DV Myths and Misconceptions

MYTH: Domestic violence is a private family matter.
FACT: Domestic Violence is everyone’s business. Keeping domestic violence secret helps no one, has been shown to harm children, incurs substantial costs to society, and serves to perpetrate abuse through learned patterns of behavior.

MYTH: Most of the time, domestic violence is not really that serious.
FACT: Domestic violence is an illegal act in the U.S. and is considered a crime with serious repercussions. Although there are aspects of domestic violence (example: emotional, psychological, spiritual abuse) that may not be considered criminal in a legal sense, serious and long-lasting physical, emotional and spiritual harm can, and often does, occur.  Each and every act of domestic violence needs to be taken seriously.

MYTH: Victims provoke their partners’ violence.
FACT: Whatever the problems exist in a relationship, the use of violence is never justifiable or acceptable.  There is NO EXCUSE for domestic violence.

MYTH: Domestic violence is an impulse control or anger management problem.
FACT: Abusers act deliberately and with forethought.  Abusers choose whom to abuse.  For example, an abuser will selectively batter his wife but not his boss.

MYTH: Women are just as violent as men in relationships.
FACT: Some women report striking their male partners during the course of conflict, often in self-defense.  Women, however, rarely commit deliberate acts that result in fear, injury, rape or death.

MYTH:  Domestic violence is bad but it happens else elsewhere.  It doesn’t happen in my community, my neighborhood, my culture, my religion, or my congregation.
FACT: Domestic violence happens to people of every educational and socioeconomic level.  Domestic violence happens in all races, religions, and age groups.  Domestic violence occurs in both heterosexual and same-sex relationships.

MYTH:  It is easy for a victim to leave their abuser, so if he/she doesn’t leave, it means he/she likes the abuse or is exaggerating how bad it is.
FACT: Fear, lack of safe options, and the inability to survive economically prevent many victims from leaving abusive relationships.  Threats of harm, including death to the victim and/or children, keep many battered women/men trapped in abusive situations.  The most dangerous time for a victim is when he/she attempts to leave the relationship, or when the abuser discovers that he/she has made plans to leave.

MYTH: Domestic violence can occur in older women, but it is quite rare. .
FACT: Approximately half of all elder abuse in women is thought to be domestic violence “grown old”.  Older battered women are less likely to seek and receive help.

MYTH: Anger management programs are briefer, more cost effective than, and just as successful as certified batterer intervention programs.
FACT: Although briefer and less expensive than certified batterer intervention programs, anger management programs are not effective to address the deep-rooted issues of batterers.


Source: Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women’s Network.


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