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Domestic and Relationship Violence

Winthrop University's Definition of Relationship Violence

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 hair, punching)

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 assault).

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 Laws.

 

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
  • Anger
  • Stress
  • Mental Illness (personality disorders, mental illness, or poor impulse control)
  • Genetics
  • 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 Violence:

  • 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 relationship.
  • 32% of college women experience physical assault in a relationship (frostburg.edu).
  • 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 violence

  • 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.

CONTACT INFORMATION
Office of Victims Assistance
204 Crawford Building
Rock Hill, SC 29733, USA
803/323-2206
803/323-3332 (fax)