According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the term “intimate partner violence” (IPV) describes physical, sexual, or psychological harm by a current or former partner or spouse. This type of violence can occur among heterosexual or same-sex couples and does not require sexual intimacy.
There are various forms of IPV:
- Physical – your partner may threaten you with a weapon, become physically violent after substance use or may destroy things that belong to you.
- Sexual – your partner may force you to have sex, hurt you sexually, or threaten to rape you.
- Psychological/Emotional – your partner may say things to you that are insulting, degrading, critical or cause you to be afraid. Your partner may be jealous if you spend time with friends, blame you for his or her actions, be accusatory, trace your phone calls or follow you when you’re not at home.
IPV is never acceptable behavior, even if it’s an isolated incident. If your partner is harming you, it’s time to seek assistance and support.
In Frederick County, Heartly House is a safe haven for victims of this type of abuse and has been serving the community for more than 30 years. Confidential services include a 24-hour hotline, emergency shelter, individual and group counseling, victim advocate services and legal representation, medical advocacy services for victims of sexual assault, abuser intervention groups and transitional housing. You can reach Heartly House at 301-662-8800.
The Frederick County Sheriff’s Department also has information on how to report a crime, peace and protective orders, and the VINE system, which allows registered users to check on a offender’s status 24/7.
If you are being abused, it is very important to design a safety plan for yourself. The National Domestic Violence Hotline can help you develop a safety plan, including how to keep yourself safe, how to prepare to leave, how to get out and what to do after you’ve left your abuser.
According to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS), conducted in 2010, intimate partner violence, stalking and rape are widespread throughout the United States and pose serious public health issues. The survey found more than 12 million people had experienced IPV alone. This fact sheet (PDF) describes the key findings of the NISVS and outlines some opportunities for prevention and action.