Myths, Realities and Excuses
Myth: A onetime incident means the person is a victim of domestic violence.
IPV has nothing to do with a single isolated incident. When we talk about domestic violence/IPV we are talking about a pattern of behavior. Physical injuries result in hospitalization and can lead to death; over 1/3 of all murders in America are related to domestic violence/IPV. The laws in most states do address a one time incident as domestic violence, and individuals can be charged with domestic violence for a one time incident.
Myth: Once a battered woman, always a battered woman.
Studies have shown that women who were once in an abusive marriage, left and received constructive intervention rarely remarry an abuser.
Myth: Domestic Violence only affects a small percentage of the population.
Domestic violence or IPV is the single greatest cause of injury to women between the ages of 15-44; more common than rapes, car accidents, muggings combined. In fact, every 9 seconds a woman is assaulted by someone that “loves” her.
Myth: Middle/Upper class women are not battered as frequently or as violently as poorer women.
Middle/upper class women are more likely to keep domestic violence a secret for fear of social embarrassment or harming their husband’s careers. However, domestic violence occurs across all socio-economic levels and for some perpetrators, money can help hide domestic violence.
Myth: Batterers are violent in all of their relationships.
Batterers in general are not violent in other aspects of their lives.
Only 5-10 percent of convicted batterers have assault records with
Myth: “She likes it” or abused people are masochistic. They enjoy it or they would not stay in the relationship.
It is very difficult to leave an abusive relationship.
Leaving a relationship can be dangerous. Leaving can be very complicated and many, many factors are in play; shame, not wanting friends and family to know, not having any resources, not having any place to go due to isolation, insecurity about supporting children and themselves on their own, concern and love for the abuser, leaving that persons own home or possessions. Leaving does not guarantee safety; in fact, it can be the most dangerous time for the person. Abusers will go to great lengths to stalk, trace and find a former partner.
Myth: The Abusive Parent never hurts the children and is a good parent.
Reality: If the parent is abusive to another parent it is going to hurt the children. You can not be a good parent and be abusive to another parent. Children living in homes where there is violence and abuse have severe emotional and educational problems. Sadly, the cycle of abuse is likely to repeat itself in these children’s adult lives.
Myth: Batterers do not love their partners.
When not in a violent period, batterers can be charming and loving. This is part of the cycle and abusers are fully aware of what they need to do to try and maintain a relationship. Remember, it is about power and control over another person.
Abusers rarely take responsibility for their actions. They are famous for excuses that “caused” them to act the way they did. Both abusers and others make excuses for violent behavior. Here are a few:
I was angry.
If an abuser has anger issues, it would not only be directed towards their partner.
Can’t handle stress or cope.
Everyone has stress in their life, but they do not choose to act violent or become abusive.
Abuser states that they are insecure.
This may be true, but is no excuse for violence or abuse.
Abuser claims that they have been provoked.
Violence and/or abuse are a choice.
Abuser states they were high or drunk.
Many people drink and/or use drugs and never become violent.
Abuser states that they lost control.
An abuser’s problem is not that he loses control of himself/herself, but instead, feels loss of control over partner.
Characteristics of Abusers
If you are experiencing this in your relationship, please speak to an Advocate or Counselor who specializes in domestic violence/IPV.
- Keeps track of what you are doing all the time and criticizes you for little things.
- Monitors your phone, texts, emails and has no regard for your privacy.
- Constantly accuses you of being unfaithful.
- Prevents or discourages you from seeing friends or family, or going to work or school.
- Controls all the money you spend, including your own.
- Puts you down you in front of others.
- Destroys your property or things that you care about.
- Threatens to hurt you, the children or pets.
- Threatens to use a weapon against you.
- Forces you to have sex against your will or do sexual acts against your will.
- Blames you for their outburst.
Abusers frequently have the following characteristics:
- Often blow up in anger at small incidents
- Are excessively jealous:
- Isolation: Never likes friends or family. Complains constantly about time you spend with them.
- Abuser is insecure.
- Tend to have extreme moods.
- Can verbally be very cruel to try to “break” down their partner.
- Always blames others for problems and never takes responsibility for actions.
- May have a history of family violence.
- Abuser may admit to violence in the past, but will always play themselves as the “victim”.
- Abusive to children and/or animals.
- Believes that conflicts are best resolved with violence.
- Uses physical force during arguments.
- Uses verbal threats, “I will kill you”, or “I will slap your mouth shut”.
- Holds ideas of outdated or traditional gender roles.
- Has an unrealistic expectation of people and relationships. (Wants to marry or move in as soon as possible.Looks to you for issues of self esteem.)
- May use “playful” force during sex, and/or may want to act out sexual fantasies in which the victim is helpless.
Internet Safety Alert
Your abuser can monitor the use of your computer and the Internet. Learn how to protect yourself.