What is power-based personal violence?

Power-based personal violence is any form of violence where the primary motivator is the assertion of power, control, and/or intimidation in order to harm another.

Examples of power-based personal violence include:

  • Partner violence
  • Sexual violence
  • Stalking
  • Trafficking
  • Child abuse
  • Elder abuse
  • Harassment
  • Bullying

Historically, power-based personal violence has been referred to as a number of things: domestic violence, sexual assault, rape, violence against women, intimate partner violence, etc. The list goes on and on. Some of these terms are still used, and some of them are considered quite outdated. What we know is that these terms all have one thing in common: they are rooted in the assertion of power and control. 

We also know that any person can experience any one or more of these incidents. Power-based personal violence impacts people regardless of race, religion, gender, class, sexual orientation, national origin, age or ability. Not only that, power-based personal violence can affect people differently depending on the various ways one might identify. 

Power-based personal violence” is an all-encompassing umbrella term that has room to include all individual experiences and highlights the root cause of power and control. Experiences of power-based personal violence are as unique as the individuals they impact and should be treated as such.

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