|Myth 1 – Domestic violence does not affect many people
- A woman is beaten every 15 seconds. (Bureau of Justice Statistics, Report to the nation on Crime and Justice. The Data. Washington DC Office of Justice Program, US Dept. of Justice. Oct 1983)
- Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women between ages 15 and 44 in the United States – more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined. (Uniform Crime Reports, Federal Bureau of Investigation, 1991)
- Battered women are more likely to suffer miscarriages and to give birth to babies with low birth weights. (Surgeon General, United States, 1992)
Myth 2 – Battering is only a momentary loss of temper
- Battering is the establishment of control and fear in a relationship through violence and other forms of abuse. The batterer uses acts of violence and a series of behaviors, including intimidation, threats, psychological abuse, isolation, etc. to coerce and to control the other person. The violence may not happen often, but it remains as a hidden (and constant) terrorizing factor. (Uniform Crime Reports, Federal Bureau of Investigation, 1990)
- “One in five women victimized by their spouses or ex-spouses report they had been victimized over and over again by the same person.” (The Basics of Batterer Treatment, Common Purpose, Inc., Jamaica Plain, MA)
Myth 3 – Domestic violence only occurs in poor, urban areas
- Women of all cultures, races, occupations, income levels, and ages are battered – by husbands, boyfriends, lovers and partners. (Surgeon General Antonia Novello, as quoted in Domestic Violence: Battered Women, publication of the Reference Department of the Cambridge Public Library, Cambridge, MA)
- “Approximately one-third of the men counseled (for battering) at Emerge are professional men who are well respected in their jobs and their communities. These have included doctors, psychologists, lawyers, ministers, and business executives. (For Shelter and Beyond, Massachusetts Coalition of Battered Women Service Groups, Boston, MA 1990)
Myth 4 – Domestic violence is just a push, slap or punch – it does not produce serious injuries.
- Battered women are often severely injured – 22 to 35 percent of women who visit medical emergency rooms are there for injuries related to ongoing partner abuse. (David Adams, “Identifying the Assaultive Husband in Court: You be the Judge.” Boston Bar Journal, 33-4, July/August 1989)
- One in four pregnant women have a history of partner violence. (Journal of the American Medical Association, 1992)
Myth 5 – It is easy for battered women to leave their abuser
- Women who leave their batterers are at a 75% greater risk of being killed by the batterer than those who stay. (Barbara Hart, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 1988)
- Nationally, 50 percent of all homeless women and children are on the streets because of violence in the home. (Senator Joseph Biden, U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Violence Against Women: Victims of the System, 1991)
- There are nearly three times as many animal shelters in the United States as there are shelters for battered women and their children. (Senate Judiciary Hearings, Violence Against Women Act, 1990)
More Myths and Facts
- Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women between the ages of 15 and 44 in the United States, more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined. (“Violence Against Women, A Majority Staff Report,” Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, 102nd Congress, October 1992, p.3.)
- There are 1,500 shelters for battered women in the United States. There are 3,800 animal shelters. (Schneider, 1990).
- Three to four million women in the United States are beaten in their homes each year by their husbands, ex-husbands, or male lovers. (“Women and Violence,” Hearings before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, August 29 and December 11, 1990, Senate Hearing 101-939, pt. 1, p. 12.)
- One woman is beaten by her husband or partner every 15 seconds in the United States. (Uniform Crime Reports, Federal Bureau of Investigation, 1991).
- One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. (Tjaden, Patricia & Thoennes, Nancy. National Institute of Justice and the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, “Extent, Nature and Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence: Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey,” 2000; Sara Glazer, “Violence, Against Women” CO Researcher, Congressional Quarterly, Inc., Volume 3, Number 8, February, 1993, p. 171; The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and The National Institute of Justice, Extent, Nature, and Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence, July 2000; The Commonwealth Fund, Health Concerns Across a Woman’s Lifespan: 1998 Survey of Women’s Health, 1999).
- In 1992, the American Medical Association reported that as many as 1 in 3 women will be assaulted by a domestic partner in her lifetime — 4 million in any given year. (“When Violence Hits Home.” Time. June 4, 1994).
- An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year. (Costs of Intimate Partner Violence Against Women in the United States. 2003. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Centers for Injury Prevention and Control. Atlanta, GA.)
- 85% of domestic violence victims are women. (Bureau of Justice Statistics Crime Data Brief, Intimate Partner Violence, 1993-2001, February 2003)
- Police report that between 40% and 60% of the calls they receive, especially on the night shift, are domestic violence disputes. (Carrillo, Roxann “Violence Against Women: An Obstacle to Development,” Human Development Report, 1990)
- Police are more likely to respond within 5 minutes if an offender is a stranger than if an offender is known to a female victim. (Ronet Bachman, Ph.D. “Violence Against Women: A National Crime Victimization Survey Report.” U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice and Statistics. January 1994, p. 9.)
- Battering occurs among people of all races, ages, socio-economic classes, religious affiliations, occupations, and educational backgrounds.
- A battering incident is rarely an isolated event.
- Battering tends to increase and become more violent over time.
