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There are many myths surrounding domestic abuse, but we’ve challenged the most common ones below.
Myth #1: It only happens to poor women in rundown areas
Domestic abuse happens to women of all ages and ethnicities and from all walks of life
Myth #2: Alcohol and drugs are causes of domestic abuse
Perpetrators are the cause of domestic abuse; drugs and alcohol cannot be used to deny responsibility
Myth #3: Some women deserve it
No-one deserves to be abused, no matter how they may have behaved
Myth #4: If it was that bad, women would just leave
There are many reasons why women don’t leave including fear, shame, guilt, hope and love
Myth #5: She must have provoked him
It’s important to remember that the perpetrator is ALWAYS responsible for the abuse
Myth #6: If it’s not physical, it’s not domestic abuse
Domestic abuse can be verbal, emotional, controlling, coercive, degrading, psychological, financial and sexual, as well as violent
Myth #7: What goes on behind closed doors should stay there
Domestic abuse is a criminal act and people must speak out for it to stop
Myth #8: It must have just been a ‘domestic’, every couple argues
It is never okay for an argument to escalate to violence or emotional abuse
Myth #9: Just as many men experience domestic abuse
Domestic abuse is a gendered crime. Statistically, more cases of domestic abuse are experienced by women and committed by men
Myth #10: Perpetrators are always nasty, violent men who are easy to spot
Most perpetrators live a seemingly normal life and are skilled at hiding their behavior from those on the outside including friends, family and work colleagues
Myth #11: Just because he abuses his partner doesn’t mean he’s a bad father
Children who witness or experience domestic abuse can be traumatised long-term and are also victims of child abuse
Myth #12: She didn’t tell anyone when it started so she must be lying
Many women hide the truth as they feel scared and ashamed or believe they are to blame
Myth #13: People who experience domestic abuse are sometimes to blame
Survivors of domestic abuse are never to blame; the perpetrator must always be held responsible
Myth #14: Children sometimes cause domestic abuse to happen
Children have no control over an abusive parent, and it is never their fault
Myth #15: Children who live with domestic abuse grow up to be victims or abusers
Growing up in an abusive home can be a risk factor but many of these children grow up to be repelled by violence as they have seen first-hand how traumatic it can be. Childhood experiences cannot be used as excuses by perpetrators
Myth #16: Adults can hide domestic abuse from children
Even if a child doesn’t see violence or abuse, they can still hear shouting and notice an upset parent or physical injuries. Children and young people will experience domestic abuse
Myth #17: Domestic abuse is just a temporary loss of temper
Domestic abuse is not related to anger management or temper, it is about sustained control
Myth #18: Domestic abuse happens more in some cultures and communities than others
Domestic abuse can happen to anyone regardless of race, religion, education or how much money you have
Myth #19: Domestic abuse increases during the World Cup
Domestic abuse happens all year round and will continue to happen regardless of football scores. Whilst police may see an increase in reports of physical violence, it’s important to remember that domestic abuse is an ongoing pattern of controlling behaviour.
Myth #20: Perpetrators must be mentally ill
Research has shown that the proportion of those with a mental illness is no higher than society as a whole.