Facts about emotional abuse. Be aware!

We believe that people neet to know facts about emotional abuse and domestic violence. Unfortunately, there are plenty of myths, and some are quite destructive. In today’s society there is an ambiguous attitude towards domestic violence and its understanding. When there is a street fight and two people insult each other — it is a felony, when the same happens in the family – this is purely a family affair. There are many proverbs and sayings that reflect domestic violence and often justify it. Here are some of them: “Husband and wife – one of Satan.” “If he beats – it means he loves,” “Without a belt child will not grow into a real man” etc. Society is usually biased to victims of domestic violence, accusing them of provoking violence in their address. After all, with the exception of domestic violence that leads to a crime, authorities do not seem to need to do anything. A lot of people do not see the reality and the myths which have developed around the problems. Prejudices and myths are numerous, let’s focus on the most common.

Myth: Domestic violence and emotional abuse is a rare phenomenon.

Fact: Although official statistics on this issue in many countries until recently, was not carried out, in Russia, for example, in 1997, were 4 million registered family brawlers, 40,000 women applied to the relief centers. According to research, the violence in one form or another is observed in every fourth family, in an anonymous survey in some countries every second woman suffered from domestic violence or emotional abuse in one form or another. About 30% of the total number of homicides is committed in the family. In 1997 about half of all murders were the result of domestic violence. The number of cases of beatings of women by their partners is 36000. Per day.

Myth: Domestic violence is not a crime but a scandal, it is purely family business, in which one does not need to interfere.

Fact: Domestic violence is a criminal offense. In many countries, lawyers and attorneys that specialize in protecting the rights of women believe that domestic violence occupies one of the first places among all types of crime. It is responsible of types of bodily injury, beatings, torture, rape, etc.

Myth: abused women in the family are masochists.

Fact: It is generally considered that men beat women who “want and deserve to be beaten,” so they do not go away and continue to suffer. This myth implies that she enjoys being beaten by a man she loves. And if she wanted to, she could leave her abusive husband. Society asks “why she did not leave?” But for some reason, society does not care of the offender and does not ask him why he beats his wife. There are many reasons that prevent women to get away from the abuser: she may be ashamed to tell strangers about what have happened, afraid that the abuser will get mad and will hit her more often, various housing problems, economic dependency, lack of support from friends and financial assistance, emotional attachment to the partner responsible for the children. Most often there is a whole set of reasons, but masochism is not among them. The most dangerous for a woman’s life is a time when she decides to leave her tormentor. In this situation, the partner can become very aggressive due to the possibility of losing his “property”.

Myth: Some women provoke violence and deserve it.

Fact: This is a widespread belief suggests that the problem of battered women is social: it is rooted in gender stereotypes that are instilled from childhood. Provocation of violence means that if a woman behaved differently, i.e. fully adjusted to her partner and would satisfy all his desires, she would not be punished. Like, it is enough her behavior, and the problem of domestic violence is solved. Again, it turns out that the responsibility for the violence is shifted to the victim. In fact, the abuser will always find a reason to find fault and project his accumulated stress on a vistiv. No one is immune from mistakes, and the responsibility lies largely on the one who chooses the form of violent reaction. The Convention on Human Rights, Art. 3 and Art. 5, is stating that no one deserves punishment, torture and humiliation. This myth is very common and has deep roots. It is based on the belief that a man is a head of the family, and the law is on his side; so it can “punish” the woman. If you take this myth as true, you accept the idea that in certain circumstances, a man has the right to resort to violence, especially if the woman hits is his “triggers.” This myth is based on several assumptions:

  • violence is a normal reaction to something;

  • it defines the nature of the relationship for man;

  • if something goes wrong, he decides, he has the right to violence.

Any reference to a “provocation” means that the fault lies with the woman, and the man is removed from any responsibility. When it comes to other crimes, no one would dream of blaming the victim.

Myth: The cause of violence is alcohol abuse.

