1. Myth: Domestic Violence Only Happens to Women.

Fact: 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime.

2. Myth: Domestic Violence is ALWAYS physical abuse.

Fact: While physical abuse can be one way of maintaining power and control, it does not occur in every abusive relationship and is usually not the only form of abuse if it is occurring.  Emotional abuse, financial abuse, sexual abuse, isolation, threats, and intimidation are all forms of domestic violence.

3. Myth: If a victim doesn’t leave, it must not be that bad or they are okay with how they are being treated.

Fact: Leaving an abusive relationship is EXTREMELY difficult.  On average, a victim will try to leave an abusive relationship at least 8 times before leaving successfully.  Some of the things abusers do to make leaving hard can include: creating financial dependence, using children as a coercion tool, making threats of violence or retaliation, or using the court system to keep control of the victim even after they leave.

4. Myth: Abuse is an anger issue.

Fact: An abuser does not abuse their victim because they are angry, they do it because they are seeking control.  If abuser’s were really targeting people due to their anger, then they would hurt the victim (physically or emotionally) every time they got upset.  Abuse is about control and how best to implement someone’s power and will over another person.

5. Myth: Abuse can only be found in low-income, un-educated individuals.

Fact: Abuse can be found in families of all education levels and socioeconomic backgrounds.  Abuse is all about control and domination, so it doesn’t matter what kind of background you have, it is still possible to be in an abusive relationship.

6. Myth: Abuse victims knew what they were getting into when they began the relationship.

Fact: Many abusive relationships do not start out blatantly abusive.  Abuser’s will try and groom their victims and will show a different side of themselves.  Often when an abuser starts showing red flags, the victim doesn’t notice them as abusive behavior and sometimes we, as a society, romanticize these behaviors, e.g., an abuser always hanging around the victim and not letting them spend time alone.  This is an isolation and control technique, but many people would see this as the two being so in love they don’t want to spend time apart.

7. Myth: Victims do not care about their children if they stay in the relationship.

Fact: A victim often views themselves as keeping the children safe when they stay in the relationship.  An abuser will often threaten to hurt the children or take the children away from the victim if they leave.  Many times the victim will have no financial stability (act of control by the abuser) and will have no means of taking care of the children if they leave.  The abuser knows this and often will play on the fears of the victim.  Another factor could be that the abuser portrays themselves as a “good parent” and the victim doesn’t want the kids to lose a parent or feel like they have to choose.