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  • Fact Sheet: Interpersonal Violence

    Interpersonal violence refers to violence and abuse that occurs between people who know each other. It can occur within or outside a family setting. Interpersonal violence involves a serious abuse of power, consisting of the exertion of physical force and power over another individual with the intent of controlling, disempowering, and/or injuring that individual. This can cause feelings such as fear, anxiety, nervousness, guilt, helplessness, or worthlessness.

    Sexual Violence is ...

    • Any sexual contact that is forced or without consent. It may take the form of being touched, being forced to touch someone else, or to watch them touch themselves.
    • Not about uncontrollable sexual urges. Over 70% of sexual assaults are planned.
    • Motivated by the need to overpower, control, degrade, and humiliate another. The violation of body parts is the means by which this is accomplished.
    • A method of expressing anger and aggression by persons who have never learned to develop healthy outlets for their negative emotions.
    • Committed by strangers as well as people we know and trust. Over 80% of sexual assaults are committed by acquaintances, dates, husbands, and family members.
    • Not the result of the dress or behavior of the victim. Attitude and decisions of the perpetrator are the sole cause of sexual assault.
    • Something that can happen to you!

    Any man, woman or child can be sexually victimized regardless of age, race, economic status or sexual orientation.

    Domestic Violence is ...

    • A pattern of abusive behavior used to maintain control or assert power over an intimate partner (spouse, former-spouse, co-parent, or dating partner), a parent, or a present or former household member.
    • Abusive behaviors are not limited to physical violence such as punching or kicking, they also include psychological, verbal, sexual, and economic abuse.

    Examples of Abusive Behaviors Include:


    Hitting, slapping, pushing, biting, punching, choking and restraining.


    • Making partner feel insecure: attacks on self esteem, blaming, criticizing, manipulation, making partner feel crazy, humiliating, & creating feelings of guilt.
    • Intimidation: threatening looks or behavior, throwing objects, breaking things, & punching walls, playing on partner's fears.
    • Isolation: stopping the person from seeing friends and family, sabotaging relationships, pressuring partner into giving up activities or work, and keeping tabs on partner.
    • Verbal: cursing, swearing, yelling, put downs, name calling, and criticizing thoughts and feelings.
    • Sexual: Any non-consenting sexual act or behavior, unwanted sexual contact, comments or gesturing within a relationship, manipulating a partner into doing something sexual they do not feel comfortable with.
    • Economic: Controlling all finances, preventing partner from getting a job.

    Domestic Violence:

    • Is Widespread - One in every four women report being sexually or physically assaulted by a spouse, cohabiting partner or date at some time in their lifetime, according to the National Violence Against Women Survey.
    • Doesn't Discriminate - Domestic Violence occurs in people from every ethnic background, educational level, income, age, race, and religion and regardless of martial status or gender preference.
    • Recurs and escalates over time.
    • Is All Encompassing - affects the work, school, home, and social life of every member of the family.

    Rape Trauma Syndrome

    Everyone copes with crisis differently. Any reaction to rape should be accepted as normal reactions. Survivors of sexual assault, however, consistently describe certain symptoms and reactions which have been named Rape Trauma Syndrome. Survivors may experience any number of these symptoms at any point in time during recovery from an assault.

    Some of these reactions are physical and may include body soreness and pain, difficulty eating and sleeping, and general fatigue.

    Other reactions are emotional. These may include feelings of shock, fear, shame, guilt, isolation, grief, depression, anger and embarrassment. Emotional scars generally take longer to heal than physical injuries.

    Getting back to normal can take a long time. Frequently, survivors may try to block out painful memories and feelings. It is best, however, to talk about the fears and feelings associated with the experience. Healing can begin by sharing pain.

    Many survivors find it helpful to talk with a Rape Care Counselor. They are trained to listen, understand and help deal with painful feelings. Call the Sexual Violence Program for counseling referrals, and support 1.888.264.RAPE.

    On campus, contact Counseling and Psychological Services at 732-571-7517 or

    Additional resources on Interpersonal Violence may be found on our Web-based Resources page.