Myths and Facts

Myth: Relationship violence only occurs in married couples, not on a college campus.
Fact: Violence occurs in both dating and marital relationships. Women aged 19-29 reported more violence by intimates than by any other age group.

Myth: Relationship violence is the result of a momentary loss of temper.
Fact: Battering is the establishment of control and fear in a relationship through violence and other forms of abuse. The batterer uses acts of violence and a series of behaviors, including intimidation, threats, psychological abuse, isolation, etc., to coerce and to control the other person. The violence may not happen often, but it remains as a hidden (and constant) terrorizing factor.

Myth: People from well off families do not batter or abuse each other.
Fact: Individuals of all culture, races, occupations, income levels, and ages can become abusers if they choose to use power and control to terrorize their partners. There is no one "type" of person that becomes a batterer. Approximately one-third of the men counseling for battering at Emerge (a batterer's intervention program in Duluth, MN) are professional men who are well respected in their jobs and their communities: doctors; psychologists; lawyers; ministers; and business executives.

Myth: It is easy for battered women to leave their abusers.
Fact: Ending a violent relationship is a highly complicated process that requires planning, support, and access to resources. Leaving is the single most dangerous time for a person ending an abusive relationship as their batterer will react to their attempts to regain power and control. Many survivors of relationship violence report that the violence escalated after they left the relationship. On average, the abused partner will attempt to leave seven times before she or he is successful.

Myth: One partner can provoke another partner to act in a violent way.
Fact: There is no excuse for violence in a relationship. The abusive partner will try to manipulate the situation to avoid blame, but there is no situation that justifies the use of force, coercion, or terror.

Myth: Love cannot exist in an abusive relationship.
Fact: One of the most complicated aspects of relationship violence is the fact that the two individuals are involved in a relationship together. The persons in the relationship may have had weeks, months, or years of positive memories that they shared together before any form of abuse began. Relationship violence must be understood in the context that violent incidents are usually not a constant throughout the relationship, giving the partner hope that things may return to the way they once were. Many abused individuals are deeply in love with their batterer, even after they have labeled the relationship abusive.