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Debunking domestic violence 

Myth #1: Domestic Violence Is Only Physical.

Fact: Abusive actions against another person can be verbal, emotional, sexual, and physical. There are four basic types of domestic violence:

  • Physical: Shoving, slapping, punching, pushing, hitting, kicking and restraining.

  • Sexual: When one partner forces unwanted, unwelcome, uninvited sexual acts upon another.

  • Psychological: Verbal and emotional abuse, threats, intimidation, stalking, swearing, insulting, isolation from family and friends, forced financial dependence.

  • Attacks against property and pets: Breaking household objects, hitting walls, abusing or killing beloved pets.

Myth #2: Battered Women Can Just Leave.

Fact: A combination of factors make it very difficult for the abused to leave. These include family and social pressure, shame, financial barriers, children, and religious beliefs.

Up to 50 percent of women with children fleeing domestic violence become homeless because they leave the abuser. Also, many who are abused face psychological ambivalence about leaving.

One woman recalls, “My body still ached from being beaten by my husband a day earlier. But he kept pleading through the door. ‘I’m sorry. I’ll never do that to you again. I know I need help.’ I had a 2-week-old baby. I wanted to believe him. I opened the door.”

Her abuse continued for two more years before she gained the courage to leave.

Myth #3: Abuse Takes Place Because of Alcohol or Drugs.

Fact: Substance abuse does not cause domestic violence. However, drugs and alcohol do lower inhibitions while increasing the level of violence, often to more dangerous levels.

The US Department of Health and Human Services estimates that one-quarter to one-half of abusers have substance abuse issues.

Myth #7: Victims Can Just Fight Back or Walk Away.

Fact: Dealing with domestic violence is never as simple as fighting back or walking out the door.

“Most domestic abusers are men who are physically stronger than the women they abuse,” notes Joyce Zoldak in her book When Danger Hits Home: Survivors of Domestic Violence.

“In the case of elder abuse, the victims’ frail condition may limit their being able to defend themselves. When a child is being abused, the adult guardian is far more imposing — both physically and psychologically — than the victim.”

Myth #4: The Victim Provoked the Violence.

Fact: The abuser is completely responsible for the abuse. No one can say or do anything which warrants being beaten and battered. Abusers often try to deflect their responsibility by blaming the victim via comments, such as:

  • “You made me angry.”

  • “You made me jealous.”

  • “This would never have happened if you hadn’t done that.”

  • “I didn’t mean to do that, but you were out of control.”

Victims need to be assured that the abuse is not their fault.

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