The Mary Parrish Center For Victims of Domestic & Sexual Violence
The Mary Parrish Center For Victims of Domestic & Sexual Violence




Facts About Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is one of the nation's best kept secrets. Myths and misunderstandings abound. Knowing the facts is an important step toward breaking the cycle of violence.

Fact: Almost four million women are beaten in their homes every year by their male partners. Although the first violent incident may not be severe, once battering begins, it tends to increase in severity and frequency, sometimes leading to permanent injury or death. What may begin as an occasional slap or shove will turn into a push down the stairs, a punch in the face, or a kick in the stomach.
Fact: Battering is not about anger or losing control; it is an intentional choice focused on maintaining power and control in the relationship. Batterers manage not to beat their bosses or terrorize their friends when they are angry.
Fact: The batterer is responsible for the violence - not the victim. People are beaten for breaking an egg yolk while fixing breakfast, for wearing their hair a certain way, for dressing too nicely or not nicely enough, for cooking the wrong meal, or any other number of excuses. These incidents do not warrant or provoke violence. Even when you disagree, you do not deserve to be beaten. People who are battered do not want to be beaten.
Fact: Violence does occur in same sex relationships, and the issues of power and control are similar to those found in heterosexual relationships. Homophobia allows us to trivialize the violence in same sex relationships and compounds the effects of the violence for the victim.
Fact: Substance abuse is involved in about half of all domestic violence incidents. Although drugs or alcohol may lower a person's self-control, they do not cause violence. Batterers often use drugs or alcohol as an excuse or permission to batter and to avoid responsibility for their abuse.
Fact: Because violence inflicted upon a woman by her partner is treated much differently than violence inflicted by a stranger, batterers are not always arrested. Traditionally, police were more likely to file a report if the offender was a stranger, rather than an intimate partner.
Fact: Battering crosses all economic, educational, ethnic, sexual orientation, age, and racial lines in equal proportions. There is no "typical" victim.
Fact: Batterers generally lead "normal" lives except for their unwillingness to stop their violence and controlling behavior in their intimate relationships. Batterers do not batter because they are crazy or mentally ill.
  • A woman is beaten every nine seconds in the United States. Domestic violence is the most under-reported crime in the country, with the actual incidence 10 times higher than is reported.

  • Eighty percent of children who live in homes where domestic violence occurs witness the abuse.

  • Lesbian and gay domestic violence occurs in approximately one-third of these relationships, about as often as in heterosexual relationships.

  • On average, four women are murdered every day by their male partner in the U.S.

  • Women in the U.S. are in nine times more danger in their own homes than they are in the street.

  • According to the U.S. Department of Justice, 95 percent of reported spousal assaults are committed by men against women. Assaults committed by women against men occur in approximately 5 to 10 percent of domestic violence matters.

  • About 17 percent of women report experiencing physical or sexual violence during pregnancy.

  • Battering prior to pregnancy is the primary predictor that battering will occur during pregnancy.

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