Relationship Violence Myths
On the facts about relationship violence
INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE AFFECTS ONLY A SMALL PART OF THE POPULATION +
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence 25-50% of people in relationships experiences at least one form of relationship violence.
INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE OCCURS ONLY AMONG POOR, UNEDUCATED FAMILIES AND/OR AMONG PEOPLE OF COLOR +
Battering affects people of all classes, races, religions, nationalities and ages, married or not, straight and LGBTQ.
FIGHTS BETWEEN MATES ARE A NATURAL PART OF LIFE +
Disagreements occur in all relationships, but what distinguishes a disagreement or “heated argument” from abuse is emotional degradation and/or physical violence. Studies among college students revealed that as many as 27% of women were physically abused, and 36% were sexually abused by their partners.
A SLAP NEVER HURT ANYONE +
A slap can kill. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, 35% of all women who arrive at doctors’ offices or hospitals seeking emergency treatment are victims of domestic violence. Battering causes emotional damage and physical disability — even death. Fear of serious injury is based in fact: the most dangerous time for abused women is during a separation. Nearly one-half of all women murdered in the U.S. are killed by their male partners.
ABUSED WOMEN MUST SECRETLY WANT TO BE HIT; OTHERWISE THEY WOULD LEAVE +
Victims may be reluctant to leave for a complex set of factors, such as shame, fear of greater injury or death, degraded self-esteem, even love or concern for the abuser. If they are teens they may be afraid to ask their parents for help or fear that they won’t be believed because their partners are so popular or good-looking. They might be disabled or deaf, isolated in rural areas, or simply have no idea that help is available. This is often true for women who don’t speak English, and who may be threatened with deportation if they tell.
SOME VICTIMS ASK FOR GETTING SMACKED AROUND BY HOW THEY ACT +
Studies have repeatedly shown that what a woman does or doesn’t do has no effect on reducing the violence in a relationship. Intimate partner violence is about the need for power and control on the part of the abuser. Often they justify their behavior by blaming their victims. Nobody deserves this kind of abuse.
PEOPLE BATTER THEIR PARTNERS BECAUSE THEY’VE BEEN DRINKING, OR BECAUSE THE VICTIM HAS BEEN DRINKING +
Alcohol and drugs are an excuse for violence, not the cause. Even chronic substance abusers batter when they are sober, and not all batterers are users of alcohol or drugs. Victims sometimes use drugs and alcohol to mask their pain and escape the violence, and then become addicted.
INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE ONLY OCCURS BETWEEN MARRIED PEOPLE +
Intimate partner violence is just as common among dating couples as it is among married couples. The difference is that our understanding of abuse among married couples is greater than what we know about dating couples. As a result, sometimes the knowledge of law enforcement or the laws that they must enforce do not meet the needs of victims of dating violence.
* Sources: University of Virginia; Stanford University; Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services, Inc.; Christopher P. Krebs, et al., The Campus Sexual Assaults (CSA) Study: Final Report, published by the U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice (October 2007); U.S. Department of Justice, 2005 National Crime Victimization Study, 2005