Myths VS. Facts of Domestic Violence
There are many common misconceptions about domestic violence. I believe that education will play a key role in bringing about the change necessary to end domestic violence. Here are some myths and facts about domestic abuse.
Myth VS. Fact
MYTH: Domestic violence is rare and not a serious problem in America
FACT: 1 out of 4 women will experience domestic violence at some point in their lifetime. Battering is the single largest cause of injury to women in the United States. 74% of Americans personally know someone who is or has been a victim of domestic violence.
MYTH: Domestic violence only occurs in poor, uneducated and minority families.
FACT: Studies of domestic violence have consistently found that abuse occurs among all types of families, regardless of income, profession, religion, ethnicity, education level or race.
MYTH: Domestic violence only occurs in heterosexual relationships with females being the only victims.
FACT: While women do make up 85% of the victims of domestic violence, 1 in 6 men will be abused by their partners. There are conflicting statistics in regards to homosexual relationships and domestic violence, but it isn't isolated to heterosexual relationships.
MYTH: Domestic violence is usually a one time, isolated event.
FACT: Abuse never happens just once. There is a cycle of abuse that batterers use to maintain power and control over their partners. Typically it will escalate in severity over time.
MYTH: It isn't abuse if it isn't physical.
FACT: There are many types of abuse, not just physical or sexual. There is emotional, verbal, financial, mental, even digital abuse. Stalking is also a form of domestic violence. Often the emotional and mental abuse will start long before things ever get physical. Bruises heal rather quickly, but hurtful words can take years to recover from.
MYTH: Victims contribute to the violence and have done something to cause the abuse.
FACT: Abuse is a choice, abusers have control over their actions. Violence is NEVER the victim's fault. Victim provocation is no more common in domestic violence than in any other crime.
MYTH: Victims of abuse are insane to stay in the relationship.
FACT: The risk of injury increases by 70% when victims leave their partner. It is important to remember that, as an outsider to the abusive relationship, we are not living with the daily fear of abuse or death. What may appear to be crazy behaviors are often survival strategies victims use to keep themselves safe. Other factors which inhibit a victim's ability to leave include economic dependence, few viable options for housing and support, unhelpful responses from the criminal justice system or other agencies, social isolation, cultural or religious constraints, a commitment to the abuser and the relationship, and fear of further violence.
MYTH: Domestic violence only has one victim
FACT: Over 3 million children witness domestic abuse each year. There are many ways this adversely affects them, including a higher risk of being abused themselves. Children who grow up in abusive homes are at a higher risk to become abusive towards their future partners, thus continuing the cycle of violence for generations. For further information about how domestic violence affects children, read this article.
MYTH: Domestic violence doesn't affect me.
FACT: Domestic violence is a serious social issue that affects everyone, both individuals and our communities. Intimate partner violence exceeds $5.8 billion each year in medical & mental health services and the criminal justice system. Victims of domestic violence lost almost 8 million days of paid work because of the violence perpetrated against them. 39% of cities cited domestic violence as the primary cause of family homelessness.
If we don't stand up and speak out against domestic violence it will affect our communities, our children and future generations to come. For some of us home is a safe haven, an escape from the harsh realities of life. But for so many other Americans, home is not safe and that needs to change. One way to bring awareness and educate the masses is by sharing this article.
If you or someone you know is in a domestic violent relationship call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at: 1(800) 799-7233. You can also get more information at their website: thehotline.org
Another way to help is to find a local shelter and donate. You can find a list of shelters here.