Fact: The consumption of alcohol reduces the ability to control behavior. But we can not say that the abuser or rapist, even if he was drunk, was acting unconsciously. He is in position to choose the time and place for a beating so that there was no witnesses, and its effects were not found. At the same time among the abusers are many men who do not consume alcohol at all. Some, having treatment for alcoholism, continued to be aggressive and violent towards relatives. It is appropriate to talk about the two problems (violence and alcoholism), contributing to each other.

Myth: Domestic violence is possible only in families of low social level.

Fact: Domestic violence and emotional abuser does not have social boundaries. This happens in all social groups regardless of their level of education and income. Experience of various “hotlines” shows that abusers may be scientists, businessmen and workers, and employees, they may be poor and rich. It is noted however, that the higher the educational level of the abuser, the more sophisticated is violence.

More facts about emotional abuse:

Myth: People who are abusing their family members, are mentally ill and behave similarly aggressive with everyone.

Fact: As a rule, offenders lead “normal” way of life except for those moments when they do not control the outbreak of violent behavior, their social status can be quite high, they can occupy managerial positions, to lead an active social life, to be successful in business. They are able to control their behavior and understand where and to whom you can be aggressive emotions. Unlike psychopath they can feel a sense of guilt, shame and remorse.

Myth: People who are abused their family members are not loving their partners.

Fact: they use love to keep women within abusive relationships. This is proved by the existence and the cycle of violence. After the third stage of the cycle, they can be loving and caring, and kind, and helpful. And can do it sincerely, and may themselves believe that they will not commit further acts of violence. But all people understand the meaning of love in different ways. Abusers in this concept put the power and control over another person, saying that they take care of that person. They may love a partner as a thing, as their property.

Myth: Once an abuser — always an abuser.

Fact: If it is true theory that violent behavior is psychologically acquired, the perpetrators can be taught the skills of non-aggressive behavior. In many countries educational programs for people who abuse family members, operate rather successfully. The purpose of such psychotherapeutic groups is to teach abusers to realize the real causes of their aggressive behavior, to understand and express their feelings in a safe way, and be able to solve problems nonviolently. Experience has shown that about 50% cease to broadcast their aggression to the family, and the remaining 25% of these groups do so after passing a second time, i.e. around 75% of abusers may opt out of violent relationships.

Myth: Once abused women will always be a victim.

Fact: Using advice from the experts, the woman can return to a normal life, if the cycle of violence is broken, and the woman is not in a situation of violence and danger. Many women then came out for the second marriage, and live free from violence, in an atmosphere of love and support. This myth indirectly support the myth of the her responsibility for the fact that she was beaten and humiliated.

Myth: The man will stop the violence, “when we get married.”

Fact: Women think that men cease to control if they were married. It is assumed that, having achieved the goal (marriage), they will calm down and believe that “she loves him”, because marriage is the ultimate proof of love. But the problem is that this does not happen a lot, and the cycle of violence continues.

Myth: children need their father, even if he is aggressive.

Fact: Without a doubt, ideally children need a mother and a father. However, children living in families with domestic violence, differ from their peers — they express increased anxiety, fatigue, psychosomatic disorders, depression, low self-esteem, psychological problems, nightmares, they are prone to aggressive behavior. Children who witness emotional or physical abuse in their families, often have the same problems that children exposed to violence. These children may ask the mother to get away from his father to escape the violence, or they prefer to live with grandparents, in a boarding school, some are forced to leave the house to the street to avoid abuse in the family. According to psychologists, children who grow up in families with domestic violence perceive a violent relationship model as a norm of behavior, and subsequently transfer this model to their own families. They themselves become tyrants or get plagued with violence. Most of the boys choose the model of behavior of the aggressor, and the girls marry violent and aggressive men, and in these new families violence is even more cruel and terrible.

Myth: Domestic violence is a new phenomenon, born of economic insecurity and stress.

Fact: custom to beat one’s wife as old as marriage itself. In the most ancient times, evidence of which came to us, the law openly encouraged and sanctioned wife-beating. Yes, sooner or later everyone experience a state of stress, but not all are subjected to violence of their loved ones.

More facts about emotional abuse:

Myth: It is useless to combat domestic violence. It exists everywhere and always.

