Domestic Violence

Society also enforces myths around domestic violence, stereotyping both perpetrators and survivors and making it more difficult for women who are dealing with a violent or abusive partner.

The perpetrator - violence and abuse is not perpetrated because of alcohol, drugs, stress or unemployment, as some stereotypes would have us believe. Alcohol and drugs may disinhibit a perpetrator, but they cannot make someone violent, they may only exacerbate the levels of physical violence perpetrated by an abuser. Mental illness and stress are also often cited as 'excuses' by perpetrators but do not actually cause abuse.

What is abuse? - many women find it difficult to label a relationship as abusive because no physical violence has occurred - this is false because all abuse begins the desire to wield control over a partner, and this can be enacted through physical, emotional or sexual abuse. Rape and sexual violence is also common within abusive relationships and can be very difficult for the survivor to talk about.

Why doesn't she leave? - many observers ask this question about abusive relationships and place blame on the woman who has not left. We may all feel that we would 'just leave immediately' but this ignores the constraints placed on women who have children, financial ties with the perpetrator, no place to go and may well still love the abuser and have memories of the ideal relationship with them before the abuse began. No one can make the decision to cut ties with an abuser except the woman herself.

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