Friday, April 10, 2009

Common Myths About Abuse


There is a definite lack of understanding about the dynamics of domestic abuse/violence in society. This lack of understanding can often be the GREATEST OBSTACLE a victim (I really hate that word... I know I've said it before) faces. Many people believe the following myths about domestic abuse.

1) "I shouldn't get involved in a private family matter"

Domestic violence is not just a family problem. It is a CRIME that involves serious repercussions for the victim, her children and the community.

2) "The violence can't really be that serious."

Domestic violence is RARELY a one-time occurrence. It usually escalates in frequency and severity over time.

3) "If it's so bad, why doesn't she just leave?"

Oh MAN, I could write a whole BOOK on this one alone! I got this from police officers (who, by the way, are SUPPOSED to be TRAINED to understand and deal with domestic violence... GRRRRR), from my own THERAPIST (C'MON NOW, REALLY?... where did she get her degree fer cryin' out loud?!), and from various family members, friends, acquaintances and coworkers. For most victims (there's that word again), the decision to end a relationship... EVEN an ABUSIVE one... is not an easy one.

*A victim's emotional ties to her partner may still be strong, supporting her HOPE that the violence will end.

*If she has been financially dependent on her partner, she will likely face severe economic hardship, especially if she leaves with children.

*She may not know about available resources.

*The social and justice systems may have been unresponsive or ineffective to her needs in the past.

*Religious, cultural or family pressures may make her believe it's her duty to keep the marriage together at all costs.

*If she has tried to leave in the past, her partner may have used threats or violence to coerce her to return.

4) "Doesn't she care about what's happening to her children?"

She is probably doing the best she can to protect her children from the violence. She may feel that the abuse is only directed at her, and does not yet realize its effects on the children. She may also feel that she can protect the children, themselves, better from their father if she is THERE with them opposed to the very real fear that he will abuse the children... or abuse his next victim in the presence of the children during his COURT ORDERED visitations with them.

5) "She's not being beaten... just emotionally/verbally abused."

First of all, there is no "just" when it comes to emotional/verbal abuse. For me, the emotional and verbal abuse was WORSE than the physical abuse. It was covert and made me think I was crazy. The CONTROL of it, the constant feeling of walking on eggshells, the TENSION of never knowing what he was going to do or say next, and trying to get ANY authorities to pay ANY attention to that kind of abuse is nearly impossible. And second, there's this fact: PHYSICAL abuse is ALWAYS preceded by EMOTIONAL abuse. Always. No abuser would EVER be able to just smack around a woman on the first or second date and expect her to stick around. An abuser chips away at his victim bit by bit and piece by piece, slowly and insidiously, until the victim is under his control enough that he feels he CAN physically abuse her. If someone is being emotionally/verbally abused... chances are good she will eventually be physically abused also.

6) "If she wants my help, she would ask for it."

She may not yet feel comfortable confiding in others, feeling that others will not understand her situation. She may also be so conditioned to PROTECT her abuser that she cannot bring herself to bring up the subject with others. Try talking to her about the problem of abuse in a general way.


Yep. I missed a day of blogging yesterday. I was just a wee bit exhausted. So I'm going to post twice today. I know you're all just so excited ::dripping with sarcasm::

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