MYTH: Relationship abuse results from a “loss of control.”
FACT: Violent behavior is a choice. Abusers use violence to control their partners. Relationship violence is about abusers using control, not losing control. Their actions are very deliberate. Abusers choose to be violent toward their partners in ways they would never consider treating other people.
MYTH: Stress is a major cause of violence in the home.
FACT: Contrary to popular belief, relationship violence is not caused by stress or mental illness. The only true cause of relationship violence is the abuser's choice to act violently.
MYTH: Alcohol/Drugs cause intimate partner violence.
FACT: Although there is a high correlation between alcohol, or other substance abuse, and relationship abuse, it is not a causal relationship. Abusers use drinking as one of many excuses for their violence and as a way to place the responsibility for their violence elsewhere. Stopping the abuser’s drinking will not stop the violence. Both intimate partner abuse and substance abuse need to be addressed separately, as overlapping yet independent problems.
MYTH: Relationship violence occurs most often among low-income families.
FACT: Studies of domestic violence consistently have found that partner abuse occurs among all types of families, regardless of income, profession, region, ethnicity, educational level or race. However, the fact that lower income victims and abusers are over-represented in calls to police, domestic violence shelters and social services may be due to a lack of other resources.
MYTH: Persons who are abusive are unsuccessful and lack resources to cope with the world.
FACT: Persons who are abusive cover as wide a spectrum as those they choose to abuse with regard to educational and professional status.
MYTH: When there is violence in a family, all members of the family are participating in the dynamic, and therefore, all must change for the violence to stop.
FACT: Only the abuser has the ability to stop the violence. Relationship abuse is a behavioral choice for which the abuser must be held accountable. Many individuals who are abused by their partners make numerous attempts to change their own behavior in the hope that this will stop the abuse. This does not work. Changes in the behavior of family members will not cause the abuser to be non-violent.
MYTH: People who are abusive in their intimate relationships are violent in all their relationships.
FACT: Most abusers do not use violence at the workplace or in other non-intimate relationships to solve conflict.
MYTH: A person who is abusive cannot be a loving partner.
FACT: When they are not being abusive, abusers are often described as loving, playful, affectionate, attentive, and sensitive partners.
MYTH: If those who are targeted by abuse didn't like it, they would leave.
FACT: Targets of intimate partner violence do not like the abuse. They stay in the relationship for many reasons, including fear. Most do eventually leave.
MYTH: Relationship violence only occurs in a small percentage of relationships.
FACT: Estimates report that relationship violence occurs in ¼ to ⅓ of all intimate relationships. This applies to heterosexual and LGBT relationships.
MYTH: Relationship violence is more common in heterosexual relationships than in LGBT relationships.
FACT: Members of the LGBT community are less likely to report incidents of relationship violence; however, it is estimated that 1 in 4 lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people are abused by a partner. All statistical data and estimates of LGBT domestic violence are proportionate to heterosexual domestic violence statistics.
MYTH: Men are never victims of relationship violence and women do not abuse.
FACT: Men can be, and are, abused by their female, male or transgender partners, although the data from domestic violence programs indicate that 95% of reported incidents of domestic violence are perpetrated by men against women.
MYTH: Most relationship violence victims report the violence to someone else.
FACT: Only 50% report the violence. Of those, 88% report the violence to a friend and 20% report to criminal justice authorities.