Domestic Violence Myths and Truths

Myth: Middle class women are not at risk of experiencing domestic violence.

Truth: Persons of any class, culture, religion, sexual orientation, marital status, age, and sex can be victims or perpetrators of domestic violence.

Myth: Some people deserve to be abused; they are responsible for the violence because they know how to provoke it.

Truth: No one deserves to be abused. The only person responsible for the abuse is the abuser. Physical violence, even among family members, is wrong and against the law.

Myth: If the victim didn’t like it, they would leave.

Truth: There are many reasons why a person may not leave, including fear for themselves, their children and even pets. Not leaving does not mean that the situation is okay or that the victim wants to be abused. The most dangerous time for a person who is being abused is when they try to leave or after they have done so.

Myth: Men cannot be abused.

Truth: Men can be, and are, abused. According to the CDC, 1 in 7 men will be the victim of severe physical violence by a partner in his lifetime.

Myth: Most people who commit violence are under the effects of alcohol or drugs.

Truth: Although many abusive partners also abuse alcohol and/or drugs, this is not the underlying cause of the abuse. Many abusive partners use alcohol/drugs as tools to assist in violent acts and as an excuse to explain their violence.

Myth: Stress and anger lead to violence.

Truth: Violent behavior is a choice. Perpetrators use it to control their victims. Domestic violence is about the abusive partner using their control, not losing their control. Their actions are very deliberate.

Myth: Abusive partners are violent in all their relationships.

Truth: Abusive partners choose to be violent to their partner and hurt them in ways they might never hurt someone else. Their violence is about control over that person. They may otherwise present as peaceful and “charming” people in other relationships (friends, family, workplace, place of worship, etc.)

Myth: Violence is about anger and rage. The abuser is out of control.

Truth: There are many reasons it is obvious that an abusive partner is actually in control of their actions. For instance, they most often do not harm other individuals; they wait until there are no witnesses and abuse the person they say they love. The abusive partner very often escalates from pushing and shoving to hitting in places where the bruises and marks will not show. If they were “out of control” or “in a rage” they would not be able to direct or limit where their kicks or punches land.

Myth: Domestic violence is a personal problem and should be resolved between the people involved in the relationship.

Truth: Domestic violence affects everyone, from children and family of those directly affected to to friends and community members.

Myth: Domestic Violence occurs in only a small percentage of relationships.

Truth: Domestic Violence occurs in up to 1/3 of all relationships, including same sex relationships. One in three women will report violence from a spouse or partner in their lifetime.

Myth: Domestic Violence is usually a one time, isolated occurrence due to anger or stress.

Truth: Domestic violence is a pattern of control that includes the repeated use of a number of tactics including threats, coercion, intimidation, isolation, economic control, psychological and sexual abuse. Physical violence is only one of the tactics used to control another person.

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