Myth: Domestic violence doesn’t happen very often
Fact: Studies indicate that up to one third of women are subjected to violence and abuse from their partners
Myth: Domestic violence is a lower class phenomenon
Fact: Australian studies indicate that domestic violence occurs across all socio-economic and ethnic groups
Myth: Alcohol or drugs cause domestic violence
Fact: Alcohol use, drug use and stress do not cause domestic violence; they may go along with domestic violence, but they do not cause the violence. Abusers often use these excuses for their violence. Generally domestic violence happens when an abuser has learned to choose to abuse
Myth: Domestic violence only happens between a husband and wife
Fact: Domestic violence can occur in any spousal, including same sex, relationship
Myth: Domestic violence is a family problem and you shouldn’t interfere
Fact: This myth keeps the silence surrounding domestic violence and prevents the women from getting support. The violence is the perpetrator’s responsibility but economically and socially, domestic violence is everyone’s
responsibility to change attitudes within society that support and condone it.
Myth: Women provoke the violence or they deserve it
Fact: There is no excuse for violence and many women report being hit from behind with no warning. No one deserves abuse regardless of attempted reasoning
Myth: Women who are in a violent relationship must be neurotic or like it, otherwise they would leave
Fact: Women and children should not have to leave, it is the abusers who should leave, however this rarely happens. The abuser usually does not accept that he has done wrong and should therefore not have to leave. There are many factors that prevent women leaving if she is forced to; many women have dependent children and have a lack of financial resources to be able to afford to leave. Partners can threaten the woman, children, relatives or even family pets if she tries to leave.
Myth: Abusers cannot control their abusive behaviour
Fact: Abusers deliberately use violence to control their partners. For example, most victims state that their partner hits them in places where bruises will not show. Similarly, most
abusers do not assault their work-mates or other people – only their partner. This suggests that perpetrators are very much in control, choosing to whom they will be abusive, where and how.
Myth: Men who are violent towards their partners have a mental illness
Fact: Domestic violence is rarely caused by mental illness, but this often used as an excuse
Myth: Violent relationships will get better
Fact: Violent and abusive relationships are resistant to change and rarely improve. If no action is taken they usually get worse. The violence and abuse becomes more frequent and severe and in some cases leads to permanent injury and death. Abusers often do not recognise the violence and abuse as their problem and are unconcerned about the effect of their behaviour on others
“It can happen to anyone, whether the husband is a dock worker or an executive or even a politician. This man was not wearing a sign saying ‘I get my kicks from bashing women and children’, he was a regular ‘take home to Mum and Dad’ type of guy; totally opposite to his true nature. I had no idea he was anything but the loving, gentle person he appeared to be. I loved him very much by the time his darker side surfaced. I thought somehow it was my fault. I thought if I gave him enough love I could change him. I can see how misguided my ideas were, but at the time it was so different”.