Although as a society we are becoming much more aware, there are still many myths about domestic violence that need to be exposed.
Here are just some of the falsehoods which people often believe:
1. Men are the perpetrators, women are the victims.
Actually, statistics from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare show that while 1 in 6 women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by a cohabiting partner since age 15, so have 1 in 16 men.
When it comes to emotional abuse, those figures rise to 1 in 4 women to 1 in 6 men.
Tragically in Australia, one woman a week, and one man a month, are killed by their partner/ex-partner.
2. The abusive partner has a problem with uncontrollable anger, so anger management counselling will help.
The real issue with domestic and family violence is one of power and control, not anger. That’s why the perpetrator can seem like a “nice guy/gal” to people outside the home.
3. “Nice” men don’t abuse their wives.
It doesn’t matter what face the perpetrator puts on in public, or how charming they may be - the may be the very devil at home. And yes, that can include church ministers and other upstanding pillars of society as this story from the ABC demonstrates.
4. If s/he doesn’t hit their partner, it’s not domestic violence.
Domestic violence takes many forms.
It can range from domineering behaviour such as shouting, deliberately breaking things, and threats against children and/or pets, to limiting personal freedoms such as alienating the victim from friends and family, monitoring phone calls, or restricting access to finances.
Gaslighting behaviours are designed to make the victim question their own judgment and sanity, as they endure constant mockery, put downs, lying, and having information withheld, with the perpetrator denying the intent to control or hurt with these actions.
5. Domestic violence only affects people in certain cultures or socio-economic groups.
While it is true that some demographics are more vulnerable, such as young women and Indigenous Australians, the reality is that domestic and family violence is occurring in mansions, cottages, luxury apartments and caravans across Australia.
6. Only women stuck at home - ie full time mums, housewives and retired women - are affected.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, over 60% of women experiencing violence from a current partner are working.
7. Domestic violence isn’t a “thing” for same sex couples.
Actually, domestic violence occurs in same sex relationships just as much as in heterosexual couples, as you will read in this 2015 report from the Australian Institute of Family Studies.
8. Leaving the relationship will end the abuse.
9. There is no help available.
While it can definitely feel like it if you are the one that is being affected by domestic violence, there are people and organisations ready to support you.
Support for Victims of Domestic Violence
If your life is in immediate danger call 000.
For counselling, advice, and practical support, here are some useful contacts:
https://www.1800respect.org.au or Ph 1800 737 732
The Domestic Violence Help Line Ph 1800 811 811
Lifeline crisis support/counselling Ph 13 11 14
No to Violence Men’s Referral Service Ph 1300 766 491
Relationships Australia Ph 1300 364 277
Aboriginal Family Domestic Violence Hotline Ph 1800 019 123
If you have experienced domestic and family violence, you may find that it still has an impact on many areas of your life even years later. At times like these, counselling may help you to recover from the trauma you have been through. To make an appointment with one of our caring and sympathetic Gold Coast Psychologists, call (07) 5527 0123 today.