Efforts to combat domestic violence are, many times, hindered by myths and misconceptions. Discover common myths about domestic violence here.
Occurring at a rate of one case per 15 seconds, domestic violence in the US is much more common than what you may think. That equates to at least 10 million people victims of family and domestic violence.
Researchers say that almost, if not all US doctors will come across a victim of violence at some point.
As common as domestic violence is, rumors and fallacies about it are just as common. These myths about domestic violence aren’t helping at all. They may even be contributing to more cases, as they can give abusers a sense of “security”.
So, what exactly is the truth behind domestic abuse and violence? What are the fallacies behind these crimes that we should all stop believing?
That’s exactly what this post is all about, so be sure to keep reading!
1. Men Are Unlikely to Be Victims of Domestic Violence
One of the most common domestic violence myths is that men are unlikely to suffer from such acts.
Granted, studies do show that domestic violence affects more women than men. However, more men appear to be victims of shooting or stabbing by an intimate partner.
For instance, between 2002 and 2011, 8% of men said their partner shot, stabbed, or hit them with a weapon. During the same year, 4% of women reported the same type of violence against them.
In total, there were more cases of weaponized attacks against men during this time frame. That’s 27% of males compared to 18% of females.
The bottom line is, everyone, regardless of gender, can be victims of domestic violence. We should all stop thinking that intimate partner violence discriminates against gender.
2. It’s Not Domestic Abuse If There Aren’t Physical Injuries
Many people seem to think that acts of violence are only physical. Wrong.
Family or domestic abuse can take the form of mental or emotional abuse. Verbal abuse is the most common non-physical tactic abusers employ on their victims.
Verbal abuse can be direct, such as threatening, name-calling, lying, blaming, and criticizing. Indirect verbal abuse, however, is subtle but just as insidious.
For instance, abusers can say “I’ll kill myself if you leave me” in a loving or even joking way. They may also threaten to reveal “secrets” to your loved ones or friends.
Either way, verbal abuse is any speech and behavior aimed to control, punish, or manipulate. Over time, this can cause serious mental and emotional effects on the victims. They’ll begin to walk on eggshells and even start to distrust and doubt themselves.
3. It’s Not Rape Since They’re Partners or Married
This is one of the common myths about domestic violence that we should all stop believing. Rape is rape, regardless of marital status. It’s rape even if it was only an attempt to penetrate the non-consenting victim.
Speaking of sexual abuse and violence, it can also take the form of “made-to-penetrate” (MTP) cases.
MTP involves forcing the victim to perform sexual penetration on another person.
MTP victims are often physically forced to penetrate the perpetrator. In some cases, they are first rendered drugged or drunk to make them unable to give their consent.
Male perpetrators are more common in cases of rape against male victims. 87% of male rape victims reported another male being the perpetrator. However, female perpetrators account for 79% of MTP male victimizations.
4. Stalking Isn’t Violence
Non-physical domestic abuse can also take the form of stalking by an ex or estranged partner. The most common is “shadowing” or constantly following the victim. They often follow this by making unwanted “visits” at their victim’s home or workplace.
However, stalking can also be in the form of repeated phone calls. Some stalkers may even vandalize their victim’s property.
All these actions can make a victim fear for their safety and well-being. That’s why many states include it in their domestic and family violence laws.
5. It Mustn’t Be That Bad If the Victim Stays
Some even think that the abused like what’s happening to them. Again, this is a myth that we need to bury, as it undermines the suffering of victims. While some stay in abusive relationships because of love, many others do so due to fear.
Domestic abuse and violence have already killed many people. In 2017 alone, 2,237 deaths occurred due to such crimes. Half of all female deaths result from the violence of an intimate partner.
So no, it’s not a case of being “tolerable”. Neither is it that easy to leave an abusive or violent relationship.
Victims fear not only for their lives but that of their children and other family members too. That’s why many of them stay, and never because they like it nor because it’s not that bad.
6. It’s Not Abuse If It Doesn’t Happen Often
Some think that a “one-time” incident isn’t domestic abuse or violence. Some even believe that such “isolated” cases are “accidental”.
The truth is, it can take only a single event of violence to kill. So no, abuse doesn’t have to be an ongoing situation. Any abusive or violent act against a partner or family member is domestic violence.
7. Educated and Intelligent People Aren’t Prone to Domestic Abuse
Anyone can be a victim of domestic violence, regardless of how well-educated they are. The same goes for the abuser—many of them are intelligent and even have solid careers.
It’s Time to Permanently Bust All These Myths About Domestic Violence
If you know anyone who believes these myths about domestic violence, do your best to correct them. This way, you can do your part in helping prevent more people from believing such rumors. Sharing only facts may even help encourage abuse victims to seek help before they are no longer able to.
Interested in more family-related guides and advice? Then please feel free to browse the blog section of this site!