Myth 1.† Domestic violence only occurs to women living in poor, urban areas.

Fact:† Domestic violence occurs in intimate relationships where the perpetrator and the victim are currently or previously have been dating, living together, married or divorced.† They might have children in common or not. Between 64 and 85 percent of the victims are women; men are responsible for the vast majority of these attacks.

 

Myth 2.† Domestic violence does not affect many people.

Fact:† Nearly one in four women in the United States reports experiencing violence by a current or former spouse or boyfriend at some point in her life.† Thatís 1.3 million women. On average more than three women a day are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends in the United States. These are our sisters, mothers, friends, family members, neighbors, and co-workers.† (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2008).

 

Myth 3.† Battering is only a momentary loss of temper.

Fact:†† Domestic violence is purposeful behavior.† The batterís pattern of abusive acts is directed at achieving compliance from or control over the victim. Tactics that work to control the victim are selectively chosen by the batterer.† This power affects many aspects of a victimís life.† Two thirds of women physically assaulted by an intimate said they were victimized multiple times by the same partner in a 12-month period (NVAW 2000).

 

Myth 4.† Domestic violence is just a push, slap or punch - it does not produce lasting effects.

Facts:† Women experience more chronic and injurious physical assaults by intimate partners than do men.† These women are 80 percent more likely to have a stroke, 70 percent more likely to have heart disease, 60 percent more likely to have asthma and 70 percent more likely to drink heavily than women who have not experienced intimate partner violence (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2008).

 

Myth 5:† Long-standing relationships can change for the better.

Fact:† Research does not support this statement.† The hierarchy of power that exists in long-term abusive relationships is not readily given up by the batterer.

 

Myth 6:† Once a battered woman, always a battered woman.

Fact:† This pattern does not hold true.† Leaving a violent relationship is not a simple matter.† There are many factors that must be weighed carefully, because only the abuser truly can stop the violence.