Interpersonal Violence

Interpersonal violence (or dating/domestic violence, relationship abuse, intimate partner abuse) is any behavior within an intimate relationship that causes physical, psychological, or sexual harm to those in the relationship. Violence is considered the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actually, against another person that results in a high likelihood of resulting in injury and/or psychological harm or death.

Does interpersonal violence have to be physical abuse?

No, interpersonal violence includes physical, sexual, emotional, verbal, or financial abuse. It is still abuse even if the incident(s) seemed minor or if the incident(s) occurred only one or two times.

What are some warning signs for potential violence in partners?

  • Unknown past relationships
  • Uses derogatory language when talking about other sexes, past partners
  • Need for control or gets angry when things do not go their way
  • Radical mood changes
  • Acts differently around others
  • Possessive
  • Jealous
  • Isolates you from friends/family
  • Constantly asks/has to know where you are/what you are doing/who you are with
  • Lacks accountability for own actions

What are some warning signs that a person is in an abusive relationship?

  • Does your partner tease you in a hurtful way?
  • Does your partner call you hurtful names?
  • Does your partner act jealous of you spending time with your friends, family, or others or coerces you into not spending time with others?
  • Do you frequently have to check in with your partner?
  • Have you lost friends because of your partner?
  • Does your partner get angry about or make you change your clothes, hair, shoes, etc.?
  • Does your partner insist on knowing who you are talking on the phone with, check your call log, or check your texts?
  • Does your partner read your emails or check your social media accounts?
  • Does your partner have a bad temper or get angry so easily that you feel like you are “walking on eggshells.”
  • Does your partner threaten to hurt you?
  • Does your partner force you to have sex when you do not want to?
  • Does your partner destroy your belongings?
  • Does your partner humiliate or yell at you?
  • Does your partner criticize you and put you down?
  • Does your partner ignore or put down your opinions or accomplishments?
  • Does your partner threaten to kill themselves if you leave?
  • Does your partner ever strike you with their hands, feet, an object, or a weapon?
  • Has your partner ever given you a visible injury?

Does abuse happen in LGBTQ relationships?

Interpersonal violence does not just happen in heterosexual relationships. In fact, the rate of individuals experiencing relationship violence (1 in 4) is comparable among LGBTQ and straight communities (The Network la Red). By and large, the warning signs of abuse in relationships are the same no matter how a person identifies. However, there are certain tactics of abuse that are more relevant to LGBTQ communities and unique barriers that LGBTQ individuals face when seeking help for IPV.

For more information on interpersonal violence among the LGBTQ community, please see the following resources:

If you are concerned for yourself or a friend, please call the Crisis Counselors at the Sexual Assault Response and Prevention Center any time of day at (617) 353-7277. Our services are free and confidential. We can help. You are not alone.