While sometimes a difficult topic to discuss, domestic abuse or intimate partner violence (IPV) must be addressed. It has profound effects on our health, family's health and our community.
IPV can affect anyone regardless ofincome, race, gender, sexual orientation or religion. One in three women in Utah will experience intimate partner violence at some point in her life.
Some of the health problems associated with IPV include increase risk of:
- Chronic pain
- Substance use disorders
- Sexually transmitted infections
- Unplanned pregnancy
- Pregnancy related problems like preterm birth and low birth weight
Abuse us a repetitive pattern of tactics used to maintain power and control over an intimate partner. This can include coercion, intimidation, emotional, financial, physical and sexual abuse and violence. The behaviors prevent a partner from doing what they wish or force them to behave in ways they do not want to.
Often, relationships start out well, and then abusive behaviors start occurring almost invisibly, over time. Every relationship is different but if your partner has one or more of the following behaviors, call or speak with an advocate to discuss what is happening.
- Saying you never do anything right
- Jealousy of friends and time spent away
- Discouraging you from seeing friends/family members
- Embarrassing or shaming you
- Taking your money or refusing to give you money for expenses
- Looking at you or acting in ways that scare you
- Controlling who you see, where you go, or what you do
- Preventing you from making your own decisions
- Telling you that you are a bad parent/threatening to harm or take away your children
- Preventing you from working/attending school
- Destroying your property or threatening to hurt or kill your pets
- Intimidating you with guns, knives, or other weapons
- Pressuring you to have sex when you don't want to or do things sexually you're not comfortable with
- Pressuring you to use drugs or alcohol
If these are happening, know this:
- You are not alone.
- It is not your fault.
- There are teams of people trained to help you with the process of addressing the abuse, confidentially and at no cost.
Utah Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-897-LINK (5465)
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
Since the medical community knows that screening for family abuse and violence and referring patients to resources improves health outcomes, this is something we are dedicated to doing. Leaving an abusive partner can be a very dangerous time so speaking with an advocate and developing a safety plan is highly recommended.
Of course, if anyone is in immediate danger, call 9-1-1.
Speaking with a confidential advocate will give patients information they can use to begin their journey towards a healthier future. When you have friends or family members in unhealthy or abusive relationships, the most important thing you can do is be supportive and listen to them.Don’t judge! Leaving an unhealthy or abusive relationship is a process,not an event. Just letting them know there are options and informing them of resources can be helpful even if they plan to stay for now.