- Many batterers learned violent behavior growing up in an abusive family.
- 25% – 45% of all women who are battered are battered during pregnancy.
- Domestic violence does not end immediately with separation. Over 70% of the women injured in domestic violence cases are injured after separation.
- 1 in 12 women and 1 in 45 men have been stalked in their lifetime. (Tjaden, Patricia & Thoennes, Nancy. (1998). “Stalking in America.” National Institute for Justice)
- One in 6 women and 1 in 33 men have experienced an attempted or completed rape. (U.S. Department of Justice, “Prevalence, Incidence, and Consequences of Violence Against Women,” November 1998)
- Nearly 7.8 million women have been raped by an intimate partner at some point in their lives. (Costs of Intimate Partner Violence Against Women in the United States. 2003. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Centers for Injury Prevention and Control. Atlanta, GA.)
- Witnessing violence between one’s parents or caretakers is the strongest risk factor of transmitting violent behavior from one generation to the next. (Frieze, I.H., Browne, A. (1989) Violence in Marriage. In L.E. Ohlin & M. H. Tonry, Family Violence. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Break the Cycle. (2006). Startling Statistics)
- Boys who witness domestic violence are twice as likely to abuse their own partners and children when they become adults. (Strauss, Gelles, and Smith, “Physical Violence in American Families: Risk Factors and Adaptations to Violence” in 8,145 Families. Transaction Publishers 1990)
- Children who witness violence at home display emotional and behavioral disturbances as diverse as withdrawal, low self-esteem, nightmares, self-blame and aggression against peers, family members and property. (Peled, Inat, Jaffe, Peter G & Edleson, Jeffery L. (Eds) Ending the Cycle of Violence: Community Responses to Children of Battered Women. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications, 1995.)
- 30% to 60% of perpetrators of intimate partner violence also abuse children in the household. (Edelson, J.L. (1999). “The Overlap Between Child Maltreatment and Woman Battering.” Violence Against Women. 5:134-154)
- The cost of intimate partner violence exceeds $5.8 billion each year, $4.1 billion of which is for direct medical and mental health services.
- Victims of intimate partner violence lost almost 8 million days of paid work because of the violence perpetrated against them by current or former husbands, boyfriends and dates. This loss is the equivalent of more than 32,000 full-time jobs and almost 5.6 million days of household productivity as a result of violence. (Costs of Intimate Partner Violence Against Women in the United States. 2003. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Centers for Injury Prevention and Control. Atlanta, GA.)
- There are 16,800 homicides and $2.2 million (medically treated) injuries due to intimate partner violence annually, which costs $37 billion. (The Cost of Violence in the United States. 2007. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Centers for Injury Prevention and Control. Atlanta, GA.)
- One in ten calls made to alert police of domestic violence is placed by a child in the home. One of every three abused children becomes an adult abuser or victim.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found in a national survey that 34 percent of adults in the United States had witnessed a man beating his wife or girlfriend, and that 14 percent of women report that they have experienced violence from a husband or boyfriend. More than 1 million women seek medical assistance each year for injuries caused by battering. (Federal Bureau of Investigation; U.S. Department of Justice National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS); Horton, 1995. “Family and Intimate Violence”)
- The average prison sentence of men who kill their women partners is 2 to 6 years. Women who kill their partners are, on average, sentenced to 15 years. (National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 1989)
- Women accounted for 85% of the victims of intimate partner violence, men for approximately 15%. (Bureau of Justice Statistics Crime Data Brief, Intimate Partner Violence, 1993-2001, February 2003)
- Between 600,000 and 6 million women are victims of domestic violence each year, and between 100,000 and 6 million men, depending on the type of survey used to obtain the data. (Rennison, C. (2003, Feb). Intimate partner violence. Us. Dpt. of Justice/Office of Justice Programs. NXJ 197838. Straus, M. & Gelles, R. (1990). Physical violence in American families. New Brunswick, N.J.; Tjaden, P., & Thoennes, N. (2000). Extent, nature, and consequences of intimate partner violence. National Institute of Justice, NCJ 181867)
- Women of all races are about equally vulnerable to violence by an intimate partner. (Bureau of Justice Statistics, Violence Against Women: Estimates from the Redesigned Survey, August 1995)
- People with lower annual income (below $25K) are at a 3-times higher risk of intimate partner violence than people with higher annual income (over $50K). (Bureau of Justice Statistics, Intimate Partner Violence in the U.S. 1993-2004, 2006.)
- On average between 1993 and 2004, residents of urban areas experienced highest level of nonfatal intimate partner violence. Residents in suburban and rural areas were equally likely to experience such violence, about 20% less than those in urban areas. (Bureau of Justice Statistics, Intimate Partner Violence in the U.S. 1993-2004, 2006.)
- Nearly three out of four (74%) of Americans personally know someone who is or has been a victim of domestic violence. 30% of Americans say they know a woman who has been physically abused by her husband or boyfriend in the past year. (Allstate Foundation National Poll on Domestic Violence, 2006. Lieberman Research Inc., Tracking Survey conducted