“Domestic violence is a rare occurrence and would never happen in my community.”
Truth: On average, in the United States, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner. In fact, on a typical day there are more than 20,000 phone calls placed to domestic violence hotlines in the US.
“People who stay in abusive relationships are crazy or stupid.”
Truth: Domestic violence tends to build up in a relationship gradually, with the perpetrator often seeming kind, doting, and even charming in the beginning. The cycle of violence involves a “honeymoon” phase wherein the perpetrator is apologetic and begs for forgiveness. This cycle leaves victims disoriented and self-doubting.
“Rape happens from the stranger lurking in the bushes.”
Truth: Almost half of female rape victims are raped by an intimate partner, not a stranger.
“Domestic violence is a ‘straight’ issue and doesn’t affect LGBTQ relationships.”
Truth: Domestic violence occurs at similar rates in straight and LGBTQ populations.
“Couples counseling can solve domestic violence.”
Truth: Couples counseling is NOT recommended for couples experiencing intimate partner violence. Couples counseling insists that both partners contribute to, and take responsibility for, the dysfunction in the relationship. This is inappropriate for someone experiencing domestic violence because that would insinuate the victim is part of the problem.
“Men can’t be victims of domestic violence.”
Truth: Men make up a large portion of domestic violence victims. In fact, 1 in 4 men will be victims of some kind of physical violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime.
“Alcohol and other drugs cause domestic violence.”
Truth: Alcohol may increase the likelihood of a violent incident because it inhibits executive functioning abilities. Yet, alcohol is not a cause, nor an excuse, for domestic violence.
“Domestic violence only happens in poor communities.”
Truth: Domestic violence happens in ALL socioeconomic groups. It affects people from ALL education levels, races, and religions.
“Domestic violence only affects adults.”
Truth: Domestic violence affects the whole family. Between 3.3 and 10 million children witness domestic violence incidents every year. When children are exposed to this, they are more likely to exhibit bed wetting, sleep disorders, violence towards other children, stuttering, and crying.
“People in a domestic violence situation can leave at any time.”
Truth: Over time domestic violence perpetrators use tactics of power and control in order to keep the victim helpless and dependent. This involves cutting off the victim from their family and friends, knowing where the victim is at all times, preventing the victim from having a job or from having access to their own money, making threats or using intimidation to keep the victim from leaving, and much more. Domestic violence victims are often convinced that the perpetrator will harm others or him/herself if the victim leaves.
If you or someone you know is in a domestic violence situation, there is help! Contact your local police or the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233