Myths About Domestic Abuse

  • She must ask for it / she must deserve it.
    Provocation can be over not having the dinner ready on time, asking for money to pay the bills or feed the children. Women in these situations quickly get to know that offering resistance to their abusive husband / partner can result in being beaten and abused more. This should not be seen as consent to the abuse, it is just a method of staying safer.
     
  • She must enjoy it or she would leave.
    Instead of asking the question “why does she not leave” a more appropriate question would be “what stops her from leaving?”. Women stay because it is very difficult to leave. Women worry about how their leaving will effect their children especially if their husband/partner is not abusive towards the children. Women worry about providing for their children, poor housing, and poor job opportunities.
     
  • Leaving home is bad for the children.
    Children are affected more while living in a abusive environment than by moving to a safer environment. Women often do not realise how the abuse is affecting their children.
     
  • Alcohol causes abuse.
    Alcohol has long been used as an excuse for a man abusing a woman. Alcohol does not and cannot cause a man to be abusive but it can exacerbate his abusive behaviour. It can be easier for a woman being abused, and the man who abuses, to believe that the abuse would not have occurred if drink had not been taken.
     
  • Domestic abuse only occurs in working class and traveller families.
    Men from all social backgrounds can be abusive, it is not confined to any social class.
     
  • Most men who abuse women in the home are mentally ill.
    Mental illness suggests that a man who beats his wife cannot help it. An abusive man wants power and control over his wife and he chooses to do this through a series of coercive behaviours. These behaviours can be described as ‘sick’ but it does not mean that the abuser is mentally ‘sick’.
     
  • All men who abuse women come from violent backgrounds.
    This is often the case, but not always. Many abusers do not come from violent backgrounds and many men who do come from violent backgrounds do not go on to be abusive.
     
  • Abused women abuse their children.
    There is no evidence to suggest this. Many women leave abusive relationships because they do not want their children to grow up in this kind of environment.
     

There are many myths surrounding Domestic Abuse. Most blame women for the abuse that is inflicted on them. The effects of Domestic Abuse on women and children are often trivialised and ignored in our society. There are too many social stigmas surrounding Domestic Abuse. All women have the right to an abuse free relationship. Leaving an abusive relationship is not a sign of failure but the right choice for a woman to make for herself and her children.