Domestic and Relationship Violence
Winthrop University's Definition of
Relationship violence, for the purpose of this description and
related procedures, may include but is not limited to:
a. Physical abuse (e.g., slapping, pulling
b. Threats of abuse (e.g., threatening to
hit, harm or use of a weapon on another or self,
or other forms of verbal abuse)
c. Emotional/psychological abuse (e.g.,
harassment, name calling, manipulation) that
creates and maintains a degrading environment; and
d. Sexual abuse(e.g., forced sexual conduct
and/or any behavior that meets the definition of sexual
Relationship violence is directed toward a
current or former partner or spouse. Relationship
violence is a cycle of behavior that repeats over and over again
and without intervention the violence tends to escalate and
become more serious. These controlling behaviors are a violation
of the Winthrop University Code of Conduct and the SC Code of
Domestic Violence is NOT the Victim's Fault &
It is NOT
Caused or Excused by:
- The behavior of the victim or problems in the relationship
- Mental Illness (personality disorders, mental illness, or poor impulse control)
- Alcohol and drugs -- Perpetrators may blame their abuse on the effects of drugs and alcohol, and many victims believe that drugs and alcohol cause the abuse. However, the fact is that the majority of
the time, abuse also occurs at times other than when the perpetrator is not using drugs and alcohol. The two
behaviors may be linked, but they are two separate problems which need separate interventions.
Domestic violence involves choices by
a perpetrator. Abusers often strongly defend their actions by denying, minimizing, justifying, or
rationalizing their behavior.
Causes of Domestic Violence
- A need to have power and control over an intimate partner. Fear is a part of an effective strategy for creating and maintaining power and control.
- It is learned behavior that comes from observing one's community, peer group, and family. Abusive
behavior is maintained by a pattern of reinforcement.
- It is embedded in our social customs and institutions. Some men believe they are entitled to use physical or sexual violence.
Forms of Domestic Violence
Perpetrators may use many tactics to dominate, shame, or
control their victims. These coercive and violent tactics are used without regard to the victim's emotional or physical wellbeing. These tactics frequently escalate in severity and frequency over time. While domestic violence can take many forms,
there are four main categories:
- Physical: A wide range of aggressive behaviors which cause harm to the victim's body
- This includes pushing, hitting, kicking, squeezing, choking, pinching, poking, hair pulling, spitting, burning, clubbing, stabbing, or shooting.
- Sexual: Any unwanted sexual contact
- This includes
unwelcomed contact with the victim's breasts, buttocks, or genitals; using
coercion or manipulation to try to get to your partner in sexual activity of
any kind; sexual activity accompanied by physical assaults; using drugs or
alcohol to get sex; forced sexual activity; or forcing sexual activity with a third person.
- Psychological: Mental or verbal assaults on the victim.
Psychological violence does not involve bodily harm to the victim's. Weapons are
used rather than physical attacks.
- This includes threats of violence on the victim or the victim's
loved ones, deportation, custody, suicide; forcing victim to do
degrading things; controlling victim's activities such as sleep, eating
habits, social relationships, access to money; or attacking
the victim's self-esteem.
- Destruction of Property or Pets: No contact with victim's body, but these assaults are still meant to hurt victim.
- Destroying objects during arguments; breaking victim's favorite property; attacking
the victim's pets
Facts About Domestic Violence and Relationship
- Anyone can be a victim of intimate partner violence no matter his/her gender, sexual
orientation, race, or socioeconomic status.
- Approximately 1.3 million women and 835,000 men are assaulted by an intimate
partner annually in the USA (sccadvasa.org).
- 1 in 4 Lesbians' have experienced violence within a lesbian
- 32% of college women experience physical assault in a relationship
- Women ages 20 to 24 experience the highest rates of dating intimate
partner violence (njidv.org)
- 85% of the victims of domestic violence are women (sccadvasa.org)
- Battering is the leading cause of injury to women between the ages of 15 and 44,
more common than automobile accidents, muggings, and rapes combined.
- There were 35,731 cases of domestic violence reported in South Carolina in 1999.
- South Carolina ranks 8th nationally for the number of women killed by
male intimate partners (sccadvasa.org).
Guide for a student experiencing relationship
- Seek medical attention as needed through Health and
Counseling Services on campus or through an after hours
emergency services listed on the Resources & Links tab.
- Make a plan for safety. Once violence occurs, it may
occur again, especially if the perpetrator believes that
he/she is losing control.
- Contact Campus Police or the local police. Make
arrangements for alternate housing.
- Talk to a trusted person because relationship violence is
traumatic, and feelings can be overwhelming.
- Utilize the confidential professional local and on
campus resources available. They are listed on the
Resources & Links tab..
We are here to support you, no matter the circumstances.