Myth: Domestic violence is more common for poor people.
Fact: Domestic Violence happens in all kinds of families and relationships. Persons of any class, culture, religion, sexual orientation, marital status, age, and sex can be victims or perpetrators of domestic violence. In fact, middle-class women often face barriers to get public assistance when they decide to leave because of their family’s above poverty line financial status.
Myth: When batterers are violent, it is because they “lost their temper,” and not because they meant to hurt their partner.
Fact: Batterers use violence because it helps them gain and maintain power and control, not because they lose control of their emotions. In fact, batterers are very much in control. For instance, batterers choose whom they abuse (their partners not their co-workers), when they abuse (in public or in private), and how they abuse (hitting where the bruises don’t show).
Myth: Domestic violence is rare.
Fact: Domestic violence affects 1 out of 4 women at some point during her lifetime. Men can also be victims of domestic violence, but women make up about 97% of domestic violence survivors. Domestic violence happens equally in heterosexual and homosexual relationships.
Myth: Domestic violence is a personal problem between the adults in the household.
Fact: Domestic Violence affects everyone.
- 72% of all murder-suicides involve an intimate partner; 94% of the victims of these murder suicides are female.
- 70% of men who abuse women also abuse children.
- According to a recent American Bar Association report, experts estimate that between 3.3 and 10 million children witness domestic violence annually. The report cites numerous links between serious emotional and psychological problems from exposure to domestic violence:
- Depression, hopelessness, and other forms of emotional distress in teenagers are strongly associated with exposure to domestic violence.
- Infants often fail to thrive.
- Children may exhibit bed wetting, sleep disorders, violence towards other children, stuttering, and crying.
- Children exposed to domestic violence have a tendency to identify with the aggressor and to lose respect for the victim; men who witness their fathers’ abuse their mothers are three times more likely to abuse their wives than men who have not witnessed abuse. A woman who witnesses her father abuse her mother has a much greater likelihood of becoming a battered woman herself. (“The Impact of Domestic Violence on Children,” American Bar Association 1995)
- In 47% of cases, the perpetrator and victim had at least one
minor child together.
Myth: If it were that bad, the victim would just leave.
Fact: There are many reasons why a victim may not leave. Not leaving does not mean that the situation is okay or that the victim wants to be abused. Leaving can be dangerous. The most dangerous time for a victim who is being abused is when the victim tries to leave.
Myth: Domestic violence is not a serious problem in the U.S. or in Georgia.
Fact: Battering is the single largest cause of injury to women in the United States – over mugging, automobile accidents and rape, combined. (NCADV 2003). In 2014, Georgia was rated the 9th highest in the nation for the rate of domestic violence fatalities (GCFV 2015). In 2014, Georgia mourned at least 117 domestic violence related deaths.
Myth: Couples counseling is the best solution for domestic violence.
Fact: Couples counseling in NOT recommended for couples trying to end the violence in their
relationship, due to the power and control underlying the violence. CFVC recommends that abusers attend a state certified family violence intervention program (FVIP) and survivors seek assistance from a domestic violence advocate.
Myth: Pregnant women are not victims of domestic violence.
Fact: “National surveys indicate that 5.3% of pregnant women each year experience domestic violence. This means as many as 324,000 women experience intimate partner violence during pregnancy.” (Physical Abuse Around the Time of Pregnancy: an Examination of Prevalence and Risk Factors in 16 states. Maternal and Child Health Journal. 2003; 7:31-43; Violence and reproductive health; current knowledge and future research directions. Maternal and Child Health Journal 2000; 4(2): 79-84)
Myth: People who are religious do not batter and are not victims of battering.
Fact: Batterers can be religious people, including clergy and lay leaders. Many battered women have deep religious beliefs which may encourage them to keep the family together at all costs.
Myth: Batterers are violent in all their relationships.
Fact: Most batterers do not use violence in other non-intimate relationships to resolve conflict. “Batterer’s typically present a different personality outside the home than they do inside, which complicates a woman’s ability to describe her experiences to people outside the relationship.” (K.J. Wilson, Ed.D., When Violence Begins at Home, 1997.)
Myth: Drinking and/or drug abuse cause battering.
Fact: There seems to be a correlation between alcohol and battering. Although alcohol abuse may increase the likelihood of violent behavior, it does not cause or excuse it.