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The Myths

 Right or wrong1. Women are responsible for abuse they suffer if they provoke their partner
FALSE Perpetrators of domestic abuse always have a choice about whether to use abuse, threats or other controlling behaviour in any situation.

2. Abusers can’t help abusing; they have anger management issues or are mentally ill
FALSE Abusers are capable of controlling their anger and not responding with violence – they probably don’t hit their bosses or friends and family during a disagreement.

3. It’s not domestic abuse unless it’s physical.
FALSE Domestic abuse can be physical, mental, emotional, financial or sexual.

4. Domestic abuse rarely affects children.
FALSE Most children who live with domestic abuse are aware of it and are affected by it in different ways. 

5. Children who grow up with domestic abuse usually become abusive as well.
USUALLY FALSE Some children from abusive homes do grow up to be abusive themselves. However, lots of children from abusive homes grow up without becoming abusive, and children from homes without domestic abuse can become abusive when they get older.

6. Domestic abuse is more likely to have affected people on low incomes than others.
TRUE The British Crime Survey found that this was true but the researchers also stated that this might not indicate that poverty itself was a risk factor.

7. Most abusers are alcoholics or drug abusers; they only abuse when they’re drunk or high.
FALSE There is some correlation but being an alcoholic or drug abuser is not a necessary or sufficient cause of domestic abuse.

8. Domestic abuse does not exist within gay relationships.
FALSE Domestic abuse does exist in gay relationships and gay men and lesbians can also be abused by ex-partners with homophobia as part of the controlling attitudes and behaviour.

9. Disabled people are much more likely to be victims of domestic abuse than non-disabled adults
TRUE Being disabled significantly increases the risk of being a victim of domestic abuse. Disabled people are also at risk of abuse from their carers, and may find it more difficult to speak out because of their disability.

10. Women who are victims of domestic abuse are likely to be sexually abused as part of the domestic abuse.
TRUE Sexual abuse is often part of domestic abuse but many women do not identify this aspect of abuse as abusive at the time or afterwards. 

11. Abused people must like the abuse otherwise they would leave.
FALSE Abused people find it hard to leave for all sorts of reasons, the most common of which is that they don’t want to upset the children or fear that the violence may get worse. 

12. Women who leave abusive relationships nearly always return.
BOTH and it depends on whether we mean a permanent return or a temporary one. For most women, leaving a violent relationship is a process not an event and usually takes more than one separation and return to be permanent.

13. Pregnant women are unlikely to be subject to domestic abuse.
TRUE Most pregnant women are not abused. However for those women who are abused about 30% of domestic abuse starts or escalates in pregnancy. 

14. Black and Asian men are more likely to be violent in the home than white men.
FALSE The ethnicity of the perpetrator or victim makes no difference to levels of domestic abuse.

15. Older women are less likely to be subject to domestic abuse than younger ones.
TRUE Domestic abuse affects women of all ages but the highest risk group is women aged 16 – 24.

16. Domestic abuse is usually mutual; women give as good as they get.
FALSE Although some abuse does occur from women to men, this is only in small numbers, is mostly in single incidents and rarely causes injury or fear. However, abuse from men to women is usually part of an on-going pattern of violence or abuse.

17. Women are more likely to be killed by their husband, boyfriend, partner or ex-partner than anyone else
TRUE Women are more likely to be killed by a partner or ex-partner than by anyone else

18. Men are more likely to be killed by their wives, girlfriends or ex-partners than anyone else.
FALSE Men are more likely to be killed by an acquaintance or friend than a partner or ex-partner. In fact very few men are ever killed by a partner or ex-partner, around 6% of all male homicide victims.
19. Women have no right to refuse to have sex with their husbands
FALSE Forced or non-consensual sex within a marriage is rape, the same as forced or non-consensual sex outside a marriage.

20. It’s not rape unless the woman shouts and tries to use force to defend herself.
FALSE The law on rape now recognises that women can be coerced or threatened into sex against their will and that for many women, trying to defend themselves will be more dangerous. It is rape if the woman did not freely consent without coercion or threats.