When we talk about interpersonal violence (IPV) at UNC-Chapel Hill, we focus on the areas that affect Tar Heels the most: sexual assault, abusive relationships, and stalking. Sexual assault is a type of sexual harassment. Identity-based harassment often intersects with interpersonal violence. We refer to people who have experienced interpersonal violence as victims but also survivors – and we prefer the word “survivor” because someone who has experienced IPV has survived a difficult and likely traumatic life experience. Most people do not like to think of themselves as victims in any way, and it can be empowering for someone to refer to themselves as a survivor instead.
Interpersonal violence can be perpetrated by a partner or ex-partner, an acquaintance, or a stranger, though the latter occurs the least frequently. Though the majority of cases involve men perpetrating violence against women, we know that interpersonal violence occurs in same-sex relationships and that women can perpetrate violence against men in different-sex relationships.