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Facts About Domestic Violence 

Domestic violence is one of the nation's best kept secrets. Myths and misunderstandings abound. Knowing the facts is an important step toward breaking the cycle of violence.

It is a myth that people don't leave violent relationships. Many leave an average of five to seven times before they are able to leave permanently. You are in greater danger from your partner's abuse when you leave. Only you can decide what is best for you and your children. Whether you decide to remain with your abusive partner or leave, it is important for you to plan for your safety.

  • Almost four million women are beaten in their homes every year by their male partners. Although the first violent incident may not be severe, once battering begins, it tends to increase in severity and frequency, sometimes leading to permanent injury or death. What may begin as an occasional slap or shove will turn into a push down the stairs, a punch in the face, or a kick in the stomach.
  • Because violence inflicted upon a woman by her partner is treated much differently than violence inflicted by a stranger, batterers are not always arrested. Traditionally, police were more likely to file a report if the offender was a stranger, rather than an intimate partner. A Note for Victims
  • Domestic violence is one of the most under-reported crimes in the country, with the actual incidence 10 times higher than is reported.
  • On average, four women are murdered every day by their male partner in the U.S.
  • Women in the U.S. are in nine times more danger in their own homes than they are in the street.
  • According to the U.S. Department of Justice, 95 percent of reported spousal assaults are committed by men against women.
  • Assaults committed by women against men occur in approximately 5 to 10 percent of domestic violence matters.
  • Battering prior to pregnancy is the primary predictor that battering will occur during pregnancy
  • About 17 percent of women report experiencing physical or sexual violence during pregnancy.
  • Lesbian and gay domestic violence occurs in approximately one-third of these relationships, about as often as in heterosexual relationships.¬†

Power and Control:

  • Battering is not about anger or losing control; it is an intentional choice focused on maintaining power and control in the relationship.
  • Batterers manage not to beat their bosses or terrorize their friends when they are angry.
  • The batterer is responsible for the violence ‚Äď not the victim.
  • Substance abuse is involved in about half of all domestic violence incidents. Although drugs or alcohol may lower a person's self-control, they do not cause violence. Batterers often use drugs or alcohol as an excuse or permission to batter and to avoid responsibility for their abuse.
  • People are beaten for breaking an egg yolk while fixing breakfast, for wearing their hair a certain way, for dressing too nicely or not nicely enough, for cooking the wrong meal, or any other number of excuses. These incidents do not warrant or provoke violence. Even when you disagree, you do not deserve to be beaten.¬†¬†¬†
  • Batterers generally lead "normal" lives except for their unwillingness to stop their violence and controlling behavior in their intimate relationships.
  • Batterers do not batter because they are crazy or mentally ill.¬†¬†¬†

Who's at Risk?

  • Violence does occur in same sex relationships, and the issues of power and control are similar to those found in heterosexual relationships. Homophobia allows us to trivialize the violence in same sex relationships and compounds the effects of the violence for the victim.
  • Battering crosses all economic, educational, ethnic, sexual orientation, age, and racial lines in equal proportions. There is no "typical" victim.
  • Eighty percent of children who live in homes where domestic violence occurs witness the abuse.