Relationship/Intimate Partner Violence

Relationship violence is controlling, abusive and/or aggressive behavior toward a current or past romantic partner. It occurs in both heterosexual and same­sex relationships and can include verbal, emotional, physical and/or sexual abuse. Relationship violence affects people of all ages, races, abilities, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds.

Forms of Relationship/Intimate Partner Violence

Although there is no typical pattern in abusive relationships, abusers engage in behaviors that serve to intimidate, frighten and/or isolate their partners in order to gain control.

Emotional or psychological violence — These behaviors may include verbal harassment and abuse, jealousy, possessiveness and isolation from family and friends. The abuser attempts to control all aspects of a victim’s life, including where they go, what activities they engage in and with whom they communicate. This abuse may appear endearing at the beginning of a relationship but can increase over time, resulting in the victim’s loss of self-esteem, personal freedom and decision­making ability.

Physical violence — These behaviors may include pushing, slapping, biting, kicking, hair pulling, punching, strangling, burning and the threat or use of weapons. Physical violence often begins by inflicting injuries on parts of the body that can be covered and not detected by others. Physical violence often escalates over time, occurring with greater frequency and by use of greater force. Abusers may also physically harm children and pets.

Sexual abuse — This form of abuse is exerted to gain power and control over the victim, often in a degrading fashion. Sexual abuse includes unwanted touching, intercourse or forcing the victim to perform sexual acts against his or her will. Force, the threat of force, or coercion used to get an individual to engage in sexual activity constitutes sexual abuse.

Signs of Relationship/Intimate Partner Violence

If your romantic partner or former romantic partner engages in any of the following behaviors, you are likely in an abusive relationship:

  • Calls frequently to find out where you are, who you’re with or what you’re doing.
  • Has to be with you all the time.
  • Accuses you of flirting or having sexual relationships with others.
  • Calls you names, insults, criticizes or degrades you.
  • Acts jealous, possessive, controlling or bossy.
  • Gives you orders or makes all the decisions.
  • Tells you what to wear.
  • Gets angry very quickly or starts fights.
  • Threatens to hurt you or someone close to you if you don’t do what they want.
  • Threatens to commit suicide if you end the relationship.
  • Follows you or shows up repeatedly at your home or work, uninvited.
  • Limits your ability to have normal contact with family and friends.
  • Shoves, punches, slaps, pinches, kicks, hits you, pulls your hair, strangles or chokes you.
  • Touches or kisses you when you don’t want to.
  • Forces you to have sex.
  • Pressures you to use alcohol or drugs.
  • Is secretive about past relationships or verbally degrades women.
  • Refuses to accept that the relationship isn’t working or is over.

If you are experiencing relationship violence, contact one of the following resources:

Resources on and off campus:  
Advocacy Services (414) 288-5244
Marquette University Police Department (414) 288-6800
(414) 288-6911 (for EMERGENCY)
Marquette University Counseling Center* (414) 288-7172
Marquette University Medical Clinic* (414) 288-7184
Campus Ministry (414) 288-6873
Marquette LGBTQ+ Resource Center  
Healing Center* (414) 671-HEAL
Sojourner Family Peace Center* (414) 276-1911
Milwaukee Women’s Center* (414) 449-4777
Milwaukee LGBT Community Center* (414) 271-2656

*Confidential resources with recognized legal privilege under Wisconsin state law.