Common Issues faced by Veterans
What is IPV?
IPV refers specifically to violence and aggression between intimate partners. IPV can include physical, sexual or psychological abuse or stalking. Acts of IPV range in how often they occur or how violent they are. It can happen to women or men who have intimate relationships with women, men or both. It can happen no matter your age, income, race, ethnicity, culture, religion, or disability.
IPV includes, but is not limited to, any of the following:
- Physical violence: hitting, pushing, grabbing, biting, choking/strangulating, shaking, slapping, kicking, hair-pulling, restraining
- Sexual violence: attempted or actual sexual contact when the partner does not want to or is unable to consent (for example, when affected by alcohol or illness)
- Threats of physical or sexual abuse: ways to cause fear through words, looks, actions or weapons
- Psychological or emotional abuse: name calling, humiliating, putting you down, keeping you from friends and family, bullying, controlling where you go or what you wear
- Stalking: following, harassing, or unwanted contact that makes you feel afraid
Some people experience only one of these forms of violence while others experience many types of violence. IPV can be a single event or last for many years. No matter what, no one deserves to be treated this way.
What are some relationship red flags?
Relationships can be complicated in general. A relationship with IPV can be overwhelming and confusing. Sometimes it can be hard to know if you have experienced IPV. The following questions give some examples of unsafe behaviors that can happen in a relationship.
- Does your partner control all of the family income and budget?
- Control your work or your schooling?
- Does your partner keep you away from friends and family?
- Control you by questions and threats about what you do, where you go, and people you see?
- Does your partner put you down, or make you feel guilty or ashamed?
- Blame you for the abuse?
- Does your partner make or carry out threats to hurt your body or your feelings, or those of someone you love?
- Threaten to ruin your reputation?
- Threaten to take your children away?
- Does your partner scare you by breaking or destroying objects, or punching holes in walls?
- Hurting or threatening pets?
- Does your partner physically hurt you or try to hurt you?
- Does your partner force you to engage in sexual activities?
- Does your partner threaten to commit suicide or kill you if you leave the relationship?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, your health and safety may be at risk. Help is available. Take a look at the resources listed below and know that you can get help if and when you are ready.
How do I know when I am in a healthy relationship?
Some people who are in relationships with IPV may not have had much experience in safe, healthy relationships. They may not believe that healthy safe relationships actually exist. While no relationship is perfect, here are some behaviors that are commonly found in healthy relationships:
- Your partner supports your relationships with friends and family members.
- Your partner asks your opinion and respectfully listens to your answers.
- You and your partner can agree to disagree and resolve conflicts without fear of name calling, insults, manipulation, threats, or violence.
- Your partner accepts responsibility for his or her own mistakes, behavior, thoughts, or feelings and will offer sincere apologies and work to change accordingly.
- Your partner trusts you, is trustworthy and is someone you and your children feel safe with.
- You share in the decision making, the responsibility of family budgeting, and sharing the family resources to benefit all family members.
If you find that you would like to build or increase these behaviors in your current and future relationships, you may consider consulting with a health care professional about how to find support in doing so.
Information provided by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs
Women Veterans Healthcare gives information about help for women Veterans who experienced IPV.
domesticshelters.org offers a searchable directory of domestic violence service providers in the U.S.
Futures without Violence provides programs and policies to help those working to end violence against women and children around the world.
Women’s Health Brochure
Futures Without Violence
Battered Women’s Justice Project
Domestic Violence Awareness Project
National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence
GLBTQ Domestic Violence Project
DOJ Office on Violence Against Women
Futures Without Violence DV Day Toolkit
Click to Empower, Freedom from Financial Abuse
Military OneSource Child Abuse and Domestic Abuse
To see the veterans domestic violence directory click here