Domestic Violence Myths and Facts
Although this weekend with its huge national attention on one giant football game is festive and fun in many ways, over the last few years, there’s been widespread recognition that domestic violence increases around the time of the Super Bowl. New Directions, an organization in one of our neighboring counties is devoted to reducing the impact and occurrence of emotional, physical, and sexual violence. One first step towards that goal of harmony in our homes is to separate myths from facts. Here are four of those:
“Myth: Domestic Violence is only physical.
Fact: Domestic violence does not need to be physical to be abuse. It comes in many forms, including physical, emotional, verbal, sexual and financial.
Myth: Domestic Violence doesn’t occur in a lot of relationships.
Fact: One in three women, and one in four men experience physical or sexual violence with an intimate partner in their lifetime, and this includes stalking. Domestic violence can affect anyone regardless of race, age, religion, sexual orientation, or gender.
Myth: Men cannot be victims of domestic violence.
Fact: While men don’t report domestic violence as often as women, they too are victims.
Myth: Domestic violence is not an issue in the LGBTQ community.
Fact: Sixty-one percent of bisexual women have experienced rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner, and forty-one percent of lesbians have experienced this. Among men who had cohabited with same sex partners, 23.1 percent had experienced rape, assault or stalking by a partner. Thirty to fifty percent of transgender people experience partner violence at some point in their lives. “
The resources from New Directions also include Red Flags, which are behaviors abusers use to control victims, and some warning signs that some one may be abusive. Those Red Flags range from: “wanting to move too quickly into a relationship; insisting you stop participating in hobbies or activities, quit school, or quit your job; lying a lot all the way through trying to change you, taking no responsibility for his or her actions and blaming others, abusing alcohol and other drugs, and being physically abusive to you even once.”
One thing all domestic violence prevention programs assert is: abuse is never the fault of the victim. If some one you know is struggling with abuse, there are a few things you can do: Listen to the person, and validate what they’re going through; let them know you are concerned for their safety and health; be patient; it may take time for a victim to act; leaving is a process not an event.
If YOU are yourself, a victim of domestic violence these agencies encourage you to do the following: Know that it is not your fault; don’t tell your abuser if you are planning to leave; create a safety plan; Seek help by calling a domestic violence advocacy center, seek counseling and talk to a friend. In an emergency call 911.
With appreciation to New Directions, and Safe Home Systems for information in this report,