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Oct 30

Myths & Truths of Domestic Violence

Posted on October 30, 2018 at 11:35 AM by Clare Casey

By Nancy Vincent, Housing and Human Services

To report a crime, call the City of Falls Church Police Department at 703-248-5053 or, for emergencies, please call 911.

If you or someone you know is experiencing any form of domestic violence, and you want to talk about options and resources available, call the 24-hour Domestic & Sexual Violence Hotline at 703-360-7273.

Another resource for anonymous, confidential help that is available 24/7 is the National Domestic Violence Hotline, 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY).

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Know the facts about domestic violence. Not everything you read and hear about it is true!

  • Domestic violence does not affect many people. This is false.
    Fact: It affects approximately 1 million people in the U.S. every year, and 85% of victims are women.
  • Domestic violence is just a momentary loss of temper. This is false. 
    Fact: The abuser makes a conscious decision to abuse. Loss of temper is a tool to enforce control through fear, and it is part of a pattern of abuse.
  • Drinking or drug abuse causes domestic violence.This is false.
    Fact: Some abusers make alcohol and drugs an excuse for violent behavior. While there is a correlation between substance abuse and domestic violence, one does not cause the other. However, substance abuse does lower inhibitions and may increase the frequency and severity of abuse.
  • If the abuser is truly sorry and promises to reform, the abuse will stop. This is false.
    Fact: Remorse and begging for forgiveness are manipulative methods used by abusers to control their victims. Abusers rarely stop abusing. In fact, the abuse will almost always get worse as time goes on.
  • Victims have personalities that seek out and encourage abuse. This is false.
    Fact: There is no set of personality traits that universally describes all victims of domestic violence. It’s the abuser who is responsible for the abuse, not the victim.

Battering is not a mental illness or an anger management issue, but a learned behavioral choice. People who use physical force do so to maintain power and control in relationships. Many abusers grew up in homes where they were abused or witnessed abuse.

If you think you are a victim of domestic violence, remember:
  • You are not alone. 
  • It is not your fault. 
  • Help is available. 
  • You must protect your children. 
Seek help by talking to a trusted friend, relative, counselor, health care provider, clergy member, or by calling the free and confidential Domestic Violence 24-Hour Hotline at 703-360-7273.