Myths and Realities

Myths and Realities About Domestic Violence

Myth: A slap never hurt anyone.
Reality: Domestic violence can occur once or over a period of many years and becomes more frequent as time goes on. Any physical violence is serious.  Physical injuries result in many victims being hospitalized. This violence can lead to death; over one-third of all the murders in America take place between family members. Constant beating is also emotionally damaging and can lead to low self-esteem, little or no self-worth and little self confidence.

Myth: Abused people are masochistic. They enjoy it or they would not stay in the relationship.
Reality: It is very difficult to leave an abusive relationship. Victims may be reluctant to leave for a complex set of factors such as shame, economic dependence, insecurity about supporting their children alone, love or concern for the abuser. They may have to give up their home, their possessions, their work or their friends. When a victim does leave, it does not guarantee that s/he is safe. Abusers will often go to great lengths to trace their partner or ex in order to continue the abuse.

Myth: Abuse is restricted to poorly educated families from lower socioeconomic classes.
Reality: Abuse is found in every level of society. Survivors of different races or ethnicity all experience the same rate of battering. High school graduates and women with some college education have the highest rates of battering. Women in cities, suburbs, and rural areas all experience the same rate of abuse.

Myth: Domestic Violence is more/less common in heterosexual relationships than it is in LGBT relationships. Only heterosexual women are battered.
Reality: Based on several studies in the early 1990s, partner abuse occurs in 25-33% of LGBT relationships, which is roughly equal to prevalence of heterosexual domestic violence.

Myth: Domestic violence is a crime committed by men against women only.
Reality: We often think of abuse as only physical, and often males don’t experience outright physical abuse from their female abusers. To be sure, most survivors of domestic violence are female, but according to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, 15% of their callers are male victims.