Domestic Violence: The Facts

Myths and Facts:

Myth 1:

Domestic violence only affects certain kinds of people.


  • Around the world, at least one in every three women has been physically or sexually abused during her lifetime.
  • Domestic violence is primarily a crime against women; however, men can be abused as well. In 2001, women accounted for 85% of the victims of intimate partner violence and men accounted for approximately 15%. Gay men, lesbians, bisexual and transgender persons are just as likely as heterosexual women to be abused by their partner.
  • Intimate partner violence affects people of all ages. Women 16 to 24 experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence. One in five female high school students reports being physically and /or sexually abused by a dating partner. Nearly 6% of couples 60 and older experienced physical violence in their relationship within the past year, and of these, 40% reported the first incident occurred at least 25 years ago.
  • Intimate partner violence affects people of all races, from all cultures, countries and religions.

Myth 2:

Domestic Violence is just a push, slap or punch- it does not produce serious injuries.


  • On average, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends in this country every day. In 2000, 1,247 women were killed by an intimate partner. The same year, 440 men were killed by an intimate partner.
  • 37% of women who sought treatment in emergency rooms for violence related injuries in 1994, were injured by a current or former spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend.
  • Firearms were the major weapon used in intimate partner homicides from 1981 to 1998.
  • Physical and sexual dating violence against adolescent girls is associated with increased risk of substance abuse, unhealthy weight control behaviors, sexual risk behaviors, pregnancy and suicide.

Myth 3:

Battering is a momentary loss of temper.


  • Domestic violence is defined as a pattern of assault and coercive behaviors, including physicals, sexual and psychological attacks, as well as, economic coercion.
  • 65% of women physically assaulted by an intimate partner report having been assaulted multiple times by the same partner.

Myth 4:

It is easy for victims of domestic violence to leave their abuser.


  • Battered women are eight times more likely to be killed or injured leaving their abuser than they are living with him.
  • Domestic violence was found to be the primary cause of homelessness more than half the time.Victims of domestic violence are often prevented from getting or keeping jobs by their abusers.
  • Many victims who leave their abusers face poverty unemployment, and homelessness as a result of leaving.

Myth 5:

Children are not affected when one parent abuses another.


  • Each year thousands of American children witness violence in their homes. Witnessing violence is a risk factor for long-term physical and mental health problems, substance abuse, and the possibility of becoming a victim or perpetrator of violence.
  • Witnessing family violence can be more traumatic than witnessing street violence, because those involved are people the child loves and depends on.
  • 40% to 60% of men who abuse women also abuse their children
  • .Fathers who batter are twice as likely as non-abusive fathers to seek sole custody of their children.