Info For - Domestic Violence - Fact or Fiction

Info For Domestic Violence
Fact or Fiction

Myth
Domestic violence affects only a small percentage of the population and is rare.
Fact

National studies estimate that 3 to 4 million women are beaten each year in our country.

A study conducted in 1995 found that 31% of women surveyed admitted to having been physically assaulted by a husband or boyfriend. Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women between the ages of 15 and 44 in our country, and the FBI estimates that a woman is beaten every 15 seconds.

Thirty percent of female homicide victims are killed by partners or ex-partners and 1,500 women are murdered as a result of domestic violence each year in the United States.

Myth
Battered women are masochistic and provoke the abuse. They must like it or they would leave.
Fact

Battered women often make repeated attempts to leave violent relationships, but are prevented from doing so by increased violence and control tactics on the part of the abuser. Other factors which inhibit a victim's ability to leave include economic dependence, few viable options for housing and support, social isolation, cultural or religious constraints, and fear of further violence. It has been estimated that the danger to a victim increases by 70% when she attempts to leave, as the abuser escalates his use of violence when he begins to lose control.

Myth
The real problem is couples who assault each other. Women are just as violent as men.
Fact

A well-publicized study conducted by Dr. Murray Strauss at the University of New Hampshire found that women use violent means to resolve conflict in relationships as often as men.

However, the study also concluded that when the context and consequences of an assault are measured, the majority of victims are women.

The U.S. Department of Justice has found that 85% of the victims of spouse abuse are female. Men can be victims, but it is rare.

Myth
Domestic violence is usually a one time, isolated occurrence.
Fact

Battering is a pattern of coercion and control that one person exerts over another. Battering is not just one physical attack. It includes the repeated use of a number of tactics, including intimidation, threats, economic deprivation, isolation and psychological and sexual abuse. Physical violence is just one of these tactics. The various forms of abuse utilized by batterers help to maintain power and control over their spouses and partners.

Myth
It is easy to leave an abusive relationship.
Fact

The most dangerous time for victims is at the time of separation. Those who are abusive seek "power and control" over their partners. In attempting to leave, the victim is undermining their partner's "power and control". To a batterer, this is the ultimate defiance or betrayal. They may refuse to accept that their partner could or should live their life outside of their "power and control". This type of batterer feels justified in preventing their partner from leaving them by any means necessary.

Myth
Alcohol abuse causes domestic violence.
Fact

Although there is a high correlation between alcohol, or other substance abuse, and battering, it is not a causal relationship. Batterers use drinking as one of many excuses for their violence and as a way to place the responsibility for their violence elsewhere. Stopping the abusers' drinking will not stop the violence. Both battering and substance abuse need to be addressed separately, as overlapping yet independent problems.

Myth
Men who batter are often good fathers and should have joint custody of their children if the couples separate.
Fact

Studies have found that men who batter their wives also abuse their children in 70% of cases. Even when children are not directly abused, they suffer as a result of witnessing one parent assault another.
Batterers often display an increased interest in their children at the time of separation, as a means of maintaining contact with, and thus control over, their partners.

Myth
When there is violence in the family, all members of the family are participating in the dynamic, and therefore, all must change for the violence to stop.
Fact

Only the batterer has the ability to stop the violence. Battering is a behavioral choice for which the batterer must be held accountable. Many battered women make numerous attempts to change their behavior in the hope that this will stop the abuse. This does not work. Changes in family members' behavior will not cause the batterer to be non-violent.

Myth
Domestic violence occurs only in poor, uneducated and minority families.
Fact

Studies of domestic violence consistently have found that battering occurs among all types of families, regardless of income, profession, region, ethnicity, educational level or race.

However, the fact that lower income victims and abusers are over-represented in calls to police, battered women's shelters and social services may be due to a lack of other resources.

Myth
Most assaults are really just a couple of slaps and they are not really harmful.
Fact

More than 30 percent of hospital emergency-room admissions are women who have been abused. Domestic violence is the single greatest cause of injury to women in the United States.

Myth
Domestic violence happens only in low-income families.
Fact

Domestic violence happens in all kinds of families, rich and poor, urban, suburban and rural, in every part of the country, in every racial, religious and age group.

