WOMEN'S AID DUNDALK
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SOME OF THE MOST COMMONLY HELD MYTHS REGARDING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ARE:
I shouldn't get involved in a private family matter.
Domestic Violence is not a family matter. It is a CRIME.
The violence can't really be that serious, itís just an odd tiff.
If anyone in the home causes, threatens or attempts to cause harm, it is a crime. This type of crime not only includes physical harm, it can also include psychological, verbal and emotional abuse that makes a person fear for their safety. It is rarely a one-off occurrence and usually becomes more frequent and severe over time. DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CAN RESULT IN DEATH. Women who come to refuge usually have been severely beaten or threatened on many occasions. Such physical abuse is usually accompanied by mental abuse in the form of continual harassment and humiliation such as being told that she is ugly, stupid and useless and being denied money. Mental abuse leaves no bruising but it is as terrifying and damaging as physical violence. No behavior which so degrades and violates a human being can be dismissed as "just the odd tiff".
That kind of behavior doesn't go on in my neighborhood.
Domestic Violence occurs among all ages, races, religion and classes. It happens to people of all education and income levels.
My friend must be doing something to provoke her partnerís violence.
Of all the myths this is possibly the most insensitive. No woman "deserves" this sort of treatment Women's Aid Dundalk hears about from women seeking help, no matter what she has or has not done. So-called "provocation" often amounts to no more than asking for money for food, not having a meal ready on time or not wearing "decent clothes"
Your friend is the victim of abuse and is neither to blame nor deserving of such treatment. Whatever problem exists in a relationship, the use of violence to resolve them is never justified or acceptable. In a situation of domestic Violence where there are repeated attacks, women know that the more they resist the greater their suffering will be. This submission should in no way be confused with consent.
If it is so bad, why doesn't my friend just leave?
For most of us the decision to end a relationship is not an easy one. Your friend's emotional ties to her partner may still be strong, in the hope that the abuse will end. If your friend has been financially dependent on her partner, if she leaves she may face financial hardship. She may not know about available services. When your friend has previously tried to leave, her partner may have used violence or threat of it to stop her.
Doesn't my friend care about what's happening to her children?
Your friend is probably trying to do her best to protect her children from abuse. She may feel that the abuse is only directed at her and does not yet realize the effects on the children. Perhaps your friend believes that it will be too disruptive to break-up the family home or believes that it will be impossible to support the children alone. The children may beg to stay not wanting to leave their home or friends. She may fear losing custody of the children.
I know my friends partner - I really don't think he could hurt anyone.
Many abusers are not violent in public. They can be charming and lovable in a social situation, yet be extremely abusive in their own homes. Just like the well known saying- street angel, house devil. No one ever knows what goes on behind closed doors.
Alcohol causes Domestic Violence.
Alcohol does not and cannot make a man abuse a woman, but it is frequently used as an excuse. Many men drink and do not abuse anyone as a result. On the other and many men abuse women when they are sober. It can be easier for some men and for some women to believe that the violence would not have happened if drink had not been taken.
The root cause of violence against women has nothing to do with alcohol, class, race or the behavior of the women. It is a widespread and serious social problem which has to do with social and cultural attitudes to women and womenís place in society. It must be treated and combated as such.
All men who are violent to women come from abusive family background.
Whilst it is true that some men who are violent to women do come from a violent background, the family is not the only formative influence on behavior. Many men who abuse women do not come from violent backgrounds and other men who do come from abusive background do not abuse women. They choose to deal with their problems in a non-violent and constructive way.
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