Defining power-based violence

A type of violence committed by an offender who uses the assertion of power, control, and/or intimidation in order to harm another. These acts may be committed by strangers, friends, acquaintances, intimates, or other persons.

Power-based violence has traditionally been known as violence against women, but as we strive to understand these crimes we must acknowledge that the terminology "violence against women" diminishes male survivors' experiences. While these crimes are overwhelmingly committed by men against women the overriding similarities in these crimes are not the gender of the perpetrator or the victim, but the desire to assert power and control over another person. Often this assertion of power and control manifests in feminizing the victim regardless of the gender or sex of the victim. Because we devalue the feminine within our culture, this "violence against the feminine" is often about either demonstrating the weakness and helplessness of the victim and/or the strength and superiority of the perpetrator.


  • Sexual Assault
  • Rape
  • Intimate Partner/Relationship Violence
  • Stalking
  • Sexual Harassment

 Myths about power-based violence

  • Only women can be victims.
  • The danger is from strangers, not those that we know.
  • Only "those kind of people" are victimized.
  • We can make ourselves safe from violence if we just (fill in the blank).

The reality of power-based violence?

  • 1 in 4 COLLEGE  WOMEN will be sexually assaulted during her time on campus.
  • 85% of sexual violence is committed by someone whom the victim knows.
  • 9 out of 10 women in college who are raped never report.
  • One in 6 women and one in 33 men have experienced an attempted or completed rape .
  • 57% of students who have reported being in an abusive dating relationship said it occurred in college.