Center for Health Education & Wellness


Myths About Relationship Violence

Myth: Intimate partner violence affects only a small part of the population.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, from 25% to 50% of all women in heterosexual relationships are abused. Rates of violence in same-sex relationships are the same.

Myth: Intimate partner violence occurs only among poor or uneducated families.

Battering affects people of all classes, races, religions, nationalities and ages, married or not, straight and LGBT.

Myth: She/he won’t really hurt me.

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, 35% of all women who arrive at doctors’ offices or hospitals seeking emergency treatment are victims of domestic violence. Battering causes emotional damage and physical disability — even death. Fear of serious injury is based in fact: the most dangerous time for abused women is during a separation. Nearly one-half of all women murdered in the U.S. are killed by their male partners.

Myth: Abused women must secretly want to be hit – otherwise they would leave.

Victims may be reluctant to leave for a complex set of factors, such as shame, fear of greater injury or death, degraded self-esteem, financial dependence, or concern for the abuser.  Some women may be afraid to ask for help for fear that they won’t be believed.  Abusive relationships are isolating by nature; often when a person is ready to leave they find themselves separated from supportive family and friends.

Myth: Some victims ask for it by how they act.

Studies have repeatedly shown that what a woman does or doesn’t do has no effect on reducing the violence in a relationship. Interpersonal Violence (IPV) is about the need for power and control on the part of the abuser. Often abusive parties will justify their behavior by blaming their victims.

Myth: People batter their partners because they’ve been drinking, or because the victim has been drinking.

Alcohol and drugs are an excuse for violence, not the cause. Even chronic substance abusers batter when they are sober, and not all batterers are users of alcohol or drugs.

Myth: The University of Tennessee doesn’t help students who are victims of IPV.

There are a number of resources for student victims at UT, as well as in the greater Knoxville community.

These include the:

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