Mind and Body: Myths, facts about domestic violence

Published 7:19 pm Sunday, October 1, 2017

By Melissa Sparks

HANDS Coordinator

Support is available for you if you find yourself in a domestic violence situation.

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There are 15 domestic violence programs in Kentucky. The programs began as safe shelters for victims of domestic violence, but as understanding of the complex issues facing victims of domestic violence continues to grow, domestic violence programs are increasingly committed to providing strong client support services.

In addition to providing a safe, secure environment for victims and survivors and their children, programs now also offer a variety of support services to residents and non-residents including: legal and court advocacy, case management, safety planning, support groups, individual counseling, housing assistance, job search and children’s groups.

Programs are also working with clients on resume writing, improving basic job skills, parenting, budgeting, and drug and alcohol issues

Here are several facts to dispel some of the many myths about domestic violence.

MYTH: Domestic violence does not affect many Americans.

FACT: A woman is beaten every 15 seconds in the United States. Additionally, 63 percent of young men between the ages of 11 and 20 are serving time for homicide for killing their mother’s abuser.

MYTH: Battering is only a momentary loss of temper.

FACT: Battering is the use of violence and other forms of abuse to establish control and power in a relationship. One in five female victims reports having been battered over and over again by the same person.

MYTH: Stress causes battering.

FACT: Obviously some batterers experience stress, but stress does not cause abuse. Many men under severe stress do not batter.

Even if the practitioner helps the batterer reduce his stress, the violence will continue or eventually resume because the batterer still feels entitled to assault his partner.

MYTH: Drugs and alcohol cause the violence.

FACT: Addictions are used as excuses to free the batterer from responsibility for the behavior. This theory does not explain why the batterer uses violence, why he targets a woman for abuse, nor why he batters when sober.

The addictive batterer must be treated for two separate problems — his addiction and his violence. He will not necessarily stop battering if he gains control over his addiction.

MYTH: Battered women provoke the violence.

FACT: Any woman can find herself battered. The victim is not at fault but rather the batterer, the partner who has committed a crime.

No one can be responsible for another person’s deliberate choices and actions. Domestic violence victims, however, frequently hear comments from their abusers like, “I did it for your own good,” or from outsiders, “you must have really made him mad.”

These statements can confuse a woman and lead her to take responsibility for the violence or blame herself. No matter what, domestic violence is not the victim’s fault.

MYTH: Only women are victims of domestic violence.

FACT: Approximately 95 percent of those battered are women; however, in a small number of cases, women are the batterers and their male partners are the victims.

For more information or help, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799 SAFE (7233) or 1-800-787-3224 (TDD) or you can call the local phone for the Bluegrass area at 800-544-2022.

You may also visit  www.beyondtheviolence.org  for more information.

Clark County Health Department supports families through a variety of programming and services, including nutrition therapy, family planning, immunizations, WIC, HANDS, community education events, Cooper Clayton smoking cessation and more.

For more information on the department’s  services, call 744-4482 or visit www.clarkhealthdept.org.

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