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Common Myths About Domestic Violence

FACT: Differences and conflicts happen among family members. However, in a healthy family relationship, members seek ways to overcome their differences. Violence cannot be tolerated and is not a normal part of family life.

FACT: Domestic violence is not a private matter and must not be tolerated. Everyone has a responsibility to intervene when witnessing abuse. You can help stop the abuse by stepping in and offering help using the A.R.T of Safe Interruption, calling the National Anti-Violence and Sexual Harassment Helpline (NAVH) at 1800-777-0000, or submitting a report online.

FACT: Domestic abuse is often not a one-time act. Most victims are caught in a cycle of abuse. After a violent episode, the perpetrator may apologise, feel sorry and promise to change for the better. However, after some time, the tension will build up and the perpetrator will resort to abuse again. This can get more frequent and serious and may even result in death.

FACT: Alcohol may intensify abusive behaviour, but it is not the cause. There are people who drink or take drugs but do not become violent. Many who use violence do not drink or take drugs either. Alcohol or drugs is not an excuse for abusive behaviour.

FACT: Very often, violence and anger are triggered by something that the victim has no control over. No one deserves to be abused regardless of their behaviour. There are other ways to handle a situation without resorting to abuse.

FACT: Abuse can happen to people of any age, race, religion, occupation, and educational and financial background.

FACT: The victim may have reasons for not leaving – love, fear, embarrassment, low self-esteem, financial constraints or consideration for children or other family members. Staying in an abusive relationship does not mean that the victim wants to be abused. The victim may also feel it is unsafe to leave and that leaving will not end the abuse but escalate it. Until the victim has the necessary support in place to safely leave the abusive relationship, it is important to continue keeping in contact and checking on the victim’s safety.

FACT: A perpetrator may be extremely violent at home but may be reasonable and respectable outside the family environment.