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Domestic Violence, HERE ARE THE FACTS.
What is it?
Domestic Violence is a pattern of coercive tactics that can include physical,
psychological, sexual, economic, and emotional abuse, perpetrated by one
person against an intimate partner, with the goal of establishing and
maintaining power and control. It occurs in all kinds of intimate relationships,
including married couples, people who are dating, couples who live together,
people with children in common, same-sex partners, people who were
formally in a relationship with the person abusing them, and teen dating
Why do victims stay? Why don’t they just leave?
The information you will read in this section help paint a realistic perspective
on the manipulation, coercion, and controlling tactics of abusers that will
have you asking more effective questions such as: “What did he do to force
her to stay?”, “How did he force her back?”, and “What did he do?”.
Domestic violence is a choice abusers use to gain and maintain power and
control. It is never the fault of the victim. Victims do whatever they can to
survive and keep themselves and/or their children safe.
Is Domestic Violence just women and low income?
Domestic violence happens in all kinds of families, rich and poor, urban,
suburban and rural, in every part of the country, in every racial, religious and
age group. While the majority of survivors are women, men can also be
victims. For the sake of simplicity, we refer to the victim/survivor as “she”
and the perpetrator/abuser as “he”.
Does alcohol and drugs cause domestic violence?
Alcohol and drugs do not cause domestic violence. Domestic violence is a
choice. Many abusers will make sure they have alcohol or drugs on hand, in
order to use them as an excuse for their actions. Abusers will also claim their
actions resulted because they could not have the alcohol or drugs.
Is Domestic violence an anger control issue?
Domestic violence has nothing to do with anger. Anger is a tool abusers use
to get what they want. We know abusers are actually very much in control
because they can stop when someone knocks on the door or the phone
rings; they often direct punches and kicks to parts of the body where the
bruises are less likely to show; and they are not abusing everyone who
makes them “angry”, but waits until there are no witnesses and abuses the
one he says he loves.
Does abusers and/or victims have low self-esteem?
As for Abusers: The abusers do not have low self-esteem. They believe they
are entitled to have power and control over their partner. Abusers will
pretend to have low-self esteem, if it will make others believe the violence is
not their fault. (see In the Mind of the Abuser for more information on this
As for Victims: Survivors of abuse may have had great self-esteem at the
beginning of the relationship, but the abuser uses emotional abuse: calling
her names, putting her down, telling her it is all her fault, in order to destroy
her self-esteem. Some abusers look for women with low self-esteem, as they
believe she will be more likely to blame herself and less likely to report his
behavior. Other abusers will seek women with high self-esteem, as they may
represent a greater challenge to control over time.
Isn't most assaults just really a couple of slaps and they are not really
More than 30 percent of hospital emergency-room admissions are women
who have been abused. Domestic violence is the single greatest cause of
injury to women in the United States.
Doesn't domestic violence happens only once or twice in a
Abusers usually escalate violent behaviors in frequency and intensity over
Some women want to be beaten. They ask for it. They deserve it.
Some women go from abuser to abuser - it must be something about
No one deserves to be abused. Everyone has the right to live free of
violence. No one would want to have their partner be abusive. Women who
find that their second or third partner are abusers will often be blamed by
others for the violence - ” it must be something about her” or she will blame
herself - “I always seem to pick abusers.” In reality, the abuser uses the
tactic of charm early in the relationship to find out that she was previously
abused. He uses this information to blame her for the violence - “see it must
be something that you are doing wrong, or there would not have been two of
us” or to silence her - “you are not going to tell anyone, because if you do
they will never believe you because you said that before.”
Children aren’t aware of the violence in their home?
Studies show that most children are aware of the violence directed at their
mother. See Children’s Issues for ways you can support children who
witness domestic violence.
Children are not at risk for being hurt or injured?
Men who abuse their partners are more likely to abuse the children in the
home. Domestic violence is the number one predictor for child abuse.
Subjecting children to an environment full of violent actions and hateful
words is not being a “good dad.”
Does boys who witness violence will grow up to be abusers?
Studies have found that 30% of male child witnesses choose to become
abusers as adults. This means that 70% do not become abusers and are
committed to ending the cycle of violence in their lives. The majority of
children, male and female, who witness domestic violence become
advocates for children when they grow up; committed to raising their children
without the use of violence and going into professions where they work to
end violence against all children.
Young men in our society must never feel they are destined to become
violent. We send a dangerous message to young men and boys when we
imply they are fated to become violent and we give abusers an excuse for
FACT: Domestic violence is a crime. It is against the law for anyone to
physically harm or harass another person. In Oregon, the law says police
shall arrest a person who they have reason to believe has abused another
FACT: Domestic violence may lead to murder. Three-quarters of all women
who are murdered are murdered by their husbands, ex-husbands or
domestic partners. In our community, nine women and children were
murdered between 1999 and February of 2003.
FACT: Domestic violence costs the U.S. Economy an estimated $3 to $5
billion annually in job absenteeism and another $100 million annually in
|While the majority of survivors
are women, men can also be
victims. For the sake of
simplicity, we refer to the
victim/survivor as “she” and the
perpetrator/abuser as “he”.