Myths & Facts

Myths & Facts of Domestic Violence

Myth:  If a woman doesn’t like it she can always leave.

Fact:  Women who experience domestic violence face a range of barriers to leaving the relationship.  The most common group of domestic violence victims are those who have dependent children & no independent financial status.  These women face a future of reduced income and difficulty finding accommodation.  Also, the violence does not necessarily stop after women leave, sometimes it can get worse. Research on homicide victims shows that women who attempt to end their relationship are exposed to a relatively high risk of homicide, with the period immediately after they leave associated with particularly high risk.

Myth: Domestic violence only happens in low socioeconomic classes.

Fact:  As many as 1 in 10 women are victims of domestic violence. In a phone-in survey conducted by the   University of  South Australia  in September 1998, callers ranged across a wide age group, from 17 years to 70 years, and came from a broad range of social backgrounds.  A significant number of the women were well educated or had well-paid jobs.  Their male partners were also from diverse backgrounds and many were financially well off and had good social standing in the community.  Callers came from both homes that spoke only English and where a language other than English was used.

Myth:  Alcohol causes domestic violence. 

Fact: Much violence occurs without alcohol.  Many people get drunk without becoming violent.  Alcohol is an excuse, not a cause.  It may lower inhibitions.  Remember that the person who uses alcohol is responsible for their drinking and their abusive behaviour.  Your attitudes and values determine whether you use violence against your family or not.  In 50% of cases of violent behaviour, neither party has been drinking.  Perpetrators of violence have been violent under the influence of alcohol and also while not under the influence of alcohol.

Myth:  Women who are victims of domestic violence deserve it.  They must provoke him/”push his buttons”/push him to the limit.

Fact:  There is no excuse for violence and in any case, many women report being hit from behind, and with no warning.  If he feels his “buttons are pushed”, he can choose to walk away.

Myth:  Men and women are equally violent in relationships.

Fact:  95-98% of victims of domestic violence are women.  While men do experience violence in their relationships, women are still much more likely to be victims of violence in their relationships.