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Domestic Violence: Myths and Facts

MYTH
Domestic violence does not affect many people.

FACT
  • A woman is beaten every 15 seconds
  • Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women between ages 15 and 44 in the United States
  • Battered women are more likely to suffer miscarriages and to give birth to babies with low birth weights
  • Sixty-three percent of the young men between the ages of 11 and 20 who are serving time for homicide have killed their mother’s abuser

MYTH
Battering is only a momentary loss of temper.

FACT

  • Battering is the establishment of control and fear in a relationship through violence and other forms of abuse. The batterer uses acts of violence and a series of behaviors, including intimidation, threats, psychological abuse, isolation, etc. to coerce and to control the other person. The violence may not happen often, but it remains as a hidden (and constant) terrorizing factor.
  • One in five women victimized by their spouses or ex-spouses report they had been victimized over and over again by the same person.

MYTH
Domestic violence only occurs in poor, urban areas.

FACT

  • Women of all cultures, races, occupations, income levels, and ages are battered by husbands, boyfriends, lovers and partners
  • Approximately one-third of the men counseled (for battering) are professional men who are well respected in their jobs and their communities. These have included doctors, psychologists, lawyers, ministers, and business executives

MYTH
Domestic violence is just a push, slap or punch. It does not produce serious injuries

FACT

  • Battered women are often severely injured. Twenty-two to thirty-five percent of the women who visit medical emergency rooms are there for injuries related to ongoing partner abuse
  • One in four pregnant women have a history of partner violence

MYTH
It is easy for battered women to leave their abuser.

FACT

  • Women who leave their batterers are at a 75 percent greater risk of being killed by the batterer than those who stay
  • Nationally, 50 percent of all homeless women and children are on the streets because of violence in the home
  • There are nearly three times as many animal shelters in the United States as there are shelters for battered women and their children