Domestic violence is a misunderstood plague, and the myths surrounding it don’t make things simpler. Stop believing myths and start believing victims.
Myths about Domestic Violence
While it is always a good thing for society to have a dialogue about these matters, it’s important to steer the conversation in the right direction. In the case of domestic violence, myths are more than just a source of misinformation: they embolden perpetrators and shame victims into silence.
If we are to have any hope of putting an end to domestic violence, we need to have a form understanding of abuse myths and how to put them to rest.
MYTH: Victims can leave whenever they want to.
FACT: At face value, the solution to domestic violence seems simple: pack your bags and leave. But there are a number of reasons and circumstances that force people to stay in abusive relationships. Fear of reprisal, a lack of alternative accommodation and financial destitution are some of the things that prevent many victims from leaving.
MYTH: Abusers are monsters.
FACT: You’ve probably seen a number of campaigns that try to distinguish abusers from the rest of society. It’s not uncommon for phrases such as “real men don’t abuse” or “abusers are animals” to be used in anti-abuse campaigns. But not all abusers behave like heartless criminals. In fact, plenty of abusers are often described as gentle, considerate and respectful by their peers and colleagues.
MYTH: Kids need a two-partner household more than anything.
FACT: A safe environment headed by two loving caregivers is the most important thing a child can have. When children witness one parent abusing another, they develop deep emotional scars, and could possibly imitate that behaviour in their romantic relationships. Children are better off in a single-parent household if that’s the only way to guarantee their physical and emotional safety.
MYTH: Alcohol, stress and anger cause domestic abuse.
FACT: Alcohol is a convenient excuse for domestic violence, because it places responsibility for an abuser’s behaviour elsewhere. But giving the bottle a break won’t stop the abuse. The same goes for stress. Everyone feels stress at some point, but it cannot be used as an excuse for taking their anger out on their colleagues or loved ones. Abuse is a calculated evil, which explains why perpetrators enact their violence in private and often hit their victims in places where bruises won’t be seen easily.
MYTH: Domestic violence is a private/family issue.
No one wants to be seen as nosy, but that is often the price you pay for asking an abuse victim if they need help. It’s easy to assume an abuse victim will receive help from their family, because close relatives are usually our lifeline in times of trouble. But think about this: if someone is being abused in a family setting, what are the chances that’s where they’re going to get help?
The best thing you can arm yourself with in the fight against abuse is information. Separate fact from fiction so you can know what type of help to offer.