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The Myths and Realities of Domestic Violence and Abuse

Myth: Women enjoy being abused. 
Reality: No one enjoys being abused. 

Myth: What happens in the home is private.  Outsiders should not get involved. 
Reality: Turning away from abuse in a home is tantamount to condoning violence. Ending domestic abuse is everyone's responsibility. 

Myth:  Women invent or exaggerate stories of abuse. 
Reality: An abused woman is very reluctant to come forward and reveal what has happened to her.  When she does get the courage to reach out for help, she must be believed. 

 

 

Myth: Women are at fault;  they provoke domestic violence. 
Reality: A woman's behavior is not a cause or excuse for violence. 

Myth: Domestic violence is a problem that involves only the poor and minority groups. 
Reality: Domestic violence happens in all cultures, races and classes. 

Myth: Financial security stops domestic violence. 
Reality: Domestic violence occurs in all socioeconomic levels. 

Myth: Abusers are violent toward everyone, everywhere. 
Reality: Though abusers are sometimes consistent in how they treat people inside and outside of their homes, they may also be charming, helpful and kind to those with whom they work or with whom they are involved in the community. Their abuse may be evidenced only in their homes. 

Myth: Marriage stops the abuse. 
Reality: Violence escalates when an abuser marries. 

Myth: Rape cannot happen in marriage. 
Reality: When one is forced to engage in sexual acts against her/his will, a rape has occurred. 

Myth: Prayer and faith alone will stop the abuse. 
Reality: Prayer and faith alone will not stop the abuse. 

Myth: Any woman could leave the situation if she really wanted to. 
Reality: Leaving an abuser is a very complicated process.
(Refer to "Why Women Stay."). 

Myth: Abusive partners will always abuse. 
Reality: The "honeymoon phase" of domestic violence should not be confused with a de-escalation of violence. (Refer to "Why Women Stay.") However, with the right combination of counseling or therapy, commitment, determination, hard work and community support, it is possible to change abusive patterns. Learning effective communication skills and recognizing differences in ways men and women communicate; dealing with unresolved anger toward parents; and understanding how one really feels about other significant people and events are essential to decreasing incidents of violence. 


Facts about Domestic Violence

According to the surgeon general of the United States: 

  • Battering is the single largest cause of injury to women
  • Battering accounts for 1/5 of all emergency room cases2

According to the U.S. Department of Justice - National Coalition Against Domestic Violence: 

  • 1 million women seek medical assistance for being abused each year
  • 2 to 4 million women are abused in the U.S. each year
  • 1400 women die each year as a result of domestic violence3

2Becker, M., Bowman, C. and Torrey, M. (1994). Feminist Jurisprudence - Taking Women Seriously. West Publishing. 
3ABC News Special. "Domestic Violence: Breaking The Silence." June 1996. 


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