Facts & Myths About Violence

Domestic Violence may not be what you think...

Myth: Family violence is not common.
Fact: One in ten women in Canada are victims of violence, by conservative estimates. As many as 30% of Canadian women are likely to experience abuse at some point in their lifetime.

Myth: Family violence is usually an isolated incident, or an argument that "got out of hand."
Fact: Studies have shown that family violence might occur as many as 35 times before the victim first tells anyone. Abuse is rarely a one-time occurrence and tends to worsen over time when there are no direct interventions.

Myth: Family violence is a family matter and can be solved by the family.
Fact: Assault is a crime. Police are mandated to lay charges when there are reasonable and probable grounds. It will rarely stop unless there is an intervention from outside the family. Family violence is detrimental to the whole family - it creates a breakdown of support and the loss of the family as a place of safety, nurturing and well-being.

Myth: Alcohol or stress at work causes a person to beat their partner.
Fact: Family violence is NOT caused by stress, alcohol or drug abuse, poverty, mental illness or other circumstances. People who are violent and abusive are making a choice to be that way. It may be exacerbated by such circumstances, and these circumstances may be worsened by violence and abuse. Where there is family violence, there is more likely to be alcohol or other drug use. Injury is more serious in situations involving alcohol or drug use.

Myth: Abuse victims could leave their abusive partners if they really wanted to.
Fact: Poverty and lack of protection are real problems for women who chose to leave an abusive relationship. Single women with children form the majority of Canada's poor. Abusive partners often threaten to kill the woman--and children--if she attempts to leave. The risk for excalating abuse, including criminal harassment (stalking), physical injury and homicide, is highest in the weeks and months immediately following separation. The victim's greatest loss is of self-esteem, and without that, the victim may not have the internal resources to take the dramatic action necessary.

Myth: Men who claim to be abused by their partners are lying.
Fact: Although the incidence of abuse of the male partner appears to be less, it may be a reflection of the hesitancy of the male to report his abuse. Because of the low report rate it is harder to find resources for male victims.