Domestic violence has been at the forefront of the news lately. It seems to be on every news ticker and there are stories popping up about different celebrities calling off their relationships because of violence. Things really were thrust into the spotlight when the video of football player Ray Rice was shown punching his fiancé in the face and then dragging her unconscious body out of the elevator they were in. Since then the media has been frenzied with stories. There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about domestic violence however that should be cleared up:
1. You can’t love someone that abuses you: If you love someone before they hit you, that is a very hard emotion to just shut off. People are often ashamed that they still love their abuser but it’s not as easy as flipping a light switch.
2. It is obvious that you should leave when someone hits you: People who have never experienced this kind of violence can’t really judge someone else if they stay. There could be financial reasons or they could be afraid that things will be worse if they leave. Some people who are abused can just pack up and leave but for others it’s not so easy.
3. Domestic violence isn’t that common: Actually, it is more common than you may realize. One in seven men are abused in a relationship and one out of every four women suffer abuse at one point or another.
4. Both parties always share at least a little of the blame: Violence is never okay, no matter what the situation is. If a wife accuses her husband of cheating, does that mean he is allowed to hit her because she provoked him? No. If a husband forgets to do the dishes, is that a reason for his wife to hit him? No.
5. Domestic violence is a result of someone who slips out of control: Domestic violence can happen with anyone. It is not a heat of the moment or fit of rage type of violence. The abuser could just be a violent person who likes to feel that control over their partner.
6. Domestic issues are always violent: Emotional and mental abuse can be just as damaging to a person as violence can be. It makes them feel like less of a person and can lead to depression or even suicide.
7. The police should always be called right away when someone is being abused: In the moment calling the police could be harmful to the one who is suffering. The other party may become more violent after they leave.
8. Tough love is the only way to get through to a friend who is being abused: If you are pushing them to leave it is just going to make them feel like they are not being heard and that you don’t understand their situation. What they need is support and love.