Fact: The various forms of violence against women have a very long history. Now, however, in different countries, there is an unequal relation to this issue. For example, in the US, where the system of control and prevention of domestic violence is well developed, each year about 2000 women are killed. In other countries, this figure is more than six or seven times higher. For example, the probability of being killed by their partners for women in Russia is 2.5 times higher than that for women in the USA, which in turn are two times more likely to die by the hand of their partners than women in Western Europe (2000).

Myth: quarrels between wives and husbands have always existed. This is natural and can not have serious consequences.

Fact: quarrels and conflicts may indeed be present in family relationships. The difference between family conflict and family violence lies in the presence of the real causes of the conflict and the lack of such in the act of violence. The abuser often explains his violent behavior with various reasons, but in fact it is all about having the power over another person. A distinctive feature is the cyclical nature of violence and the intensity of what is happening and the severity of its consequences. Violence is a carefully constructed system of establishing power and control to suppress the self of another person. Women subjected to domestic violence, live in constant fear and stress, which leads to a loss of confidence, low self-esteem building, and various ailments (headaches, insomnia, back pain, etc.).

Myth: Women are the offenders in the same way as men.

Fact: as shown by studies carried out in different countries of the world, it is men who are most often the offenders. For example, statistics from the US and Canada, based on judicial databases and police reports show that in 90-95% of cases of domestic violence, it is women who suffer, not men.

Myth: slap never hurt seriously.

Fact: Violence can start simply with criticism, going to humiliation, isolation, then slap, kick, regular beatings, and sometimes death. A slap in the face is often not seen as physical violence, although in fact it is — it is an act of humiliation. It is also important to take into account the personal characteristics of the woman, her sensitivity and vulnerability.

Myth: abused women can always leave the house.

Fact: in a society where women are prescribed, from the socio-cultural point of view, to believe that love and marriage are their true self-realization, it is often assumed that she has the right to leave the house when domestic violence is becoming very serious. In fact, in reality, there are many obstacles for women in this way. Until now, our society believes women are obliged to maintain a strong family, “family home”. There are other reasons: being ashamed to tell strangers about what happened, afraid that the abuser will get more mad and will be hitting her more often, housing problems, economic dependency, isolation, emotional attachment to the partner responsible for the children, the fear that he will take the children, fear of revenge (up to murder) after her departure.

Myth: in marriage there may not be sexual abuse.

Fact: this belief is reinforced by the concept of “marital debt”, i.e. certain sexual obligations of wife towards husband: “she knew why we got married.” Often the perpetrator perceives the avoidance of sexual intimacy as a challenge to his authority and control, followed by punishment: forced sexual intercourse using force, threats or blackmail, forced sexual act in unacceptable for women form abuse of a sexual nature, etc. . Moreover, the abuser may justify this by saying that “women like to be conquered,” which is a form of sex play.

More facts about emotional abuse:

Myth: most male offenders are immigrants.

Fact: very common prejudice about the prevalence of violence by men, who are from other countries. Studies that would confirm such a myth, do not exist. This statement also diverts attention from the Western culture of humiliation of women, which is reflected in pornography magazines for men, advertising. Culture is not always conducive to the support of women and gender equality. Immigrant women are more vulnerable in many aspects than other women, and it is a well-known fact in the women’s shelters in Europe. Social network and support services for immigrant have far fewer resources than other organizations and services of this kind.

Myth: Some women are attracted to rude men and offenders.

Fact: The studies do not support this myth. They argue that such men behave the same way in the new marriage / new relationship. Thus, the problem is that the man does not know how to behave differently, rather than choosing the wrong woman. Very often this leads to cases of incest, rape and domestic violence being blamed on the victim – in an attempt to shift responsibility for the crime committed with the offender to the victim.

Myth: men have difficulties to express themselves / talk about love.

Fact: This statement is very common among psychologists and psychiatrists, although there is no research that would confirm it. Acceptance of the fact of emotional weakness as an explanation for the violence will constitute acceptance of excuses abuser. This situation occurs when a woman contesting the power of man and refuses to obey. Men who resort to violence, in fact, use their power, and in such cases, any talk about their weaknesses is pretty irrelevant.

