3 Incorrect Assumptions about Domestic Violence Victims

Domestic violence is not just physical abuse; it can also be sexual, financial, and emotional. A common misconception of domestic abuse is that the abuser is driven by anger. However, anger is often just the mask or excuse the abuser uses to justify their actions. Domestic violence is not moments where the abuser loses control over their rage; it is an active choice the abuser makes to exert control over the victim. Abuse is driven by a desire for control to maintain power in a relationship and assume a position of superiority.

3 Misconceptions about Domestic Violence Victims

Victims who experience domestic violence are often unwilling, unable, or afraid to step forward about their situations for fear that no one will believe them. The incorrect assumptions that people have, especially those in law enforcement or the medical field, can negatively impact their interactions with a domestic violence victim. Victims who fear getting judged or turned away are less likely to seek help. It’s important to understand misconceptions about domestic violence victims’ to help make a space where victims feel safe and comfortable coming forward and seeking help.

1. They Would Leave If They Wanted To

Many people who have never experienced domestic violence have difficulty conceptualizing why an individual would stay in an abusive relationship. It’s a straightforward issue on the outside. They’re being abused; therefore, they should leave. However, the answer is hardly ever that simple for victims because their situations are often more complex than they appear to be to outsiders.

Leaving an abusive partner takes almost everything the victim has, their emotional and physical strength and their financial resources. Often victims do not have much left, both emotionally and financially, because their abuser wants them to be powerless. Additionally, leaving is the most dangerous time for an abuse victim due to the abuser’s attempts at retaining their power in the relationship. Leaving is never simple for victims for many reasons:

  • They may feel too exhausted or overwhelmed to change their life
  • They may feel socially or personally pressured to remain in the relationship
  • They may be financially dependent on their abuser
  • They may fear for their children’s safety
  • They may fear losing custody of their children
  • They may fear retaliation
  • They may fear nowhere will be safe
  • They are in denial of their situation

While it may seem challenging to understand why victims remain, for victims, it’s often harder to get out than it is to stay.

2. The Victim Is Always a Woman

While most of the narrative we see revolves around women being the victims of domestic violence, that doesn’t mean men never suffer domestic abuse. In fact, one in ten men have experienced sexual abuse, physical abuse, or stalking by an intimate partner. The misconception that men don’t or can’t be domestic violence victims can negatively harm them. Since the narrative is that men aren’t or can’t be victims, men are less likely to come forward about their abuse. Victims can’t leave if they do not feel they will have the help and support to do so; the bias that men are abusers only, not victims, places them in a tricky situation. If they leave and no one believes them because of their gender identity, they risk their own safety with no chance of escape.

3. Victims Are Always Straight

There is little research surrounding domestic violence in LGBTQ+ relationships because of the bias within the institutions meant to help victims. However, a study conducted by the CDC states that domestic violence does occur in LGBTQ+ relationships at a similar or higher rate than in the general population. LGBTQ+ individuals are more likely to end up in an abusive relationship but less likely to come forward due to social prejudices, fear of being outed, and a variety of other reasons unique to the LGBTQ+ community. Believing the narrative that a domestic violence victim is only a straight woman negatively impacts victims who don’t fit that mold and often prevents them from getting the help they desperately need.

Learn More from an Experienced Orlando Domestic Violence Attorney

At Fighter Law, we are known for our aggressive and passionate approach to fighting for our client’s legal rights. Domestic violence is one of our areas of expertise, meaning our board-certified attorneys have the skills, resources, and experience to help you through your domestic violence case. We understand that this situation is difficult, not just legally but emotionally and mentally for our clients, which is why we are proud to offer unmatched legal counsel and services. You can schedule a consultation with us today to discuss your case at (407) 344-4837 or by filling out our contact form.


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