Domestic abuse knows no boundaries. It exists at all levels of society and does distinguish culture, education, ethnicity, religion, income or age. Abuse may be physical, sexual, psychological or emotional.
Battering: The Facts
There are some commonly held beliefs about battering which we feel are actually myths…that is, the facts of battering indicate that these beliefs are false. Yet people continue to believe and act on these beliefs. In a sense, they become more powerful that the facts because they influence the ways battered women, their friends and family, the professional staff they encounter, and the general public react to specific instances of battering.
MYTH: Battered women hate men. Battered women need to learn that not all men are bad.
FACT: Battered women do not hate men. They hate being battered.
MYTH: A man’s home is his castle. No one should interfere with the family.
FACT: Battery is a crime! No one has the right to beat another person.
MYTH: A woman who gets beaten brings it upon herself by nagging or provoking her spouse.
FACT: People get beaten for reasons as ridiculous as: the dinner is cold; the TV was turned to the wrong channel, the baby was crying. Abusive people refuse to control their violent impulses and have no right to express their anger violently.
MYTH: A woman who stays with an abuser after being beaten must like to be beaten.
FACT: Being beaten hurts and no one likes it. There are many reasons why victims remain with abusers including their fear of further violence, the financial hardship of leaving, religious reasons, their emotional attachment to their partners, and their belief that families should stay together.
MYTH: Domestic Violence is a “loss of control.”
FACT: Violent behaviour is a choice. Abusers use it to control their victims. Domestic abuse is about the abuser using their control, not losing their control. Their actions are very deliberate.
MYTH: If the victim didn’t like it, she would leave.
FACT: Victims do not like the abuse. They stay in the relationship for many reasons, including fear. Most do eventually leave.
MYTH: Domestic violence only occurs in a small percentage of relationships.
FACT: Estimates report that domestic violence occurs in ¼ to 1/3 of all intimate relationships. That applies to heterosexual as well as same-sex relationships.
MYTH: Abusers are violent in all their relationships.
FACT: Abusers choose to be violent toward their partners in ways they would never consider treating other people.
MYTH: Alcohol/drugs cause abusive behaviour.
FACT: Although many abusive partners also abuse alcohol and/or drugs, this is not the underlying cause of the abuse. Many abusers use alcohol/drugs as an excuse to explain their violence.
MYTH: Once an abused woman, always a battered woman.
FACT: While some abused women have been in more than one abusive relationships, women who receive domestic violence services are the least likely to enter another abusive relationship.