Domestic Violence Myths & Facts

Myth:  Women on college campuses do not have to worry about becoming victims of domestic violence.
Fact:   Dating abuse is a problem on college campuses and often an indication of abuse in subsequent relationships and marriages.

Myth:  Battered women can always leave and the situation can't be that bad, or they would.
Fact:   It may be difficult for a woman to leave her partner. Women stay in violent relationships for both emotional and practical reasons, including love, economic dependence, fear of reprisal, social isolation, and shame.

Myth:  Domestic violence only happens in poor, undereducated families and relationships.
Fact:   Studies of domestic violence have found that battering occurs among all types of families and relationships, regardless of income, profession, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, educational level or race. However lower income populations are over-represented in calls to police and shelters because of a lack of other resources.

Myth:  Alcohol and drugs cause domestic violence, not the abuser.
Fact:   Although there is a high correlation between alcohol/drugs and battering, it is not the cause of the abuse. Blaming the alcohol/drugs is an easy way for abusers to avoid taking responsibility for their actions.

Myth:  Children aren't aware of or affected by the violence in their home.
Fact:   Studies show that 90% of children are aware of the violence directed at their parent. Children who witness violence are just as traumatized as they would be if the violence was directly targeted at them.

Myth:  All boys who witness violence will grow up to be batterers.
Fact:   Studies have found that 30% of male child witnesses choose to become batterers as adults. The remaining 70% did not become batterers and are committed to ending the cycle of violence in their lives.

{Sources: California Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CALCASA) Resource Guide, 2006; Campus Advocacy Network, University of Illinois at Chicago}

Fresno County Facts

  • Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women between the ages of 15 and 44 in the United States; more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined.
  • In 2002 there were 7,961 calls to law enforcement regarding domestic violence in Fresno County.
  • In 2003 there were 8,291 domestic violence related calls for assistance in Fresno County. That is 330 more families in crisis.
  • Fresno County ranked #1 in felony domestic violence arrests in California (per capita).
  • 26% of the homicides in Fresno are related to domestic violence the 5th highest in California.
  • The high rates of domestic violence in Fresno County can be consistently linked to the economic and social structures that are part of the San Joaquin Valley dynamics.
  • One in three women are physically or sexually assaulted by a man sometime in her lifetime.
  • Every day in the United States, an average of three women are murdered by a partner or ex-partner.
  • Over half a million women are being stalked right now by a man.
  • In homes where partner abuse occurs, children are 1,500 times more likely to be abused.
  • Reliable data including police reports, witness statements, and emergency room reports indicate that men are the predominant aggressors in over 90% of reported battering cases.
  • Domestic violence is not limited to race, gender, age, national origin, sexual orientation, religion or socioeconomic lines it can affect anyone!

{Source: Marjaree Mason Center Fresno, California}