Myths

Myth

Domestic violence is not a problem in my community.

Reality

  • Domestic violence does not discriminate. It can, and does, affect any individual regardless of culture, age, gender, disability, income, sexuality, ethnicity, religious beliefs or lifestyle.
  • In 2013, McHenry County filed 668 cases of domestic battery and order of protection violations. This number does not account for the countless victims who do not call police.

Myth

Alcohol, drug abuse, stress and mental illness cause abuse.

Reality

  • Abuse is a choice, though offenders often try to use alcohol or drug use as an excuse for their violence. Though alcohol use does not cause abuse, it is a significant risk factor for violence.
  • Domestic violence is rarely caused by mental illness, but it is often used as an excuse for domestic violence.
  • Abuse is a method to gain power and control in a relationship, not a reaction to stress or anger.

Myth

If the abuse is really that bad, the victim would just leave.

Reality

  • There are countless reasons why a victim does not leave. By remaining in an abusive situation, the victim is not condoning violence, nor does it mean she deserves or wants the abuse.
  • The most dangerous time for a victim occurs when she leaves or attempts to leave the abusive environment.

Myth

If a victim acts differently, she can stop the abuse.

Reality

  • In domestic violence cases, the abuser seeks power and control regardless of the victim’s actions.
  • “Trying harder” will not stop the abuse. Victims are never to blame for the abuser’s violence.

Myth

Anger causes domestic violence.

Reality

  • Abusers use domestic violence behaviors to gain control. Domestic violence is the opposite of “out-of-control” behavior.
  • Abusers choose times and places to abuse designed to have the most powerful impact with the least risk.

 

Sources:

http://www.ncadv.org/files/SubstanceAbuse.pdf

Michigan Judicial Institute, Domestic Violence Benchbook; http://www.domesticviolece.org/common-myths/)

http://www.domesticviolence.org/common-myths/ (United States Department of Justice, National Crime Victim Survey, 1995)