Myths surround domestic violence.

If you question someone about the dynamics of domestic violence the most common answer would be a man beating a woman. It is time to correct some of these myths and misconceptions about domestic violence by discussing the most popular myths and the facts that discredit them.
The first myth regarding domestic violence is that it has to be physical violence. Information provided by the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence: Besides physical abuse, there can be verbal and sexual abuse, isolation, coercion, stalking, economic control, abuse of trust, threats, intimidation, emotional withholding, property destruction, and harm to pets. In fact, domestic violence is any behavior used to gain power or control over an intimate partner. This can be seen in many different forms without going to the extreme measure of physical violence. One of the main reasons domestic violence persists for so long in a relationship is the fact that the abuse does not escalate to the point of physical violence for a long time because the abuser is getting the desired results with other behaviors.
The second most common myth states that women are the only victims. This is false. Men can be victimized by intimate partners just as easily as women. These victims are not just same sex couples. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 7 men in the United States have been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner, and 29 percent of heterosexual men have experienced rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner. For gay men, “the lifetime prevalence of severe physical violence by an intimate partner (e.g., hit with fist or something hard, slammed against something, or beaten)” was 16.4 percent, the CDC says. Unfortunately, men are less likely to seek help or report abuse for fear of not being believed or the stigma of being less masculine.
The third myth claims that victims must like the way they are treated or they would not stay. Victims leave and return to a relationship an average of seven times before they leave for good — or are killed. Departure is the most dangerous moment for a victim, because the abuser suddenly faces a loss of control and may lash out. It’s a Hobson’s choice: Stay and possibly die, or leave and possibly die. There are so many reasons to stay. For starters, this is their normal way of life, and leaving has never been an option worth discussing because of children, lack of financial stability, lack of transportation, or the threat of deportation.
Finally, the fourth most common myth postulates that domestic violence only happens within the homes of the poor and uneducated. As a sociologist tells a survivor and advocate in “Private Violence,” a 2014 HBO documentary: “It’s my understanding that domestic violence only affects poor, uneducated people. Lawyers, doctors and professors do not beat their wives and children.” Domestic abuse occurs with no regard to age, ethnicity, financial status, educational background, or religious affiliation. News coverage shows professional athletes, musicians, and even politicians pleading guilty of domestic violence charges. These abusers have more privileges than most, but they still commit acts of violence towards intimate partners.
If you or someone you know are experiencing or have experienced intimate partner violence in any form, we can help. Please contact Crisis Services of North Alabama locally at 256-574-5826 or at our 24 hour HELPline at 256-716-1000. Someone will be able to provide free, confidential support which includes safety planning, assistance with relocation, court and legal advocacy, crisis counseling, support groups, and case management.

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