Warning Signs

1. Domestic violence usually only happens in married couples.

  • MYTH. As many as one-third of all high school and college-age young people experience violence in an intimate or dating relationship. Physical abuse is as common among high school and college-age couples as married couples.

2. Partners or couples sometimes push each other around when they get angry, but it rarely results in anyone getting seriously hurt.

  • MYTH. Domestic violence is the number one cause of injury to women between the ages of 15 to 44 in the U.S. It causes more injuries than car accidents, muggings and rapes combined. Of the women murdered each year in the U. S., 30% are killed by their current or former husband or boyfriend.

3. While females can be abusive and abuse happens in same-sex couples too, it is much more common for males to abuse their female partners.

  • FACT. About 90% of known victims of relationship violence are females abused by their male partners.

4. Most people will end a relationship if their boyfriend or girlfriend hits them.

  • MYTH. Nearly 80% of girls who have been physically abused in their intimate relationships continue to date their abuser after the onset of violence.

5. People abuse their partners because they can’t control their anger.

  • MYTH. People who abuse others are not usually out of control. They do it to gain power and control over the other person. They often use tactics besides violence such as threats, intimidation, psychological abuse and isolation from friends or family to control their partners.

6. Most men who abuse their partner grew up in violent homes.

  • FACT. Men who have witnessed violence between parents are three times more likely to abuse their own wives and children than children of non-violent parents. The sons of the most violent parents are 1,000 times more likely to become batterers.

7. People who abuse are psychos/crazy.

  • MYTH. Abusers are normal people that we encounter in everyday life. They can be the smartest, quietest, coolest, or the best athlete on campus. What they have in common is their inability to control their anger and aggressive impulses.

8. If a person is really being abused, it is easy just to leave.

  • MYTH. There are many very complicated reasons why it’s difficult for a person to leave an abusive partner. One very common reason is fear – women who leave their abusers are at a 75% greater chance of being killed by the abuser than those who stay.

9. Relationship abuse happens most often among the poor and people of color.

  • MYTH. Abuse in relationships happens amongst all classes, races, and cultural groups in society.

10. People who are abused often blame themselves for their abuse.

  • FACT. Most people who are abused blame themselves for causing the violence. However, the fact is that NO ONE is ever to blame for another person’s violence – violence is always a choice, and the responsibility is 100% with the person who is violent.