Myths About Domestic Violence And Why They Are Wrong | Patti Austin Official Website

Myths About Domestic Violence And Why They Are Wrong

By on Thursday, June 4th, 2009 in Blog

Domestic violence is not a problem in my community.
Michigan State Police records from 1997 show that a woman is killed by a partner or former partner about once a week in Michigan. Domestic violence often leads to homicide. In 1998, the Michigan State Police reported more than 5,000 victims of domestic violence in Oakland County. It has been estimated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation that a woman is being beaten every 15 seconds.

Domestic violence only happens to poor women and women of color.
Domestic violence happens in all kinds of families and relationships. Persons of any class, culture, religion, sexual orientation, marital status, age, and sex can be victims or perpetrators of domestic violence. Acquiring a high quality of education does not exempt a person from domestic violence. Demographics play a small role in determining the capacity of a person in hurting another. Anyone can be violent. Anyone can be a victim.

Some people deserve to be hit.
No one deserves to be abused. Period. The only person responsible for the abuse is the abuser. The abuser is the only one who has the ability to stop the abuse. There is no such thing as “I provoked him to abuse me”. It is a mentality that should be avoided and stopped. Provoking your partner does not give him a valid reason to actually hit you. Physical violence, even among family members, is wrong. There are no excuses for it. It is unacceptable, even in patriarchal societies. Physical violence is punishable by law.

Alcohol, drug abuse, stress, and mental illness cause domestic violence.
Alcohol use, drug use, and stress do not cause domestic violence; they may go along with domestic violence, but they do not cause the violence. Abusers often say they use these excuses for their violence — (Michigan Judicial Institute, Domestic Violence Benchbook, 1998, p. 1.6 – 1.7). Generally, domestic violence happens when an abuser has learned and chooses to abuse — (Michigan Judicial Institute, Domestic Violence Benchbook, 1998, p. 1 – 5). Domestic violence is rarely caused by mental illness, but it is often used as an excuse for domestic violence — (Michigan Judicial Institute, Domestic Violence Benchbook, 1998, p. 1 – 8 ).

Domestic violence is a personal problem between a husband and a wife.
Domestic violence affects everyone. It affects the community you move around in for human beings are interconnected. An abused person cannot contribute in a positive way to her/ his work or community if she is under a great deal of emotional stress. An abusive person cannot strive to live harmoniously with his spouse, more so with people outside his home. About 1 in 3 American women have been physically or sexually abused by a husband or boyfriend at some point in their lives — (Commonwealth Fund, Health Concerns Across a Woman’s Lifespan: the Commonwealth Fund 1998 Survey of Women’s Health, 1999). In 1996, 30% of all female murder victims were killed by their husbands or boyfriends — (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 1997). 40% to 60% of men who abuse women also abuse children — (American Psychological Association, Violence and the Family, 1996).

If it was that bad, she would just leave.
There are many reasons why women may not leave. She may not have enough financial resources to live away from her spouse. She may not have a place to live in. She may not have enough support from her own family or the legal system. Not leaving an abusive relationship does not mean that the situation is okay or that the victim wants to be abused. Leaving can be dangerous. The most dangerous time for a woman who is being abused is when she tries to leave — (United States Department of Justice, National Crime Victim Survey, 1995).



I'm a certified deescalation trainer and anti-violence trainer. In a recent training class, I discussed the Rihanna / Chris Brown abuse story, showed them the photo of Rihanna's bruised and battered face and read them the police report of what Brown was accused of doing. Shockingly, it was a couple of girls (and self-described fans of Chris Brown) who said that she clearly must have "deserved it". I knew I had a long way to go with that class. :-(

Phyllis Alesia Perry
Phyllis Alesia Perry

This is very, very good information about violence against women and intimate partner violence. Thanks for being thoughtful and informative!