Domestic Abuse Myths and Their Causes

Domestic Abuse is a ‘disease’ that continues to plague our society, and with devastating effects. At VSupport, our greatest challenge comes not just from fighting domestic abuse but also from working to dispel the fallacies associated with domestic abuse. It is common to blame the victimized woman, which in turn is one of the major reasons why abused women do not come forward to report abuse – they fear blame for the abuse.

Myths V/s Truth

Myth 1 - Drugs and Alcohol drive men to more violence

Truth – These evils are not the cause for domestic abuse – they only elevate or accelerate the existing abuse. The person inflicting abuse is the one who should be held responsible for the actions, rather than using drugs and alcohol as an excuse.

Myth 2 – If the woman is not leaving, then it must not be that bad

Truth – Women continue to stay in such pathetic and abusive relationships for a variety of reasons, including not being allowed to leave. Relationships begin with love, and usually abuse does not manifest at the start – but when it does, women find it harder to leave, especially if the woman still loves the partner. False apologies often make a woman believe that the partner is truly sorry. Additionally, a woman may stay on because she may be afraid for her own safety and that of her children, may have nowhere to go, and or may not be financially independent. The main reason that an abusive partner wins is by separating the woman from her family and friends by extreme control – making it almost impossible to leave.
Do not judge a woman in such a relationship – understand her and help if possible.

Myth 3 – Physical Violence is Always Present

Truth – Domestic abuse is not always about physical violence. Abuse includes patterns of controlling, threats, degradation of the partner’s character, sexual violence, emotional abuse, harassment, stalking, financial abuse, control by coercion, and even digital abuse.

Myth 4 – Possibly a good father so the relationship of the parents will not affect children

Truth – In a very large number of cases (about 90%) kids witness the abuse of their mother – often leaving the kids scarred and traumatized, amounting to child abuse. Additionally, a large number of kids too are victims.

Myth 5: The woman must have provoked

Truth – This is perhaps the most unfortunate and entrenched myth given our societal make up. The deep patriarchal society believes that as the head of the family, the man is ‘required’ to punish the woman and the kids however he deems appropriate, if they do not act in accordance with his wishes. Given this, acts of violence are viewed as reactions to provocation by the woman – thereby blaming the woman and absolving the abusive man of cruelty. It is necessary to remember that abuse is the SOLE responsibility of the abuser and never the victim’s fault.

Myth 6 - Domestic abuse not a social issue – it is a family matter

Truth – Domestic violence is never a family issue alone. There are repercussions and costs for society as well – the scarred victims (both women and children) are societal concerns. The costs of hospital treatment, medicines, court and lawyer fee, and other expenses are all connected with the society as a whole. It is important that victims have someone to listen to them and provide them the support they need – which is why VSupport stands with the victims. Domestic abuse is NOT a family matter - by labeling it as such we make it trivial, disregard it, and even allow it to happen every day.

Myth 7 – Sexual Violence against women has nothing to do with Pornography

Truth – The higher number of pornography consumers are men. Over time, such material has not only become more easily accessible, it is also increasingly focused on pleasuring males while being violent and explicit. The easy accessibility is the reason that young people are able to view this unsuitable content. Pornography adds excessively to misogyny, wherein women and girls are already being used as ‘objects’ to please men. Pornography is a two-pronged weapon that harms women – directly since they are used to produce this material, and indirectly since the viewing of violent sexual content becomes ‘learning’ material.

Myth 8 – Women are equally abusive

Truth – In the largest number of domestic abuse cases, it is the men who have perpetrated the crime. As mentioned, domestic abuse is a gendered crime arising from the social inequality between men and women. It is women and girls who are forced into marriage, are victims of female genital mutilation, and honor crimes – mostly committed by family members.

Myth 9 – Women mostly lie about domestic abuse

Truth – It is extremely rare for women to press false charges of domestic abuse. This is a highly harmful myth, since a number of women do not file genuine charges for fear of their allegation being refuted as being a lie.

Myth 10 – Mostly mentally unstable women are abused

Truth – There are no reports, research, or cases to support this ridiculous myth. An abuser will abuse and act violent without any regard for status, religion, wealth and health of their victim.

Myth 11 – Abusive men are attractive for women

Truth – This is another form of blaming the victim, since a woman can experience abuse in more than one relationship. An abusive person could be appealing, charming, and have a great personality, which could lead a woman to be attracted. The abuse only begins once a relationship is formed.

Myth 12 – Abuse is only a momentary loss of control

Truth – An abusive person never loses control but rather the acts of violence are committed with the aim of controlling their victim. Such a person consciously chooses the time, manner, and acts of abuse ensuring that no one is around to witness, except maybe the children.

Myth 13 – Couples arguing is normal and is not domestic abuse

Truth – A difference of opinion and argument are not the same as abuse. Abuse is the use of violence in all forms to control the other person. It is about ensuring that the victim is completely overpowered and overwhelmed and is unable to think and act in a manner that would help.

Myth 14 – Strangers are more likely to attack women

Truth – In fact, the opposite is true – sexual violence and murders are often committed by men known to the women, as opposed to strangers. Women are more likely to be attacked and abused by men they know, love, or trust.