True: Indeed, violence is a crime, whether it takes place inside or outside a couple.
False: According to a study by the World Health Organization, 1 in 5 women living in North America has experienced physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner in her lifetime. (Source: Institut National en santé publique, Trousse Média en violence conjugale, Québec, https://www.inspq.qc.ca/violence-conjugale/statistiques/victimes)
False: Conflicts are part of any relationship.
False: Women stay for various and complex reasons: they hope to change the person they love, they believe in their promises, they feel guilty about breaking up the family, they fear threats, they lack social or economic resources to leave, or they have nowhere to go.
False: Many abused women go through an ambivalent stage where they try to decide whether to leave or stay. They leave to see if they can survive outside that relationship but may return to be sure their partner will not change.
False: Men who believe that their partner and children belong to them and must be controlled do not hold the same beliefs about other people and, consequently, may not be violent towards others. Often, people outside the intimate circle of the couple cannot believe in the man’s violence since he behaves very calmly and pleasantly with them. He can be charming but also manipulative, knowing how to hide his true nature in social relationships.
False: Therapy addresses only the issue of violence and is not a miracle cure. The consequences and injuries caused by domestic violence on the victim do not disappear magically. It is essential for the woman to find ways to heal physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
True: Indeed, the man engaging in violence towards his partner can be anyone. He can come from any background, be a doctor or unemployed, have little or a lot of education, be young or old, from any ethnocultural background. There is no specific profile.
False: Violence is not an illness; it is a chosen behavior by the person exercising it to dominate and control the other. The man who engages in violence is aware of the actions he takes as he pursues the goal of complete control and decision-making for his partner.
True: Indeed, he is 100% responsible for his violence. However, he will try to shift some of the responsibility onto his partner. Some difficult life situations or childhood experiences may explain learned strategies, but they do not justify the violence.
False: Therapy is not a miracle solution. The man can change to the extent that he genuinely wants to change and makes the necessary efforts. Therapy is only the beginning of change. The man must continue his personal work to modify behaviors he has exhibited for months and/or years. Note that therapy works better on a voluntary basis; a court order is rarely a guarantee of success.
False: Nothing justifies violence. No woman, regardless of what she says or does, deserves to be subjected to violence. Holding the woman responsible by blaming her excuses the partner and the violent acts he committed. By doing so, we perpetuate the use of violence as an acceptable means to solve a problem and add to the woman’s guilt who is experiencing this violence.
False: Violence against women is too widespread to be explained in this way. Most aggressors only express their violence within the family. They are often good workmates or charming neighbors. Domestic violence is a choice to take control and power. There’s no such thing as a typical abusive partner. It is estimated that only 3% of men in violent relationships suffer from mental illness.
False: Alcohol and/or drugs are not the cause, even though they are frequently associated with domestic violence. In many cases, however, consumption triggers aggression, but during sober moments, the man continues to exert control through more subtle forms of violence. Consumption serves as an excuse to absolve the man of responsibility and justify acts of violence committed. It can facilitate the use of physical force. This association of violence with alcohol and drugs increases women’s tolerance and risks once again diverting the problem. Women may consider that their partner is not inherently violent because he only becomes so when he has consumed. This attenuates the significance of the violence manifested towards them.
True: Being pregnant does not protect a woman from domestic violence. For the controlling partner, pregnancy is very disconcerting, and he fears losing control over his partner. So he resorts to violence. This violence is directed against both the woman and the children. Over one in five battered women were assaulted by their partner during pregnancy, or the violence escalated during their pregnancy.
False: In reality, the most dangerous time for a woman is when she’s trying to leave her partner, or shortly after leaving him. One-third of women who were abused while living with their partner feared being killed someday. Living through domestic violence affects self-esteem. This is why breaking the cycle is so difficult for women.
( Source: Government of Quebec, Myths and realities about domestic violence<http://violenceconjugale.gouv.qc.ca/comprendre_mythes.php>)