Domestic Violence Abuse
Domestic Violence Fact and Fiction
Fact, fiction and myths about domestic violence. Domestic violence,
emotional and psychological abuse is more common than generally
MYTH: Only women suffer violent domestic abuse.
FACT: While domestic violence affects at some time
one third of women, 25% of men suffer at some time violence from a
MYTH: Domestic violence is not common.
FACTS: Domestic violence facts and statistics show it is horrifically common.
- In the United States a woman is beaten by a man every 9 seconds.
- 5.3 million women will be abused this year in the United States.
- Of these women 3 to 4 are killed each day by their partner or former partner.
- Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women.
- In South Africa one quarter of all males have raped at least once.
- Two women are raped every minute, 24/7, in South Africa.
Domestic violence is considered as a substantial employee problem by
78% of Human Resource Directors. 60% of senior executives said that
domestic violence has a harmful effect on their company’s productivity
and 56% of corporate leaders are personally aware of specific employees
who are affected by domestic violence.
MYTH: Domestic violence happens only in low-income families.
FACT: Domestic violence happens in all kinds of
families, rich and poor, urban, suburban and rural, in every part of the
country, in every racial, religious and age group.
MYTH: Alcohol and drugs cause domestic violence.
FACT: Alcohol and drugs do not cause domestic
violence. Domestic violence is a choice. Many abusers will make sure
they have alcohol or drugs on hand, in order to use them as an excuse
for their actions. Abusers will also claim their actions resulted
because they could not have the alcohol or drugs.
MYTH: Domestic violence is an anger control issue.
FACT: Domestic violence has nothing to do with
anger. Anger is a tool abusers use to get what they want. Abusers are
actually very much in control because they can stop when someone knocks
on the door or the phone rings; they often direct punches and kicks to
parts of the body where the bruises are less likely to show; and they do
not abuse everyone who makes them “angry”, but waits until there are no
witnesses and abuses the one he says he loves.
MYTH: Abusers and/or victims have low self-esteem.
FACT: Abusers do not have low self-esteem. They
believe they are entitled to have power and control over their partner.
Abusers will pretend to have low-self esteem, if it will make others
believe the violence is not their fault.
Survivors of abuse may have had great self-esteem at the beginning of
the relationship, but the abuser uses emotional abuse: calling her
names, putting her down, telling her it is all her fault, in order to
destroy her self-esteem. Some abusers look for women with low
self-esteem, as they believe she will be more likely to blame herself
and less likely to report his behavior. Other abusers look for women
with high self-esteem, as they may represent a greater challenge to
control over time.
MYTH: Most assaults are really just a couple of slaps and they are not really harmful.
FACT: More than 30 percent of hospital
emergency-room admissions are women who have been abused. Domestic
violence is the single greatest cause of injury to women in the United
MYTH: Domestic violence happens only once or twice in a relationship.
FACT: Abusers usually escalate violent behaviors in frequency and intensity over time.
MYTH: Some women want to be beaten. They ask for it.
They deserve it. Some women go from abuser to abuser – it must be
something about them.
FACT: No one deserves to be abused. Everyone has the
right to live free of violence. No one wants to have an abusive
partner. Women who find that their second or third partner are abusers
will often be blamed by others for the violence. “It must be something
about her.” Or she will blame herself, “I always seem to pick abusers.”
In reality, the abuser uses the tactic of charm early in the
relationship to find out that she was previously abused. He uses this
information to blame her for the violence, “It must be something that
you are doing wrong, or there would not have been two of us.” Or he will
silence her with, “You are not going to tell anyone, because if you do
they will never believe you because you said that before.”
MYTH: Children aren’t aware of the violence in their home.
FACT: Studies show that most children are aware of the violence directed at their mother.
MYTH: Children are not at risk for being hurt or injured.
FACT: Men who abuse their partners are more likely
to abuse the children in the home. Domestic violence is the number one
predictor for child abuse. Subjecting children to an environment full of
violent actions and hateful words is not being a good father.
MYTH: Boys who witness violence will grow up to be abusers.
FACT: Studies have found that 30% of male child
witnesses choose to become abusers as adults. This means that 70% do not
become abusers and are committed to ending the cycle of violence in
their lives. The majority of children, male and female, who witness
domestic violence become advocates against violence when they grow up;
committed to raising their children without the use of violence. Young
men in our society must never feel they are destined to become violent.
We send a dangerous message to young men and boys when we imply they
are fated to become violent and we give abusers an excuse for their
Fact: getting abused is not your fault.
Domestic violence may lead to murder. Three-quarters of all women who
are murdered are murdered by their husbands, ex-husbands or partners.
Domestic violence costs the U.S. economy an estimated $6 billion
annually. According to the American Institute of Domestic Violence, the
health-related costs of rape, physical assault, stalking, and homicide
by partners is nearly $6 billion each year. Of this total, $4 billion is
for victims requiring direct medical and mental health care services.
Domestic violence victims lose nearly 8.0 million days of paid work each
year. This lost productivity, absenteeism and earnings lost amounts to
almost $2 billion annually.
Domestic violence against a partner or child is a crime. There are
domestic abuse laws forbidding anyone to physically harm or harass
another person in the home. These include laws such as the Domestic
Violence Act and the Violence Against Women Act.
Violence in the home is not something to be kept behind a closed
door, no matter how embarrassing it may feel. The intimacy of a
relationship is not to be confused with the partner’s abusive behavior.
The abuser’s main tool that makes it possible to continue the abuse
is silence. Remember, you are not alone. One woman in four is abused in
some way during her life.
No matter how much an abusive partner professes “love,” it is not
possible to systematically abuse the person one truly loves. The abuser
is more than likely confusing feelings of lust and power with the word
If you are in an abusive relationship, you need to speak to someone
you trust, family or friend, and start a plan to get yourself out of
the situation. If it has gone so far that you have lost contact with
those you used to confide in, resume at least one of those
relationships. A strong relationship with someone outside the abusive
relationship is imperative.
Do not try and deal with this on your own.
A major problem with relationship abuse are social attitudes that encourage abuse.
If you do not have support within your social circle, family or
friends, then find a women’s refuge. There you will be welcomed with
understanding. There are safe places to go for domestic violence help.
In the United States the National Domestic Violence Hotline
is available in all States. Help is available to callers 24 hours a
day, 365 days a year. Hotline advocates are available for victims and
anyone calling on their behalf to provide crisis intervention, safety
planning, information and referrals to agencies in all 50 states, Puerto
Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Assistance is available in English
and Spanish with access to more than 170 languages through interpreter
services. If you or someone you know is frightened about something in
your relationship, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline
1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or TTY 1-800-787-3224.
In the UK there are Refuge and Women’s Aid, who, in partnership run the Freephone 24-hour National Domestic Violence Helpline. Contact them on:
0808 2000 247
This helpline is there 24 hours a day, seven days a week for women experiencing domestic violence. All calls are confidential – they will not reveal that a woman has been in touch with them and will not reveal any information without your permission.