In this day and age, we have so much access to information from different platforms that it can feel…well…overwhelming. It’s easy for anyone to force information from behind their keyboard or for entertainment to mask itself as news and facts. The issue of domestic violence is no exception. We love media and all the access it provides for this subject, but it can also get confusing if you’re not sure what’s “real” and what’s not. Because of this, we often find ourselves questioning the different viewpoints we read when it comes to domestic violence. No worries- we’re here to help clear any confusion. Here are six common myths about domestic violence that you can dispel in order to help yourself or a friend:
Abuse is never the victim’s fault. We often hear this victim blaming in the form of “Well, what did she/he do to provoke them?” Abuse is about the actions of the abuser, not the actions of the victim. It’s about someone’s desire to exert power and control over their partner, and a victim adjusting their behavior won’t change that desire.
Abuse comes in many forms, and physical abuse is just one of them. Does the partner have a habit of yelling, swearing, using an intimidating tone of voice, or insist on putting down/embarrassing their partner? That’s abuse (emotional). Does the partner isolate their significant other from family/friends, make threats, or play mind games? That’s ALSO abuse (mental). There’s also cyber abuse, sexual abuse, financial abuse, etc. Remember, abuse is not about hitting…it’s about power and control, and that can occur in multiple ways.
This type of violence is reported more frequently than any other, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true. Women are just as capable of exerting power and control over men, and it does happen, regardless of what social norms tell us. Furthermore, dating violence occurs in LGBTQ+ relationships at about the same rate as heterosexual relationships. While 85-95% of reports are made by women, that’s not to say all those women are being abused by men.
Acting on emotions is a choice. There are plenty of people who get angry each day, and they’re fully capable of handling that stress in a healthy way. Shouldn’t your partner be held to the same standard? Anger is an emotion- this doesn’t mean it’s an automatic action. We are in charge of our feelings!
Some people stay in relationships because they love their partner and hope they will change. There were most likely happy moments in the relationship, and those may be the moments they want to think about. While it may be difficult to understand, it’s important to support our friends when they tell us they still love their partner.
And finally, last but not least…
There are resources and people who can help. If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, please feel free to call our hotline at 808-531-3771 and ask to speak to the Teen Advocate. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or even DM us on Instagram @teenalertprogram. Services are FREE and CONFIDENTIAL. We can help you create a safety plan or answer any questions you may have- we won’t tell you what to do or force you to leave your partner. We can also connect you to other community resources for either yourself or friends/family members. Just know that there’s a whole team of people behind you- you CAN get out!