Myths About Abuse

Dispelling myths about abuse.

Woman Abuse Is:

  • NOT something that happens to only poor, uneducated women.
  • NOT something that women deserve or enjoy.
  • NOT the result of a woman’s actions, personality, or culture.
  • NOT fabricated by women whose memories are "false".
  • NOT a "bed" that women have made and should "continue to lie in".
  • NOT caused by women partnering with the "wrong" person.
  • NOT caused by women being addictive, co-dependent, or helpless.

Children of Violent Homes
Children of violent homes grow up believing:

  • It is all right for men to hit women
  • Violence is a way to win arguments
  • It is OK to hit someone if you are feeling angry or upset
  • Men are powerful, women are weak
  • There are few, if any, negative consequences for abusive acts
  • They are responsible for abuse and responsible for solutions

Children witnessing woman abuse:

  • Over 50% of young offenders charged with crimes had been exposed to woman abuse as children.
  • Violent behaviour is learned and studies show that between 40-60% of assaultive men witnessed woman abuse during their childhood.
  • Are at increased risk of showing less empathy and having lower self-esteem.
  • Have lower verbal, cognitive, and motor skills than children who do not witness violence in the home.
  • Exhibitmore aggression and antisocial as well as fearful and inhibited behaviours.
  • Demonstrate lower social competence and show more anxiety, aggression, depression, and temperament problems.

How children survive abuse and try to protect themselves:

  • Fighting back and defying the perpetrator
  • Pleasing and placating the perpetrator, complying with his demands
  • Not telling anyone about the violence for fear of making things worse
  • Not leaving for fear of making things worse
  • Leaving to try and make things better
  • Avoiding the perpetrator, e.g., working separate shifts
  • Protecting the kids by sending them away
  • Punishing the kids to avoid the perpetrator doing it or to keep them from upsetting him
  • Searching for help, going to a shelter, calling the police, getting a restraining order, trying to find help for the perpetrator
  • Dropping the search for help as a way to protect herself
  • Being "devious" as a way to survive, lying to the perpetrator and others
  • Encouraging the perpetrator to drink so he’ll pass out and not hurt anyone
  • Reasoning with the perpetrator and expressing disapproval of his behaviour
  • Trying to improve the relationship
  • Creating an internal space through fantasies that the perpetrator cannot touch
  • Having sex to placate the perpetrator and protect the children from violence
  • Drinking and using drugs to numb her pain
  • Lying about the perpetrator’s criminal activity or child abuse so he will not increase his violent behaviour or because he is her sponsor in Canada or because she is afraid the children will be removed