Myth: she just needed an excuse to leave him.

Fact: every relationship begins with love. For most women, the first slap in the face is a surprise. Violence does not occur at the beginning of a relationship, when it is easy to leave, rather after some time when relations have become stable, and the man began to have some impact on the woman. There is a close link between control over women, and physical violence. Men, in order to establish control over women, often try to limit their contact with family and friends. He also requires her to report about where she was and with whom. He criticizes what she was doing, her appearance, etc. Experience violence from men you love, and depend on, is a very traumatic experience. Another reason due to which a woman can stay – it maybe simply dangerous to go. No one can guarantee the safety of the woman – the highest risk of violence is when she decides to leave.

Myth: The offender can not control his aggression, with anger, he loses control of himself.

Fact: the offenders are rarely spontaneous in a state of anger. On the contrary, they deliberately choose a situation in which they can use violence when they are alone and no witnesses (the only witnesses may be children). He controls himself in the violence. If it were not for this control, the number of women killed in the violence would increase. The purpose of the offender – to control their partner, not to kill her.

Myth: Men resort to violence when they drink; they do not realize what they are doing.

Fact: some men are aggressive only in a state of intoxication, and some when they are sober Alcohol is not a cause of violence; alcohol can also be used as an excuse for violence.

Myth: abused women often suffer from some form of dependency (alcohol, etc.).

Fact: Yes there are quote a lot of such women. However, abused women, are found in all social and age groups. Women who suffer from drug addiction or alcoholism, are often subjected to violence, but it is not the largest group among the victims of violence.

Myth: Women can also resort to physical violence, if couple lives in a violent relationship.

Fact: if a woman has resorted to violence against a partner, it is almost always in self-defense or out of desperation. Violence against women by men brings a significantly more physical injury than the violence of women against men. Women are more likely than men to seek medical help after acts of violence by men, and not vice versa. Results of the study show that in situations of violence a woman always had the fear that she always got injuries regardless of whether it meets violence or she is trying to protect herself.

Myth: violence will stop by itself, because the abuser can change.

Fact: family therapy, in which attempts are being made to develop strategies to work with abuse and violence, often involve a high degree of risk for women subjected to violence. Therapy support the excuse of the offender, who argues that a woman has a problem, and therefore she is also to blame for the violence. That’s why she needs therapy also. It is believed that they both have to work to change the relationship. But a woman can not be held responsible for the man’s part of violence. His behavior is a problem, and it must change. Many women live with such men and believe that they can change. There are cases where physical violence stops, but then batterers use psychological pressure.

More facts about emotional abuse:

Myth: pornography and violence against women – these are two different issues.

Fact: The majority of consumers of pornography are men. Sexual violence exposes women and girls under the guise of eroticism and sexuality. Experience in women’s shelters shows that pornography is used as a “source of inspiration” for offenders. Pornography actually results in a direct damage (women are used for the production of pornography) and indirect (the effects of consumption of pornography).

Myth: violence against women is a family, not a social problem.

Fact: violence against women and children, especially physical violence, resulting in high costs to society. In some countries – for example, in Switzerland and the Netherlands, there have been studies on the cost of domestic violence to society: in-patient treatment, medicines, lawsuits, attorneys’ fees, imprisonment, etc. To investigate the effects of emotional and psychological abuse is much more difficult.

Myth: a man can be a good father, even despite the fact that he beats his wife.

Fact: The results of international studies have shown that 90% of children whose mothers are exposed to violence, are witnesses of violence. From 40% to 70% of children are also exposed to violence, and 30% of these children suffer from sexual abuse and violence.

Myth: Domestic violence is not a serious problem; in every family there are quarrels.

Fact: violence and strife are completely different things. It is normal when people are arguing, defending their point of view. However, violence it is not about the differences, it is abut the use of physical, sexual, emotional abuse and threats in order to establish control over the thoughts and emotions of partner. When there is violence in a relationship, there is no place for discussions: the woman is afraid to express her disagreement. Men use the term “quarrel” in situations where they do not allow women to express a different opinion.