Intimate terrorism

From CopperWiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Intimate terrorism is the attempt to dominate one’s partner and to exert general control over the relationship. The domination tactics uses a wide range of power and control tactics, including non violent control.[1] This occurs in marriages and intimate heterosexual and homosexual intimate relationship where one partner wants to control almost all aspects of the other partner's life.


Why should I be aware of this?

  • Intimate terrorism and situational couple violence are different
  • In intimate terrorism there is a predominance of nonviolent control (NVC) tactics in the relationship.
  • Though earlier research showed that intimate terrorism against women accompanied frequent and severe physical violence; there is no study to distinguish NVC committed by males from violence committed by females against an intimate partner.

All about intimate terrorism

In intimate terrorism, the goal is to control the other person, and the abuser may use not only physical violence but also psychological and financial abuse to dominate his spouse. Intimate terrorism is one of the two distinct forms of intimate partner violence. The other is situational couple violence.

Difference between situational violence and intimate terrorism

Intimate terrorism is an attempt to exert general control over the partner. The control is so coercive in nature that even the nonviolent control tactics such as emotional abuse, isolation, using children, using male privilege ( in case where the abuser is male), economic control take a violent meaning. There is a general pattern of controlling behavior.

Victims of intimate terrorism are attacked more frequently and experience violence that is less likely to stop. They are more likely to be injured, to exhibit more of the symptoms of posttraumatic stress syndrome, to use painkillers (perhaps also tranquilizers), and to miss work. They have left their husbands more often, and when they do leave, they are more likely to acquire their own residence

Situational violence is more likely a result of poor conflict management rather than a desire to control a partner. There may have been a heated argument about finances that ended with a shove. These fathers can probably learn new ways to manage their anger, and they do have the potential to safely co-parent their children.

Factors associated with intimate terrorism

According to a study[2] there are some factors that appear more common in instances of intimate terrorism. These are

  • Respondent's young age
  • Violence escalation in the relationship
  • Partner's access to guns
  • Previous arrests for domestic violence offenses
  • Poor mental health
  • Previous suicide attempts or threats.


There is a myth that mutual abuse is a rare phenomenon. Even if men and women assault each other at comparable rates, men are typically thought to be the initiators and the dominant partners. The truth is that women also exert intimate terrorism. Although women are far more often the victims of sexual coercion, they are just as likely as men to be the perpetrators of most psychological abuse and controlling behaviors, and this includes stalking when broadly defined.

90 degrees -- What we do not know yet

Research says that role differentiation is a big problem for fathers who have. engaged in intimate terrorism. And because they weren't able to differentiate those roles very well, control issues and abuse of the women tended to continue after the separation. Researchers opine that coparenting is easier in situational violence than in instances of intimate terrorism.[3]


  • When A Violent Marriage Ends, Is Co-parenting Possible?
  • The Differential Effects of Intimate Terrorism and Situational Couple Violence
  • The Three Common Myths of Domestic Violence


  1. The Differential Effects of Intimate Terrorism and Situational Couple Violence
  2. The Distribution of and Factors Associated with Intimate Terrorism and Situational Couple Violence among a Population-Based Sample of Urban Women in the United States
  3. When A Violent Marriage Ends, Is Co-parenting Possible? ScienceDaily