Thread: Abused
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Old 05-24-2006, 01:41 PM
Grace Grace is offline
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Default Myths

There are a lot of myths that surround domestic abuse - some say that if a victim is really being abused then s/he would leave -, it is not that simple. Any survivor will know that. Others myths include that abuse only occurs in poor families. NO ONE deserves to be abused, and NO ONE is immune to it. It can happen to anyone in any circumstance.
Here are some myths:

MYTH: Only a small percentage of women are subjected to domestic abuse.

FACT: It is impossible to tell exactly how many women are subjected to violence, because of the private nature of domestic abuse and the shame and embarrassment that inhibits many victims from talking about the issue. A number of studies ranging from women using hospital services to women in the church suggest that from one in three to one in five women are likely to experience violence in intimate relationships (Conrade 1992, Roberts, 1993, White 1991).

MYTH: Domestic abuse only happens within poor or working class families.

FACT: Domestic abuse occurs across all socio-economic groups. This myth developed because people on low incomes are more likely to come to the attention of official agencies. Those families with access to more resources are sometimes better able to hide the violence.

MYTH: The abuser/offender is not a loving partner.

FACT: There is a cycle of violence in abusive relationships, with five phases ~ build-up phase, stand-over phase, remorse phase, pursuit/buy-back phase, and honeymoon phase. During the "buy back" and "honeymoon phases" of this cycle the offender can be a loving and attentive partner. Many violent men are described by their partner as Jekyll and Hyde characters capable of being charming and caring but also capable of violence and abuse.

MYTH: Violent men cannot control their violence.

FACT: Violent men often believe that this is true. It is the belief in this myth which enables offenders to continue to avoid taking responsibility for their behaviour. The large majority of offenders who beat their partners control their violence with others, such as friends or work colleagues, where there is no perceived right to dominate and control. Offenders are also able to control the way in which they abuse, including limiting physical assault to certain, often hidden, parts of the body and by limiting the amount of damage inflicted. Violence is also frequently pre-meditated although it may seem to the survivor to happen out of the blue.

MYTH: Violent men are mentally ill or have psychopathic personalities.

FACT: Clinical studies of men who abuse their partners do not support this view. The vast majority of violent men are not suffering mental illness and could not be described as psychopaths. Most offenders present as ordinary respectable men who are very much in control. They are represented in all occupations and social classes and the violence usually manifests itself only within their relationships with their female partner and children.

MYTH: Women enjoy being abused.

FACT: This myth developed from the observation that many women remain in violent relationships despite constant abuse. There are many reasons why abused women stay with their violent partners. Many women are too afraid to leave violent relationships. Research confirms that leaving a relationship is a dangerous time for a woman and that from half, to five out of seven, of the women killed by their spouse were separated or were in the process of separating at the time of their death (Easteal 1993, Keys Young 1993, Wallace 1986)

MYTH: A woman could always leave if she really wanted to.

FACT: Approximately one-third of the women who responded to a Domestic Violence Phone-In in 1983, stated that they stayed in a violent relationship because they were afraid of what their already violent partner might do if they were to leave. Abused women are usually constrained from leaving home by a number of factors including:

Fear or reprisals:
Threats of injury and actual violence to themselves or their children if they choose to separate prevents a great number of women from leaving violent relationships.

Social isolation:
Abused women are often at home with dependent children. Their partners may deliberately isolate them from friends, family and the wider community. Many survivors choose to hide at home because of their sense of shame of visible injuries, or their belief that the violence is their fault. As a result of their isolation, abused women often have no one to turn to and are unaware of available services.

Financial dependence:
Women generally do not have equal access to the same earning capacity as men. To leave their partner condemns many women and their children to a substantial decline in their standard of living.

Social stigma:
Women often experience social pressure not to separate and deprive their children of a father.

Emotional dependence:
Like women in non-violent relationships, abused women are generally committed to their relationship, love their partner and hope for a change in the relationship. Some abused women are fearful that their partner will not cope with a separation. .

Low self-esteem:
Many survivors, after years of physical and/or verbal abuse, have lost their self confidence and doubt their ability to cope on their own.
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