Bad relationships do not cause domestic violence. The idea that bad relationships cause violence in the home is one of the most common and one of the most dangerous misconceptions about domestic violence. This idea encourages all parties involved, especially the victim to minimize the seriousness of the problem and focus their energies on "improving the relationship" in the false hope that this will stop the violence. It also allows the abuser to blame the violence on the bad relationship and the victim, rather than acknowledging his/her own responsibility.
Trying to improve the relationship will unlikely end the violence. No type of relationship can trigger domestic violence. There are many couples who have had bad relationships yet never become violent or abusive. Many abusers are violent in every one of their relationships, whether they consider them bad or good. The violent individual is the sole source and cause of the violence, and regardless of the quality of a relationship and regardless of what a person does within the relationship, violence is never deserved.
Many alcohol and/or drug users are not violent, and at the same time, many batterers are not drug and alcohol abusers. How people behave and act when they are "under the influence" of alcohol and/or drugs are influenced by what we learn from society and culture as the correct ways to behave when we use substances. For example, first time marijuana users report not feeling high until the next time they use, after they have learned how to behave. Using drugs by itself is not a cause of violence.
In our culture today, many leisure and social events involve drinking, which can lower the senses and contribute or lead to violence, but drinking itself is never a cause of violence.
Understandably, it is often easier to blame alcohol or drug use than to admit that you or your partner is violent while sober. Episodes of drinking or drug use and domestic violence often occur separately and must be treated as two distinct issues. Neither alcohol consumption nor drug abuse can explain or excuse domestic violence.
For everyone, daily life is full of frustrations associated with everything from money, work, families, as well as a series of other personal roadblocks. Everyone experiences stress, and everyone responds to stress differently...
Certainly, domestic violence is related to social problems such as unemployment and a difficult economic situation, but violence is learned and it is a chosen response to stress. Some people take out their frustrations on themselves with drug or alcohol; some take it out on others with verbal or physical abuse. Some work out stress by taking up sports or hobbies, while still others fight back in socially positive ways. Learning to handle stress in constructive ways can be an important step in stopping violent behavior.
Domestic violence happens in all communities, of all colors, in all cultures. Domestic violence doesn’t care if you’re male, female, straight, queer, rich, or poor. It doesn’t matter if you were born in the United States or overseas. It doesn’t matter if you’re a U.S. citizen or if you are undocumented. It doesn’t matter if you make 100 grand a year or if you’re unemployed. It occurs across all areas of difference, at all levels of society, of all economic and of all political statuses.
Researchers and service providers have found, however, that economic and social factors can have an impact on how people respond to violent incidents and on what kind of help they seek. Affluent people have access to more resources and can usually afford private help like doctors, lawyers and counselors while people with fewer financial resources (i.e., those belonging to a lower economic class or a minority group) tend to call the police or other public agencies. These agencies are often the only available source of statistics on domestic violence, and consequently, lower class and communities of color tend to be wrongly overrepresented as the cause of domestic violence, creating a false distorted image of the problem.
When it comes to domestic violence, some people may follow the saying “it takes two to fight.” But many victims
report that the violence occurs unexpectedly, sometimes without warning. Often, the incident is caused by a situation that the abuser later claims as enough of a reason for violence. Unfortunately, the victim may blame herself/himself as many others do.
However, no one makes another person act violently, it is a choice. Abuse is not a moment of anger; it is a cycle of violence. This is proven in abusers that hit in places on the body that can be hidden or abusers that use more verbal and mental violence like name calling, threats, and isolation. Many abusers have watched TV, and they understand that physical violence and evidence can easily be found. When a person becomes angry, he/she can choose how to respond, and many possible responses are available. Even if a violent incident is preceded by a heated verbal argument, nothing - either words or actions justifies violence against another person, except in cases of self-defense.
If batterers were truly out of control, as many claim to be during violent incidents, abusers would be violent to everyone they meet, but in reality, they are only violent towards one or a few people. If batterers couldn’t control themselves, then there would be many more cases of domestic violence homicides. In fact, many batterers do "control" their violence, abusing their victims in less visible places on their bodies, such as under the hairline or on the torso. Batterers generally know the law and generally understand morality, knowing full well that violence is wrong. Therefore, they might use verbal/mental abuse or even sexual abuse, because many times these kinds of abuse do not leave a physical mark of violence like cuts and bruises. Furthermore, researchers have found that domestic violence occurs in cycles, and every episode is preceded by a predictable, repeated pattern of behavior and decisions made by the batterer.
Even though husband battering and domestic violence towards men do exists, there are still relatively few cases of husband battering and male victims showing up in police records, clinics or anonymous random surveys. The overwhelming portion of adult victims of domestic violence are women, current or former wives, girlfriends or lovers of the batterer.
The one exception to these findings is in the area of spousal homicide, where victims are equally male and female. However, studies indicate that at least half of the male victims of domestic violence homicide are killed by their partners in self-defense after a history of abuse.
Many of us have been raised with phrases like “home is where the heart is” and “there’s no place like home.” But to many people, home is not a safe place, as it is for a privileged few. Domestic violence accounts for a large and significant proportion of all serious crimes like aggravated assault, rape, and murder. Inside a home, such crimes can still be hidden from public view. Domestic violence as a crime is very similar to rape and sexual assault; they are crimes where the perpetrator is, most of the time, a person you know, someone you are close to, an acquaintance, a family member or a friend.
No, there are laws in place that protect survivors and victims of domestic violence, no matter your immigration status. If it is safe for you to call a domestic violence helpline, domestic violence advocates could provide you with the safest options for your situation. To reach ATASK’s helpline, please call 617-338-2355.