Many myths surround domestic abuse and this contributes to many people suffering the crime in silence.
Below we put a few of these myths straight!
Myth: Domestic abuse is caused by alcohol / drugs / stress / mental illness
Blaming drink / drugs / stress / mental illness or drugs is an excuse, a way of denying responsibility. The above issues may be the trigger for a particular attack, but they are not the underlying cause, which is power and control. For more information go to the Women’s Aid website.
Myth: You cannot rape you wife/partner
A person should always have the right to say no to sex, regardless of whether they have previously had consensual sex with the person or not. Forced intercourse within marriage or a relationship is still rape. For more information go to the Rape Crisis website.
Myth: Domestic abuse only happens to women
Domestic violence is not a gender-specific reality. Women are capable of hitting, beating, abusing and killing their male partners. Research in recent years has shown that one in four women will be a victim of domestic violence in their lifetime and about two in five of all victims of domestic violence are men. For information of support for male victims of domestic abuse please go to the Mankind website.
Myth: Domestic abuse only happens in heterosexual relationships
Domestic abuse can happen in all types of relationships, whether it be between man and women or two men or two women. The effects of domestic abuse are also just as destructive. For information on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender domestic violence support take a look at the Broken Rainbows website.
Myth: It only happens in poor families
Anyone can be abused, no matter where they live or how much money they have. Domestic abuse is a very destructive thing and effects everyone involved.
You only have to think of the celebrities we hear about in the papers to realise that money cannot protect you from domestic violence. An abuser is just as likely to be lawyers, accountants and policemen as they are milkmen, cleaners or unemployed.
Domestic abuse is unbiased, effecting men, women, and children regardless of race, sexual orientation, beliefs, disability and economic status.
Myth: Teenagers cannot be victims or perpetrators of domestic abuse
Domestic abuse does not just happen to adults; its effects teenagers too. Evidence from the 2009-10 British Crime Survey shows that teenagers are at particular risk with 12.7% of women and 6.2% of men aged 16-19 having suffered abuse from a partner compared with 7% of women and 5% of men in older age groups.
The official definition of domestic violence is to be changed from March to include over 16 year olds and help to ensure that thousands of teenage victims who are abused while in a relationship get the help and support they need.
Myth: Domestic violence is a private matter, you shouldn’t get involved
For too long domestic violence has been allowed to happen behind closed doors. People think what goes on in the home is private, and not their problem.
Domestic violence is a crime. It is against the law. We are all affected by domestic violence, and we all have a responsibility to speak out against it. Only then will it end!