Guest Author - Jeanette Stingley
In this article, we will look at four common myths about Domestic Violence, both about the abuser and his/her victim. These are ones I hear all the time.
Battered women are helpless, passive and fragile; have little education, no job skills, and have many children; and are African American
These stereotypes are frustrating. Some may be true to some victims and some may not be. Domestic violence can occur in any household despite social status, race, education, age and religious group the household claims to be.
Since she won't leave, she must like the abuse.
Someone said this to me one time and I balled my eyes out. Sigmund Freud began this assumption. He and some other psychologists drew the conclusion that an abused person may derive some sort of sexual pleasure from abuse. This is where the fine line between masochistic fetishes and abuse are questioned. The simple answer is , if the woman doesn't like what is being done to her, then it is abuse. There are women who get pleasure from being controlled, spanked, etc. That is not abuse.
An abuse victim suffers from a psychological problem if she/he chooses to stay.
So many times victims are "blamed" for the abuse. This blame can come from friends and family members of the couple. Abuse can take a huge blow to the mental health of the victim. Many victims may exhibit signs of some mental health problems. Imagine feeling fear every minute, every second of your life because you don't know when a violent episode will occur. For years, I was paranoid, constantly sitting or laying with my back against a wall or hard surface so he couldn't sneak up behind me. I have been away from my abuser for almost 4 years and to this day when someone comes up behind me and puts their hand on one of my shoulders, I jump. I know he isn't going to be there, I know he can't hurt me anymore, yet I have been programmed to fear someone coming at me from behind. I even jump when my own husband does this. So, yes eventually mental problems may occur from consistent abuse but that doesn't me we are mentally ill to begin with.
She/he must have done something to cause the abuse.
Again this is victim blaming. No one is responsible for someone else's behavior or actions but her/himself. NO ONE DESERVES TO BE HIT! Victims spend excessive amounts of time appeasing their abusers and making sure the abuser is "happy" to prevent episodes of abuse. The abuser chooses to abuse his victim.
Check back next week for another discussion of four more myths of domestic violence!