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Myths and Misconceptions About Domestic Violence

Myth: Domestic violence happens when someone flies out of control or loses their temper.

Fact: Domestic violence is not an anger issue, it is about one person exerting power and control over another. Perpetrators of domestic violence usually do not perpetrate violence against others in their lives other than their intimate partner.


Myth: If someone stays in an abusive relationship, it must not be that bad.

Fact: There are many reasons why victims choose to stay in abusive relationships. Often times, they do not want the relationship to end, they just want the abuse to stop. (And in fact, this is the very thing that harmdoers tend to promise to their victims over and over- that it will never happen again.) Victims also stay out of fear for themselves, their children, their pets, or even their harmdoer, who may have threatened to kill themselves if the victim leaves them. Sometimes victims stay due to shame and not wanting others to know what they have been through. Often they stay due to a lack of financial resources, lack of affordable housing, or lack of transportation.

Whatever the reason, the question we should be asking is not "Why don't they just leave?" but rather, "Why won't the harmdoer stop causing harm?"


Myth: Domestic violence is a private matter between a husband and wife.

Fact: Domestic violence is a CRIME with serious repercussions, and should be taken very seriously. If children witness or attempt to intervene in the abuse, they are in danger and a report should be made to the county Department of Social Services (ALL residents of North Carolina are mandatory reporters of child abuse). Also, domestic violence can happen within many types of relationships, including dating relationships.


Myth: Domestic violence isn't very common. It hasn't happened to anyone I know. Maybe it's worse in other areas or among certain types of people.

Fact: Domestic violence is a widespread and serious issue that demands our attention and involvement. Domestic violence accounts for 15% of ALL violent crime in the United States, and is the leading cause of injuries among women ages 15-44 (greater than all other causes combined). Domestic violence affects about 10 million victims each year, including 1.5 million high school students.One in four women and one in seven men will experience relationship violence in their lives, which means that everyone knows someone who has experienced intimate partner violence, even if that person chose not to share their experience.  Domestic violence affects all populations of people regardless of race, socioeconomic status, or geographic region. 

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