Domestic Violence: The Fact Behind The Myths

“Domestic Abusers are extremely violent people”
Though some domestic abusers are extremely violent people, they are actually the minority. Most of the domestic abusers we arrested never resisted or fought with us. Why? Because domestic abuse isn’t about violence it’s about control. The abuser wants to control their victim, and this control is enforced through physical violence, but the underlining fact is control. This is why they will not fight with the police, because they know they will not gain the control. Another example is say the abuser is at work, and his superior (who may even be a woman) asks him to do something that he may not want to do. He doesn’t beat the superior up because he doesn’t have the control. Yet at home, behind closed doors, he wants and gains the control. This is a difficult concept for many to understand. To help explain this better I have listed a few common control issues found in domestic abusers. You may want to check out an article from CragMama.com  for more.

Monitoring the victim’s comings and goings in great detail.
Isolating the victim from family or friends.
Discouraging the victim from working, joining organizations, attending school, or leaving the house.
Constantly accusing the victim of being unfaithful.
Belittling or humiliating the victim.
Controlling all finances and forcing the victim to account for what they spend in detail.
Destroying personal property or sentimental items.
Threatening to leave with the children or saying they will never see the children again.
As you can see domestic violence is a control issue. Actually the psychological damage done by this type of behavior is much greater then the actual physical abuse.

“Domestic Violence only happens to poor people.
“Domestic Violence has no boundaries; it affects all levels of income. I had a one case where the domestic abuser was an educated male who made a six figure income. His victim (former live in girlfriend) was an educated female who made a nice income herself. They both had good jobs, and lived in an expensive condo. Well he had beaten her so badly that she was hospitalized with a closed head injury. Talking with her later she stated that she could not believe she found herself in this situation. She stated that her abuser was a white collar worker who actually appeared on the outside to be a harmless geek. In fact, her friends couldn’t believe he was capable of this. A few days later we were called back to the residence to stand by as peace officers, while the woman packed up her stuff and moved out. During the time that we were there, I noticed how she couldn’t stop trembling. She was so afraid that her abuser would come back, and attack her while she was there. This was to spite the fact that two Police Officers were with her the whole time (remember this was many days later). What is sad this was not the first time she was abused, but hopefully with her leaving it will be the last. In case you’re curious yes he was arrested.

“Alcohol drug abuse, stress, and mental illness cause domestic violence”
This is not true, but is commonly used as an excuse from abusers who try to pardon their actions, and unfortunately their victims buy into this. Alcohol use, drug use, and stress do not cause domestic violence; they may go along with domestic violence, but they do not cause the violence itself.

“Domestic Violence is a personal problem between a husband and wife”

Domestic violence goes way beyond just the two immediate people involved. Look into a child’s face that sees this violence everyday. Then go visit that child about 10 to 15 years later and see what they have become. If they are male, they will most likely become domestic abusers themselves. If they are female they will most likely become domestic victims themselves. Why? Learned behavior; this was their environment growing up, and to them, this is just acceptable behavior that people do. It takes a very strong person to come out of that type of environment and not have it become part of their adult lives. A child who lives with domestic violence will never forget it.

“If it were that bad, she would just leave.”

Leaving a domestic violence situation is not so easy. Many times children are involved and the victim may not have any financial means of supporting themselves. Not only that, but they may fear that they will be killed if they leave. As strange as it may sound, some have a real psychological bond with their abuser, and just won’t leave. I have had many instances were we arrested an abuser and the next morning his victim is begging us to release him and recanting her story. This is one of the reasons why the law has changed in many states. Now it is the state not the victim, who prosecutes the domestic abuser.