Resource Of the Week: Intimate Partner Sexual Violence
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and SARCC has some incredible domestic violence focused partners! Schuylkill Hope Center and Domestic Violence Intervention of Lebanon County each serve domestic violence survivors with shelter services, advocacy, legal support, and hotline options. In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, let’s take a moment to understand Intimate Partner Sexual Violence.
Intimate partner sexual violence (IPSV) is when a partner commits unwanted sexual activity or contact, often with the purpose of controlling, using fear or threats. Here’s the good news on this topic! We’ve come a long way since the early 80’s when SARCC was founded on the legal front. Pennsylvania court systems now recognize that a person CAN be raped or assaulted by a romantic partner, including a spouse and that it is against the law to do it. For many years, intimate partner sexual violence was not even recognized as a thing in the eyes of the law.
Unfortunately, IPSV is one of many forms of partner violence. Survivors of IPSV are at increased risk for sexually transmitted infections and HIV. This form of sexual violence can also include reproductive coercion, like intentionally sabotaging birth control or denying access to healthcare. IPSV occurs in all types of relationships and partnerships, but LGBTQ+ survivors may face some barriers to talking about it due to social stigma.
All survivors have the right to get help for IPSV, or any other form of sexual violence. There are a number of options to explore, including staying or leaving, seeking protection orders, reporting, safety planning, and finding creative ways to get the medical/supportive care you need.