Myths & Misunderstandings
Look at some of these myths and misunderstandings and see if they challenge your beliefs about domestic and family violence. Click on the references for links to further reading materials.
Child abuse isn't that common, so I dont need to worry about it.
Research into child sexual abuse suggests that the unofficial estimates are much higher than that reported by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). These estimates have ranged from figures of 1 in 4 girls to somewhere between 1 in 7 and 1 in 12 boys as being victims of sexual abuse (James, 2000).
I should be more worried about 'stranger danger'.
Over 90% of child abuse cases involve a perpetrator that the child knows (Richards, 2011).
Women can just leave the abuse
There are many reasons why women cant 'just leave' abusive households and partners. This statement makes a very complex situation seem relatively trivial. It assumes that women are almost to blame as they do not pack up and leave their abuser. There are many reasons including:
Safety concerns (threats to their life or the lives of their children and family)
Housing difficulties (homelessness)
Financial barriers (lack of access to money and employment)
Lack of access to support (isolation by the perpetrator)
Social attitudes and beliefs (victim-blaming)
Read more about this myth HERE.
Women get VROs to punish men
Women get VROs to feel protected and to keep their children safe. Chung (2014) conducted a study on perpetrators perceptions around VROs and why they breached them. Many men claimed that women filed for restraining orders when they were lying about the abuse, becuase they were being spiteful, and that they did not genuinely feel afraid or fear for their safety when wanting a VRO, when of course; they did.
Find out more about Chung's (2014) study HERE.
I would know if a family member was being abused
Domestic and family violence is often hidden as many women and children are too scared to speak out and perpetrators manipulate their behaviour in front of other people, often coming across as charming and friendly (Roberts, 2005).
Men can be bad partners, but good fathers
If men are abusive towards their partners in front of their children, or if the children can sense that their mother has been abused in some way, this is a form of abuse against children. Men that are abusive towards their partners are also perpetrating abuse against their children.