Common Myths

There are many false beliefs concerning domestic violence...

Myth#1 DOMESTIC VIOLENCE OCCURS ONLY IN POOR, UNEDUCATED AND MINORITY FAMILIES.
Fact:  Studies of domestic violence consistently have found that violence occurs among all types of families, regardless of income, cultural background, religion, or educational level.

Myth#2 ALCOHOL ABUSE CAUSES DOMESTIC VIOLENCE.
Fact: Perpetrators of violence often use drinking as one of many excuses for their violence and as a way to place the responsibility for their violence elsewhere. Often violence takes place in different forms, such as emotional or psychological abuse when the perpetrator is sober. The underlying issues of power and control are always present. Alcohol and other drugs can sometimes be a catalyst for an explosive or violent incident.

Myth#3 DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IS USUALLY A ONE TIME, ISOLATED OCCURRENCE.
Fact: Domestic violence becomes a pattern of coercion and control that one person exerts over another. In most (but not all) cases a male over women and/or children. Domestic violence can include the use  of a number of tactics, such as intimidation, threats, economic deprivation, isolation and psychological, physical and sexual abuse. Physical violence is just one of these tactics. The various forms of abuse utilised by perpetrators help to maintain power and control over others.

Myth#4  WOMEN EXPERIENCING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ARE MASOCHISTIC AND PROVOKE THE ABUSE. THEY MUST LIKE IT OR THEY WOULD LEAVE.
Fact:  Women living with violence often make repeated attempts to leave violent relationships, but are prevented from doing so by increased violence and control tactics on the part of the perpetrator. Other factors which inhibit a victim’s ability to leave include economic dependence, few viable options for housing and support, unhelpful responses from the criminal justice system or other agencies, social isolation, cultural or religious constraints, a commitment to the abuser and the relationship and a fear of further violence.  The danger to a victim can significantly increase when she attempts to leave, as the perpetrator may escalate his use of violence when he begins to lose control. This is why help and support is so vital during the process of leaving.

Myth#5 ALL MEMBERS OF THE FAMILY MUST CHANGE, IN ORDER FOR THE VIOLENCE TO STOP.
Fact: Only the perpetrator has the ability to stop the violence. Abusive and controlling behaviour is a choice for which the perpetrator must be accountable. Many victims of violence make numerous attempts to change their own behaviour in the hope that this will stop the abuse. This does not work. Changes in family members’ behaviour will not cause the perpetrator to be non-violent.

Myth#6 DOMESTIC VIOLENCE DOES NOT AFFECT MANY PEOPLE.
 Fact: It is difficult to know the extent of domestic violence because of the hidden nature of the problem. Domestic Violence is the most common form of assault in Australia. Women and children who experience domestic violence are much more likely to suffer a number of physical and mental health probblems, as well as being at risk of homelessness and other forms of social disadvantage.  

One in three Australian women will experience physical or sexual violence in her lifetime.

 
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