Myths & Facts

Don’t be misled by the Myths

Know the Facts about Domestic Violence

Myth:
Domestic Violence is not a problem in my community.  It only happens to the poor and uneducated.

Fact:
Domestic Violence occurs in every community.  A woman is battered every 15 seconds in the United States, and on average three women are killed each day by their current or former partners.  There were 111,681 acts of domestic violence reported to Florida law enforcement agencies during 2011.  

There is no typical image of an abuser or a survivor/victim.  Domestic violence does not discriminate. Persons from every ethnicity, culture, socio-economic status, religion, marital status, age, and sexual orientation may be survivors/victims or perpetrators.

Myth:
Survivors/victims ask for it, and sometimes provoke it.

Fact: 
This victim-blaming statement suggests that a survivor/victim should look at their behavior as a reason for the violence. Additionally, it suggests that all a survivor/victim has to do is change their behavior to stop the abuse. This myth ignores the criminal nature of the assault. Domestic violence is never the fault of the abused! Batterers choose to abuse, responsibility for violence rests solely with the person who is behaving violently. Rarely do batterers admit they are the cause of the problem, abusers engage in domestic violence to gain control and power in a relationship.

Myth:
It’s only considered domestic violence if it’s physical violence.

Fact:
An abuser’s pattern of behavior may include emotional, economic or spiritual abuse, isolation, pet abuse, threats and using children and pawns. Florida criminal law defines domestic violence as any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another, the reality is that abuse most often starts with manipulation and emotional abuse, it rarely begins with the more recognizable physical or sexual violence.

Myth:
Domestic Violence is a personal, private matter between partners.

Fact:
Many acts of domestic violence are crimes, and the ramifications impact the entire community. To sweep acts of violence behind closed doors minimizes the crime and the violence. It is unconscionable that violence against a partner would be considered less of a crime that violence against a stranger!

Myth:
The abuser just lost their temper, it won’t happen again.

Fact:
Domestic violence is about power and control.  It is a very deliberate pattern of behaviors that an abuser uses against their partner or former partner to establish or maintain power and control through violence, fear and intimidation.

Myth:
Alcohol or drug use is the cause of domestic violence.

Fact: 
Addictions are used as excuses in an attempt to redirect responsibility away from the batterer for the behavior. A batterer will not stop battering simply by gaining control over addictions.

Myth:
It is easy for a battered woman to leave her abuser.

Fact: 
Decisions related to when, and if to leave an abuse relationship are unique, very personal and may be a matter of life and death. The most dangerous time for a survivor/victim is when they initiate a change in the relationship (i.e. disrupting the abusers power and control). This may include separation, divorce, filing a protective injunction. In fact, approximately 75% of the victims were killed as they attempted to leave the relationship or after the relationship had ended.

 

Domestic Violence is:

  • A choice
  • A behavior
  • The responsibility of the batterer
  • A behavior by the batterer that the survivor does not control or is able to change
  • A crime