Types of Sexual Violence/Misconduct

Intimate Partner Violence

Intimate partner violence (IPV), which can include sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking, are related events and can often occur in the same relationship. However, there are characteristics that are unique to each.

Intimate partner violence is defined as physical, emotional, or verbal abuse; forced isolation; threats; or intimidation occurring between current or former spouses or intimate partners, whether heterosexual or homosexual. Some common terms used to describe intimate partner violence include domestic violence, dating violence, battering, marital rape, date rape and stalking. Domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and intimate partner violence are terms that are used interchangeably. The common element in all abusive relationships is the abuser’s need for power and control over his or her partner or former partner. Intimate partners are defined as:

  • Current spouses (legal or common law)
  • Current non-marital partners
  • Dating partners ( including partners on the first date)
  • Boyfriends or girlfriends
  • Same sex partners
  • Divorced, former, or separated spouses (legal or common law)
  • Former non-marital partners
  • Former boyfriends or former girlfriends
  • Former same–sex partners

Intimate partner violence can also be identified through the four main types of IPV:

Physical Violence

  • The intentional use of physical force with the potential to cause injury or harm.
    • This includes, but is not limited to, scratching; pushing; throwing; grabbing; biting; choking; slapping; punching; use of a weapon; and use of restraints or one’s body size against another person.
    • This also includes coercing other people to commit any of the above acts. 

Sexual Violence

  • Attempted or completed acts of sexual assault and sexual harassment
  • Pressured into unwanted sexual contact
  • Unwanted sexual experiences not of the physical nature that occur without the victim’s consent
    • Examples include unwanted exposure to sexual situations (e.g., pornography), verbal sexual harassment, threats of sexual violence, and/or unwanted filming, taking or disseminating photographs of a sexual nature of another person
  • This form of IPV is also violates the sexual assault and/or sexual harassment policies. 


  • A pattern of repeated, unwanted, attention and contact that causes fear or concern for one’s own safety or the safety of someone else (e.g., family member or friend).
    • Examples include repeated, unwanted phone calls, emails, or texts; leaving letters, flowers, or other items when the victim does not want them; watching or following from a distance; damaging the victim’s personal property; and making threats to physically harm the victim.
  • This form of IPV is also violates the Stalking policy found here.
    • That policy provide further definitions as needed.

Psychological Aggression

  • The use of verbal and non-verbal communication with the intent to harm another person mentally or emotionally, and/or to exert control over another person
  • Examples include expressive aggression (e.g., name-calling, humiliating); coercive control (e.g., limiting access to transportation, friends, and family; excessive monitoring of whereabouts); threats of physical or sexual violence; exploitation of victim’s vulnerability (e.g., immigration status, disability); exploitation of perpetrator’s vulnerability; and presenting false information to the victim with the intent of making them doubt their own memory or perception (e.g., mind games).

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