Myths and Realities of Abuse
MYTH - Alcohol and drugs make men violent
REALITY - Domestic abuse is not caused by alcohol, drugs, unemployment, stress or ill health. These are only excuses or a way to justify an abuser's behaviour.
MYTH - Domestic abuse only happens in poor families
REALITY Domestic abuse can happen in any neighbourhood, abusers can be from any ‘class’, they can be of any age, be able bodied or have a disability, belong to any religious group, be of any ethnic background and abusers can be male or female and of any sexual orientation.
MYTH - Violence and abuse are about anger and loss of control
REALITY - Abusers are careful about who, how and where they abuse, showing choice. They are aware of their actions and are therefore not ‘out of control’. Abusers use abusive behaviours to get what they want and gain control.
MYTH - Stress causes domestic abuse
REALITY - Domestic abuse is not ‘caused’ by stress; domestic abuse is a misuse of power it is behaviour which has been learned and is carried out with intent. Abusers often blame other people or things for their behaviour. Being stressed is just an excuse, a way of avoiding taking responsibility.
MYTH - Victims of abuse often provoke and ask for it
REALITY - You can’t make someone hit you, it is their choice, their responsibility. Often victims go out of their way to avoid conflict in a relationship and the abuse still continues. Nobody ever asks for abuse, abuse is never the fault of the victim.
MYTH - People who abuse are mentally ill, they can’t help it
REALITY - Most people who have mental ill health are not abusive. Domestic abuse is not the result of mental ill health. Most abusers make clear choices about who they abuse and where the abuse takes place. Their behaviour is not random and unpredictable; they do not abuse strangers and work colleagues or friends. Abusers are ordinary people, the person next door, a community leader etc.
MYTH - Domestic abuse can’t be that bad or victims would leave
REALITY - Victims often feel trapped in their abusive relationship, by a number of things including fear, shame, lack of money and/or debts, worries over children, low self esteem, still loving the abuser, lack of knowledge about the help they could get, being isolated by location or language or complex needs.
MYTH - Domestic abuse is private; you shouldn’t get involved
REALITY - Domestic violence is a crime. We all have a role to play in ending it.