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5 lies about domestic violence

A close-up of someone's upper face.

Domestic violence doesn’t discriminate.

Oct. 6, 2019—Every year in the U.S., millions of people experience domestic violence, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But as common as it is, many myths still surround domestic violence—myths that might keep people from getting the help they need to break free of abusive relationships. Here's a look at five key ones:

1. Myth: Domestic violence only affects poor and uneducated people.

Fact: Domestic violence doesn't discriminate. Anyone can be a victim—or perpetrator—of domestic violence. It affects people of all backgrounds, education levels, races and ages. And it can happen to people who are married, living together or dating.

2. Myth: Only women are victims.

Fact: While it happens more often to women, men can also be abused. About 1 in 4 women and 1 in 10 men report having experienced sexual violence, physical violence or stalking by a partner.

3. Myth: Domestic violence is only physical.

Fact: Domestic violence takes many forms. It can include:

  • Physical violence, such as hitting or choking—or even driving recklessly with a partner in the car.
  • Sexual violence.
  • Verbal abuse.
  • Threats or intimidation.
  • Stalking.
  • Not letting a partner see friends and family or have access to money.

Most abusive relationships have one thing in common: Abusers are intent on controlling their partners.

4. Myth: It's easy to tell at the start of a relationship if it will become abusive.

Fact: Many abusive partners may seem perfect at first. Possessive and controlling behaviors may take time to emerge. And they can worsen over time. Any troubling behaviors at any point in a relationship are cause for concern.

5. Myth: Victims ask for it.

Fact: Whatever problems exist in a relationship, there is no excuse for domestic violence. No one deserves to experience any kind of abuse—for any reason.

To chat anytime with someone who can listen and help, visit The National Domestic Violence Hotline. Or call 800.799.7233 or 800.787.3224 (TTY) .

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