Intimate Partner Violence

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  • 8.3% of ASU students reported being in an emotionally abusive relationship.
  • 1.6% of ASU students reported being in a physically abusive relationship.
  • 1.9% of ASU students reported being in a sexually abusive relationship.
  • 8.3% of ASU female students and 3.0% of ASU male students reported having been a victim of stalking within the previous 12 months.

Sources: American College Health Association. American College Health Association-National College Health Assessment: Arizona State University Metro Phoenix Campuses Spring 2018. Baltimore: American College Health Association; Spring 2018 (n=1,304).


Intimate partner violence

Intimate partner violence refers to physical, sexual or psychological harm carried out by a current or former relationship partner or spouse. Intimate partner violence includes domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. These acts can take place among romantic or sexual partners of the opposite or same sex, whether they live together or not.

At the core of intimate partner violence, the abusive partner uses various strategies to maintain power and control within the relationship. Examples of these strategies include:

  • Intimidation – making someone afraid of being harmed, or having their things harmed, including pets and children.
  • Coercion and threats – this can include threats to leave the relationship, harm themselves or others, tell secrets and other acts to get the partner to behave a certain way (do something sexual or illegal).
  • Controlling finances – keeping money and other resources from their partner to reduce their ability to leave the relationship, find housing, transportation, etc.
  • Isolation – keeping the partner away from friends, family, and even work to ensure that their partner has limited exposure to or support from others.
  • Minimizing, denying or blaming – saying that the harms are not that bad, are being misperceived, or are caused by the non-abusive partner.


Stalking refers to a pattern of repeated unwanted attention and contact that causes the victim concern or fear for their own safety or for the safety of others. Stalking may take the form of texting, messaging, calling, following, watching, dropping by the home, or showing up at work or social outings of the victim repeatedly without invitation, even after being asked to stop. When asked to stop the stalker may get angry or upset, or may attempt to gain power or control over their victim.

Intimate partner violence follows a pattern known as the Cycle of Violence:


Calm – This stage is also called “the honeymoon stage.” During this stage abuse is minimal or not taking place. The abusive partner may be repentant for their actions, and the victim may be hopeful that the abuse is over.

Tension – During this stage, things are heating up. The power and control behaviors are happening to varying degrees. The victim is trying to keep the abuser calm, and it feels like they are walking on eggshells.

Crisis – During this stage an incident of physical, sexual or emotional abuse takes place.

This cycle can repeat itself many times in an abusive relationship. It is very difficult to break the cycle.

Adapted from the concept first described by Lenore Walker in her book, The Battered Woman. (1979). New York: Harper and Row.


Is your relationship healthy? Are you a good partner? Take these tests to assess your relationship. quizzes –

If you are in an abusive relationship or a victim of stalking, help is available. ASU Counseling Services or a Sun Devil Support Network Advisor can assist you to examine your options.  Visit for information on how to report violence. 

If you are in a crisis situation and could be harmed, do not hesitate to call 9-1-1.

You can also call EMPACT’s 24-hour ASU-dedicated crisis hotline: 480-921-1006.


It can be difficult to know how to support a friend who is in an abusive relationship. You may want them to leave their partner, yet they may choose to stay in the relationship. You may want them to tell the police about their injuries, yet they may choose to keep their abuse a secret from friends, family and law enforcement.

How to Help Someone in an Unhealthy Relationship:

  • Be a good friend
  • Be respectful and supportive
  • Listen patiently and openly: don't try to place blame on your friend or try to fix the relationship
  • Say that you are concerned for your friend’s safety and want to help
  • Help your friend understand that the abuse is not normal and not his/her fault
  • Ask what you can do to help
  • Connect your friend to resources for assistance and guidance
  • Encourage your friend to develop a safety plan
  • Avoid confrontations with the abuser. This could be dangerous for you and your friend.

Is Your Friend an Abuser? – Are you concerned that a friend is hurting others? What can you do?

  • Learn the warning signs of abuse
  • Help your friend recognize their unhealthy or abusive behaviors
  • Do not support your friend’s attempts to blame the victim for the abuse
  • Do not minimize the severity of the behavior
  • Connect your friend to resources for counseling and assistance with changing learned behaviors

For more information on how to help a friend, visit

If you know an ASU student who is in an abusive relationship or a victim of stalking, help is available. ASU Counseling Services or a Sun Devil Support Network Advisor can assist the victim to examine his or her options

If someone is in a crisis situation and could be harmed, do not hesitate to call 9-1-1.

Those affected by intimate partner violence and stalking can also call EMPACT’s 24-hour ASU-dedicated crisis hotline: 480-921-1006 is a website, chat, text and help line service to help engage, empower and education youth and young adults to prevent and end abusive relationships.

Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence is a community coalition that unites interested agencies and individuals in efforts to end sexual and domestic violence in Arizona. Their website and programs provide education and information to make this a reality.

National Domestic Violence Hotline has highly trained advocates that can speak confidentially with anyone experiencing domestic violence, seeking resources or information, or questioning unhealthy aspects of their relationship.


The Clothesline Project is a national program that engages communities in creating a clothesline filled with shirts decorated to express feelings about violence that has taken place personally, for someone they care about, or within their community.

At ASU, departments, colleges and student organizations arrange the Clothesline Project. Some use t-shirts, others paper cut outs of shirts. In each case, students create the designs and these are exhibited to bring awareness of how violence affects students and our campus communities.

The ASU Clothesline Project acknowledges that violence affects students across gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, age and socio-economic status. All students and student groups are welcome to participate, as violence affects us all.

For more information on the ASU Clothesline Project, contact

Take Back the Night is a national program that is organized locally each year at ASU. The aim is to bring awareness to violence against women and other vulnerable groups, to speak out in solidarity against violence in our community, and to create a safe place for victims of violence to speak out against violence, and embrace healing.

For more information on Take Back the Night, contact