in subsequent evaluations.[16][17]

Violent resistance

Violent resistance (VR), sometimes thought of as "self-defense", is violence perpetrated by victims against their partners who have exerted intimate terrorism against them.[6] Within relationships of intimate terrorism and violent resistance, 96% of the violent resisters are women.[1]

Situational couple violence

Situational couple violence (SCV),[1] also called common couple violence (CCV), is not connected to general control behavior, but arises in a single argument where one or both partners physically lash out at the other.[1][6] This is the most common form of intimate partner violence, particularly in the western world and among young couples, and involves members of both sexes nearly equally. Among college students, Johnson found it to be perpetrated about 44% of the time by women and 56% of the time by men.[1]

It is a relationship dynamic "in which conflict occasionally gets ‘out of hand,’ leading usually to ‘minor’ forms of violence, and rarely escalates into serious or life-threatening forms of violence.”[18]

In situational couple violence, acts of violence by men and women occur at fairly equal rates, with rare occurrences of injury, and are not committed in an attempt to control a partner.[19] It is estimated that approximately 50% of couples experience SCV in their relationships.[19]


Situational couple violence is characterized by a few main traits:

  • Mode: Mildly aggressive behavior such as throwing objects, ranging to more aggressive behaviors such as pushing, slapping, biting, hitting, scratching, or hair pulling.
  • Frequency:Less frequent than PT, occurring once in a while during an argument or disagreement.
  • Severity: Milder than PT, very rarely escalates to more severe abuse, generally does not include injuries that were serious or that caused one partner to be admitted to a hospital.
  • Mutuality:Violence may be equally expressed by either partner in the relationship.
  • Intent:Occurs out of anger or frustration rather than as a means of gaining control and power over the other partner.

Further research

In 2004, Graham-Kevan & Archer[20] were able to partly replicate Johnson's hypothesis. However, they identified three subtypes of domestic violence rather than Johnson's two: CCV; what they termed "intimate terrorism," (IT) noting that women and men can both use violence to control non-violent mates; and "mutual violent control" where both partners use IT-levels of violence. However, Graham-Kevan & Archer also stressed that their and Johnson's research sampling methods should be regarded as preliminary: their subjects were relatively few in number and were drawn from known crime victims or battered women, and thus may not be representative of randomized general population samples. Moreover, Graham-Kevan & Archer argued that, by relying entirely on analysis of data from one partner in an abusive relationship, Johnson's study was incomplete and skewed due to reporting bias.

In 1998, Milardo[21] reported that women are more likely to initiate CCV in common dating scenarios (83% of female subjects were "at least somewhat likely" to use mild to moderate violence, compared to 53% of men). Furthermore, men reported higher rates of fearing they would suffer CCV (70% of men vs. 50% of women). When questioned about the use of more serious violence analogous to Patriarchal or Intimate Terrorism, Milardo found that women were again more likely to approve of its use against a partner. However, women had higher rates of fearing they would be seriously battered.

Mutual violent control

Mutual violent control (MVC) is rare type of intimate partner violence occurring when both partners act in a violent manner, battling for control.[6]

Sexual violence

Sexual violence by intimate partners varies by country and can reach as high as 25% of the women having been subject to forced sex. In some countries forced sex, or marital rape, often occurs with other forms of domestic violence, particularly physical abuse.


  1. ^ Gelles 1980, 1989; McNeely and Mann 1990; Shupe, Stacey, and Hazelwood 1987; Straus 1973; Straus, Gelles, and Steinmetz 1980; Steinmetz 1977/1978.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Tasha R. Howe. Marriages and Families in the 21st Century: A Bioecological Approach. John Wiley & Sons; 29 August 2011. ISBN 978-1-4051-9501-0. p. 370.
  2. ^ Marilyn Fernandez. Restorative Justice for Domestic Violence Victims: An Integrated Approach to Their Hunger for Healing. Lexington Books; 2 June 2010. ISBN 978-0-7391-4806-8. pp. 2-3.
  3. ^ Global and regional estimates of violence against women: prevalence and health effects of intimate partner violence and non-partner sexual violence. World Health Organization. 2013. ISBN 978-92-4-156462-5. p. 16, 18
  4. ^ Whitaker, D. J.; Haileyesus, T.; Swahn, M.; Saltzman, L. S. (2007). "Differences in Frequency of Violence and Reported Injury Between Relationships with Reciprocal and Nonreciprocal Intimate Partner Violence". American Journal of Public Health 97 (5): 941–947.  
  5. ^ Straus, Murray A (23 May 2006). "Trends In Intimate Violence Intervention" (PDF). New York University. Retrieved 30 April 2012. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f Paula Nicolson. Domestic Violence and Psychology: A Critical Perspective. Taylor & Francis; 14 December 2010. ISBN 978-1-136-69861-3. p. 40.
  7. ^ Graham-Kevan, N.; Archer, J. (2003). "Intimate terrorism and common couple violence. A test of Johnson's predictions in four British samples". Journal of interpersonal violence 18 (11): 1247–1270.  
  8. ^ Rosen, K. H.; Stith, S. M.; Few, A. L.; Daly, K. L.; Tritt, D. R. (2005). "A qualitative investigation of Johnson's typology". Violence and victims 20 (3): 319–334.  
  9. ^ Tasha R. Howe. Marriages and Families in the 21st Century: A Bioecological Approach. John Wiley & Sons; 29 August 2011. ISBN 978-1-4051-9501-0. p. 374.
  10. ^ "Testing predictions from the male control theory of men's partner violence". Aggressive Behavior. July 22, 2013. Retrieved December 7, 2014. 
  11. ^ Janel M. Leone, Michael P. Johnson, and Catherine L. Cohan, "Victim Help Seeking: Differences between Intimate Terrorism and Situational Couple Violence," Family Relations 56, no. 5 (2007)
  12. ^ Marilyn Fernandez. Restorative Justice for Domestic Violence Victims: An Integrated Approach to Their Hunger for Healing. Lexington Books; 2 June 2010. ISBN 978-0-7391-4806-8. p. 5.
  13. ^ Johnson, M. P.; Ferraro, K. J. (2000). "Research on Domestic Violence in the 1990s: Making Distinctions". Journal of Marriage and Family 62 (4): 948.  
  14. ^ LAROCHE Denis, Context and Consequences of Domestic Violence Against Men and Women in Canada in 2004 p.35. 2004
  15. ^ Jacobson, N. and J. Gottman (1998). When Men Batter Women: New Insights into Ending Abusive Relationships. Simon & Schuster.  
  16. ^ Hamberger, L. K.; Lohr, J. M.; Bonge, D.; Tolin, D. F. (1996). "A large sample empirical typology of male spouse abusers and its relationship to dimensions of abuse". Violence and victims 11 (4): 277–292.  
  17. ^ Holtzworth-Munroe, A.; Meehan, J. C.; Herron, K.; Rehman, U.; Stuart, G. L. (2000). "Testing the Holtzworth-Munroe and Stuart (1994) batterer typology". Journal of consulting and clinical psychology 68 (6): 1000–1019.  
  18. ^ Johnson, M. P., (1995). Patriarchal terrorism and common couple violence: Two forms of violence against women. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 57, 283–294.
  19. ^ a b Olson, L. N. (2002). Exploring Common Couple Violence in Heterosexual Romantic Relationships. Western Journal of Communication, 66, 104–125.
  20. ^
  21. ^ Milardo, Robert M. (1998) Gender asymmetry in common couple violence. Personal Relationships, Volume 5 Issue 4, Pages 423 - 438

Further reading

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