3 damaging myths about domestic abuse

by | Jun 5, 2019 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

Our understanding of domestic abuse and the issues surrounding it have evolved in the 25 years since DOVE Center first opened in 1994. Thanks to years of research, countless studies, and the amplification of survivor voices our society has advanced to have a better understanding of interpersonal violence. And the better we understand the issues surrounding and leading to such violence, the more equipped we are to hold perpetrators accountable, identify strategies to prevent violence, and support survivors.

Even though much progress has been made and awareness grows every day, domestic violence is still primarily considered a private matter to be remedied by the very individuals and families immersed in its insidious cycle. And until we as a community take a stand on behalf of all victims, and against interpersonal violence in all its forms, it will remain a hidden crime with deadly outcomes.

George R.R. Martin wrote in his novel A Clash of Kings, “The unseen enemy is always the most fearsome.” The more openly we can talk about domestic abuse, what it actually looks like, who its victims are, and identifiable patterns or warning signs for it, the more capable we become of helping those who may be experiencing it. And that task is on you, on me – on all of us!

Part of our organization’s mission is to relentlessly pursue prevention education – and part of that starts with highlighting preconceived notions that, intentionally or not, contribute to the toleration of domestic abuse. Don’t think abuse is tolerated? Consider these three common and damaging myths about domestic abuse:

Domestic violence is a women’s issue.
Statistically, women are more likely to experience abuse from a male partner. But it is not only a women’s issue. Studies reveal that 1 in 9 men will be abused by a female partner. Studies also show that up to 1 in 2 queer women and 1 in 3 queer men experience some sort of intimate partner violence. Additionally, both males and members of the LGBTQ community are less likely to report abuse. (Most likely in part due to this very misconception!)
The victim can “just leave”.
The most dangerous time for a victim of domestic abuse is when they are leaving an abuser. In a study done with men that killed their wives, interviews revealed that the events that immediately preceded the murders were threats of separation or actual separations. On top of the literal danger of leaving, abusers are crafty. They exert their control by creating isolation, financial dependence, emotional manipulation, and fear – all factors making it extremely difficult to “just leave.”
People lie about abuse.
Shameful feelings regularly coincide with domestic abuse, causing many to stay silent. If someone tells you they are being abused—assume it is true. It may be the only time they ask for help and it is up to you to support them!
We challenge you to challenge these misconceptions when you hear them. You never know who is listening – maybe someone in the crowd is a victim of abuse at home and if they see you as an informed and safe person, they may choose to disclose the abuse. Be that safe person in which friends and loved ones can confide; and know your local resources.

DOVE Center operates a 24-hour helpline answered by caring and trained advocates who are ready to take your call. If you are experiencing abuse, or wonder if you are, give us a call. We want to provide an empathetic ear and offer support. We aren’t here to judge or shame – We are here to help!

DOVE’s 24-hour helpline: (435) 628-0458.