Myth
Children are not at risk for being hurt or injured.
Fact

Men who abuse their partners are more likely to abuse the children in the home. Domestic violence is the number one predictor for child abuse. Subjecting children to an environment full of violent actions and hateful words is not being a good father.

Myth
Abusers and/or victims have low self-esteem.
Fact

Abusers do not have low self-esteem. They believe they are entitled to have power and control over their partner. Abusers will pretend to have low-self esteem, if it will make others believe the violence is not their fault.

Survivors of abuse may have had great self-esteem at the beginning of the relationship, but the abuser uses emotional abuse: calling her names, putting her down, telling her it is all her fault, in order to destroy her self-esteem.

Some abusers look for women with low self-esteem, as they believe she will be more likely to blame herself and less likely to report his behavior. Other abusers look for women with high self-esteem, as they may represent a greater challenge to control over time.

Myth
Some women want to be beaten. They ask for it. They deserve it. Some women go from abuser to abuser – it must be something about them.
Fact

No one deserves to be abused. Everyone has the right to live free of violence. No one wants to have an abusive partner. Women who find that their second or third partner are abusers will often be blamed by others for the violence. “It must be something about her.” Or she will blame herself, “I always seem to pick abusers.” In reality, the abuser uses the tactic of charm early in the relationship to find out that she was previously abused. He uses this information to blame her for the violence, “It must be something that you are doing wrong, or there would not have been two of us.” Or he will silence her with, “You are not going to tell anyone, because if you do they will never believe you because you said that before.”

Myth
Boys who witness violence will grow up to be abusers.
Fact

Studies have found that 30% of male child witnesses choose to become abusers as adults. This means that 70% do not become abusers and are committed to ending the cycle of violence in their lives.

The majority of children, male and female, who witness domestic violence become advocates against violence when they grow up; committed to raising their children without the use of violence.

Young men in our society must never feel they are destined to become violent. We send a dangerous message to young men and boys when we imply they are fated to become violent and we give abusers an excuse for their behavior.

Myth
Men have a right to discipline their partners for misbehaving. Battering is not a crime.
Fact

While our society derives from a patriarchal legal system that afforded men the right to physically chastise their wives and children, we do not live under such a system now. Women and children are no longer considered the property of men, and domestic violence is a crime in every state In the country.

Myth
Domestic violence is an anger control issue.
Fact

Domestic violence has nothing to do with anger. Anger is a tool abusers use to get what they want.
Abusers are actually very much in control because they can stop when someone knocks on the door or the phone rings; they often direct punches and kicks to parts of the body where the bruises are less likely to show; and they do not abuse everyone who makes them “angry”, but waits until there are no witnesses and abuses the one he says he loves.

Myth
Alcohol and drugs cause domestic violence.
Fact

Alcohol and drugs do not cause domestic violence. Domestic violence is a choice.
Many abusers will make sure they have alcohol or drugs on hand, in order to use them as an excuse for their actions.
Abusers will also claim their actions resulted because they could not have the alcohol or drugs.

Myth
Domestic violence affects only a small portion of the population.
Fact
  • 1 in every 4 women in the United States will experience domestic violence at some point in her lifetime;
  • An estimated 1.3 million women in the United States are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year;
  • The majority of family violence victims are female (86%);
  • The cost of domestic violence in the United States exceeds $5.8 billion each year, $4.1 of which is for direct medical care and mental health;
Myth
Domestic violence is not common.
Fact

Domestic violence facts and statistics show it is horrifically common.

  • In the United States a woman is beaten by a man every 9 seconds.
  • 5.3 million women will be abused this year in the United States.
  • Of these women 3 to 4 are killed each day by their partner or former partner.
  • Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women.
  • In South Africa one quarter of all males have raped at least once.
  • Two women are raped every minute, 24/7, in South Africa.
Myth
Children aren't aware of the violence in their home.
Fact

Studies show that most children are aware of the violence directed at their mother.



Myth
Domestic violence happens only once or twice in a relationship.
Fact

Abusers usually escalate violent behaviors in frequency and intensity over time.

Protect Yourself and Your Children From Domestic Violence.
CALL 911 for immediate assistance,
or your local emergency service.