Myth: Only a small number of people in our community experience violence in their relationships
Fact: Domestic/family violence is a major issue in Australian society; it is a hidden crime with low levels of reporting.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics National Survey (2006) stated that over one third of Australian women reported experiencing one incident of physical violence or sexual violence since the age of 15, and in any one year nearly half a million Australian women experience physical or sexual assault.
Myth: Alcohol causes relationship violence
Fact: There is not one reason or a simple cause for relationship violence. Alcohol is often used as an excuse for violence as it is easier for the perpetrator to blame alcohol than take responsibility for his/her violence. Alcohol does not and cannot MAKE a person violent; however alcohol can exacerbate situations and lead to more severe violent behaviourís.
Myth: Domestic and Family Violence only happens in certain cultures and communities
Fact: Domestic and Family violence occurs in all cultures and communities regardless of the socio economic background. Certain cultural groups may get more media exposure on the issue of domestic and family violence but it is important to emphasise that this issue impacts on ALL communities and cultures.
Disadvantage may increase the risk of violence due to factors such as overcrowding, hopelessness, conflict, stress or a sense of inadequacy. This is often combined with mental health and/or drug and alcohol issues. (Flood 2007).
Myth: Itís easy to leave a violent and controlling relationship
Fact: It is extremely difficult to leave a violent and controlling relationship especially for women where society can hold them responsible for looking after relationships and blames women for relationship failure.
The victim may leave the relationship many times before they leave permanently and there are a number of reasons for this including;
- Shame Ė embarrassment Ė humiliation
- Lack of awareness and support services
- Financial dependence
- Belief that the violence was their fault
- Still loves and/or cares for the partner
- Threats of suicide
- Threats that the perpetrator will kill him/her and the children
- Low self-esteem/confidence
- Fear of losing the children
- Fear of legal system
Myth: Some Religions support domestic and family violence
Fact: Abusers may use religion as an excuse for their violence however religion is NO excuse for domestic and family violence. There is nothing to support the view that it is Godís will for people to endure Domestic and family violence.
Myth: Violent men come from violent homes
Fact: While it is true that some men who are violent do come from a violent background, many men who abuse women do not come from violent backgrounds. Other men who do come from an abusive background do not abuse women; they chose to deal with their problems in a non-violent way.
The Domestic Violence and Incest Resource Centre (2005) states that: The majority of young people exposed to Domestic and Family violence do not become either the perpetratorís or victims of domestic and family violence.
Myth: There are as many male victims of domestic and family violence as there are women
Fact: Violence against men is also an issue in Australian society and there are cases of violence against men by their intimate female partner/s. It is important to recognise that domestic and family violence is a crime regardless of the gender of the abuser and victim. In the cases of female to male violence men are less likely to live in fear in their relationships and many men will feel ashamed and embarrassed about seeking help, therefore resulting in the under reporting of violence against men.
Research and statistics clearly state that 9 out of every 10 domestic violence victims are female (University of Western Australia 2004).
Myth: Domestic violence only happens between women and men
Fact: Studies have shown that domestic violence occurs in same sex relationships, between parents and children and siblings. Any domestic relationship has the possibility for domestic violence happen. It does not only occur between women and men.