The CDC defines Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) as the “physical, sexual, or psychological harm by a current or former partner or spouse” that occurs among “heterosexual or same-sex couples and does not require sexual intimacy.” IPV, also known as domestic violence, is also a major public health problem that the world continues to face today.
I’ll get straight to my point: I believe that a course similar to the “Theories of Intimate Violence” class taught at Franklin Pierce should be a required as part of every first-year core curriculum at the college level. If you haven’t heard of the course, check out the description on the Franklin Pierce Academic Catalogue (see below). A few of my WL colleagues and I were enrolled in the course this past spring and were blown away by the material and statistics that were discussed, most of which came as a complete shock to each of us. Here are a few highlights from my notes this semester…
- One of the most common times when the first incident of IPV occurs is when the female victim is 3 months pregnant. Due to the violence she endures, miscarriages can frequently occur. Consequently, around 50% of all miscarriages in the US happen as a result of IPV.
- Gender and/or sexuality do not predict abuse; men and women, whether in heterosexual or homosexual relationships, can all be victims or perpetrators of IPV.
- Both women and men are similar in the occurrence of slapping and shoving.
- Both men and women stay in abusive relationships for the same reasons, such as the presence of children, economic reasons, fear, etc.
- 13% of college women and .01% of college men are stalked annually.
- In 1993, North Carolina was the last of the 50 states to ratify a law that allowed the prosecution of husband for sexually assaulting his wife.
Too commonly, gender stereotypes and false assumptions find their way into the public’s “knowledge” of IPV. I can admit that I was not well-informed about this topic until taking this course, but since finishing the course I feel I have accomplished more than receiving a passing grade. I am a more knowledgeable part of our campus community that has a better understanding of the types of IPV that occurs, the victim, the perpetrator, and how to assist someone who is or knows a victim of IPV.
Though, for now, I can only imagine what would result if every student at Franklin Pierce were required to take this course in their first or second year. I know some students would be reluctant and think of the course as “just another requirement.” However, I feel that if each student could take away one thing of importance or significance from the course, Franklin Pierce would further its mission of making its students “knowledgeable individuals and leaders of conscious.”
*** IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW IS A VICTIM OF IPV, HELP AND SUPPORT ARE AVAILABLE****
The National Domestic Violence Hotline – www.thehotline.org
Stalking Resource Center — National Center for Victims of Crime
Halt Online Abuse
Dr. Davina Brown (thank you for allowing me to enroll in PS300!)
Franklin Pierce Catalogue (search PS300 Theories of Intimate Violence)
Pierce Arrow Managing Editor