Myths About Domestic Violence

At DSVRT, we regard domestic violence as particularly serious because there is often a continuing threat to the victim’s safety, and, in worst cases, the victim’s life and the lives of others (including children’s) may be at risk.

People have a right to feel safe especially in the four walls of their homes and be safe in their personal relationships. We know that domestic violence can have a devastating effect not only upon the victim but also upon families and especially upon children who witness or are aware of the violence. Stopping Domestic Violence and bringing perpetrators to justice is therefore a priority in Lagos State and we are determined to play our different roles in this regard.

Fact: Domestic violence is common throughout all levels of society, whether rich or poor. It is often easier to keep the violence hidden when a person has money and important friends, but it happens nonetheless. There is no evidence to support the idea that uneducated or poor people are more likely to abuse their wives or partners than are more educated and affluent people.

Fact: Very rarely is abuse a one-off. Most often it is part of an ongoing means of establishing and maintaining control over another person. Abuse tends to increase both in velocity and extent over a period of time.

Fact: Abusers are often apparently charming, generous and well-presented people who can hold positions of social standing. Abuse is kept for those nearest to him or her, to the privacy of their own homes. This Jekyll and Hyde tendency of the abuser can further confuse and frighten the person being abused, as the person in private is so very different to the person everyone else sees. It can also mean that when the person being abused finally does try to tell his/her friends, family or acquaintances of the abuse, he or she is not believed, because the person they are describing simply doesn?t fit the image portrayed in public.

Fact: Domestic violence happens in all kinds of families and relationships. Persons of any class, culture, religion, sexual orientation, marital status, age, and sex can be victims or perpetrators of domestic violence.

Fact: No one deserves to be abused. Period. The only person responsible for the abuse is the abuser. Physical violence, even among family members, is wrong and against the law.

Fact: False. Domestic violence is intentional conduct, and batterers are not out of control. Their violence is carefully targeted to certain people at certain times and places. They generally do not attack their bosses or people on the streets, no matter how angry they may be. Abusers also follow their own internal rules about abusive behaviors. They often choose to abuse their partners only in private, or may take steps to ensure that they do not leave visible evidence of the abuse. Batterers also chose their tactics carefully – some destroy property, some rely on threats of abuse, and some threaten children. Studies also indicate that in fact, some batterers become more controlled and calm as their aggressiveness increases.

Fact: False. Domestic violence has been documented in both rural and urban areas. Domestic violence is a problem everywhere.

Fact: The psychological impact of being raised in an abusive household can be profound. Many children develop cognitive and psychological problems after having experienced abuse second-hand. Eating disorders, sleeping disorders, depression, aggressive behavior, destructive rages, stuttering, shaking, and declined problem-solving skills are all symptoms of such abuse. Males and females who see their parents physically attack each other are three times more likely to hit their own partners than those who have non-violent parents. The sons of the most violent parents have a rate of wife-beating 10 times greater than the sons of non-violent parents.

If it were that bad, she would just leave. There are many reasons why women may not leave. Not leaving does not mean that the situation is okay or that the victim want to be abused. A battered woman has many legitimate reasons for staying in a violent relationship. There are many social, economic and cultural reasons a woman might choose to stay in an abusive relationship. These reasons are rational. Often, there is no place for her to go. She may not have a way to support herself or her children if she leaves, feel embarrassed or humiliated about the abuse, or fear that her friends, family and community will blame her for the abuse. She may be reluctant to leave for emotional or religious reasons. In addition, leaving entails substantial risks. She may fear that a batterer will carry out threats to harm her, himself the children, friends or family. Battered women are in the greatest danger of severe or even lethal attacks when they attempt to leave, and she is the only one who can judge when it is safe for her to do so. Leaving can be dangerous. The most dangerous time for a woman who is being abused is when she tries to leave. MANY VICTIMS DO LEAVE AND LEAD SUCCESSFUL, VIOLENCE FREE LIVES.