Intimate Partner Violence Is More Common Than You Think

A brutal attack in Tennessee serves as a grim reminder of how commonplace such violence is in the United States.
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Photo by the Gender Spectrum Collection

One man’s violent attack on his ex-girlfriend highlights the brutal reality of intimate partner violence in the United States and how unfortunately common these attacks truly are.

A Hamilton County judge committed a Tennessee man to a mental health facility earlier this week after stabbing an ex who also happened to be the mother of his child and gouging out her eyes, as Knoxville CBS affiliate WVLT 8 reported on Thursday. He stood trial for the attack, which he had committed in September 2017, earlier this year, but was found not guilty by reason of insanity in July.


While horrifyingly extreme, the attack exists along a broad spectrum of intimate partner violence that many people in the U.S., particularly women, are all too familiar with. Intimate partner violence accounts for 15 percent of all violent crime, according to data collected by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and nearly 20 people are physically abused by an intimate partner every minute in the U.S.—accounting for more than 10 million survivors of any gender every year.

Over the course of their lifetime, one in four women will experience either severe intimate partner violence, sexual violence, or stalking, the NCADV says. One in three women will experience some form of physical violence from a partner, and one in seven women will be injured by an intimate partner. One in 15 children will also be exposed to intimate partner violence each year, 90 percent of whom will witness the violence firsthand.

While intimate partner violence most directly impacts the survivor, such violence has much broader implications. This attack in Tennessee involved a knife, it is important to note that intimate partner violence in the U.S. is very much connected with gun violence in the U.S. Many of the perpetrators of the deadliest mass shootings in history have a history of domestic violence, and in states that require a background check for every handgun sale nearly two-fifths fewer women (38 percent) are shot to death by an intimate partner, per the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

If you think you may be in an abusive relationship, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or visit their website,

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