What is Domestic Violence/ Intimate Partner Violence?
Dating or domestic violence is a form of abuse that occurs in intimate relationships when one person uses fear and intimidation tactics to establish power and control over another person. Examples of dating or domestic violence include threatening a partner or their family, coercing them into doing something they don’t want to do, constantly belittling them, controlling what they can and cannot do, deciding with whom they can go out and when, isolating them from friends and family, controlling their finances and access to resources, or physically hitting, kicking, punching, slapping, or scratching. Dating and domestic violence can also include sexual violence or stalking.
Domestic violence can happen to people of all ages, races, ethnicity, and religions. It occurs in both heterosexual and homosexual relationships. While it is important to remember that we all have different cultural practices, beliefs, and experiences that shape our view of what intimate relationships look like, everyone deserves to feel safe and respected.
No one deserves to be abused. Abuse is never the victim’s fault! If you have been the victim of dating or domestic violence, you are not alone. Help is available.
What is Sexual Assault?
Sexual assault is any sexual contact made without consent. Consent must be freely given with overt words or actions that clearly communicate an individual's desire to engage in sexual activities. Consent is a clear yes, not the absence of no. Consent cannot legally be given if: an individual is under the age of 18, is incapacitated due to alcohol or other drugs, is unconscious or asleep, or has limited mental capacity.
Examples of sexual assault include unwanted touching, kissing, fondling, or penetration of the mouth, vagina, or anus with a finger, penis or object.
While sexual assault can be perpetrated by a stranger, it is more commonly committed by someone the victim knows, such as a friend, boyfriend/girlfriend/partner, or acquaintance.
Sexual assault is always the fault of the perpetrator and not the fault of the victim! Whether or not the victim has been drinking is irrelevant. The victim’s previous sexual activities, behaviors, actions, and/or dress is also irrelevant. No one deserves to be the victim of sexual assault.
If you have been victimized, you are not alone.
What is Stalking?
Stalkers often try to intimidate, harass, and control their victims. They may do this in a number of ways. The behavior may start slowly and escalate. For instance, a stalker may begin by calling once or twice a day and progress to calling several times a day, following you, and waiting for you outside of classes or work.
Anyone can stalk or be stalked, regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, ability, or income level. Stalking may involve family members, friends, intimate partners, classmates, coworkers, casual acquaintances, or even total strangers.
Most often, stalkers know their victims. Most female victims and many male victims are stalked by intimate partners. Stalking is most dangerous when it occurs as part of an abusive relationship. An attempt to end an abusive relationship often causes the abuser to become more possessive and can sometimes lead to stalking.
Cyber stalking is the use of the Internet, email, or other telecommunication technologies to harass, threaten, or intimidate another person. It is an extension of stalking from physical space to cyberspace.
A cyber stalker is someone who methodically, deliberately, and persistently sends unwanted communications that do not stop even after you have requested that he or she end all contact with you. Cyber stalking may take many different forms. A cyber stalker may:
- use the Internet to identify and track you
- send unsolicited email, including hate mail or obscene or threatening messages
- post messages about you or spread rumors about you through newsgroups
- create websites that provide real or false personal information about you
- Assume your identity online (i.e., in chat rooms, instant messages, or email) to embarrass you, to pry into your personal life, or for other negative purposes.