Top 5 Myths about Domestic Violence
As people are home during the COVID-19 pandemic, instances of domestic violence have risen drastically, and it is more important than ever to learn about some of the common myths and misconceptions surrounding the crime.
Domestic violence may be the most common crime in the United States. However, because domestic violence cases often go unreported, it can be difficult to truly gauge the severity of the problem in our communities. Domestic violence often looks different in different situations, and the complexity of the issue means misconceptions can arise easily. As people are home during the COVID-19 pandemic, instances of domestic violence have risen drastically, and it is more important than ever to learn about some of the common myths and misconceptions surrounding the crime.
1. Domestic abuse only refers to physical violence
The National Domestic Violence Hotline defines domestic abuse as “a pattern of behaviors used by one partner to maintain power and control over another partner in an intimate relationship.” This includes not only physical abuse, but emotional abuse, financial abuse, and sexual or reproductive coercion. All types of abuse are serious and should be addressed.
2. If a victim of abuse stays in the relationship, the situation must not be that bad
Many victims of abuse have nowhere to go or have children and/or pets they are responsible for. With financial abuse, the victim often has no access to the recourses they would need to leave. Domestic abuse victims have many reasons for staying in a harmful relationship, and it does not mean the situation is fine.
3. If the victim didn’t provoke the abuser, violence wouldn’t happen
While it is normal for any relationship to have disagreements, unhealthy and abusive practices are never okay. Many harmful ideas arise from gender stereotypes that place the man at the head of a household, and this type of reasoning only acts to make excuses for behavior that the abuser is responsible for. It is important to get rid of these types of mindsets in order to make progress toward ending domestic abuse.
4. Domestic abuse only happens to women
Domestic abuse can happen to anyone, man or woman, married or dating, in a heterosexual or LGBT relationship. According to the CDC, 1 in 7 men has experienced severe physical violence at the hands of a domestic partner. Although the majority of domestic abuse happens towards women, it is important to acknowledge that the problem also happens to men, who often have fewer resources specifically dedicated to helping them.
5. Domestic abuse is a private issue and none of my business
Domestic abuse is a serious crime, and you shouldn’t stay silent if you see it happening in your community. Offer to help those you see suffering, and let victims know about the recourses available to them like the Domestic Abuse Hotline (https://www.thehotline.org/resources/) or local crisis shelters. If the victim still feels uncomfortable leaving, you can make it clear you are there to help when it is needed.