What is Abuse?

Domestic Violence – Myths and Reality

Myth: Spouse assault doesn’t happen that frequently and in most cases, the incidents are blown out of proportion.

In a study conducted by the Ministry of the Solicitor General, one in five Canadian men living with a woman admitted to using violence against her. Accurate statistics are difficult to attain since domestic abuse remains a largely under-reported crime: the police are called in just 25 percent of incidents.

Myth: Domestic abuse mainly affects the young and poor.

Abuse occurs in all racial, ethnic, social, economic and age groups.

Myth: Women often do things to provoke their partners.

Domestic violence is rooted in the perpetrator’s desire for power and control. Victims report a wide range of "reasons" for the outbursts, many as minor as "buttering the toast the wrong way." Abusive partners may avoid taking responsibility for their actions by blaming the victim: "She made me do it."

Myth: Alcohol and drugs are leading causes of domestic assault.

Alcohol or illegal drugs are often factors in domestic violence incidents and their use can make it easier for a person to be abusive. Perpetrators may blame their violent behaviour on alcohol, thus avoiding responsibility for their actions. The true cause of domestic assault is the desire to have control over another person.

Myth: Perpetrators of domestic assault are mentally ill.

Batterers are generally not violent outside the home or with other people they interact with such as their friends, colleagues and bosses. Mentally ill people would not be able to practice such selective violence.

Myth: Men are just as likely to be the victims of domestic assault as women.

According to the report Family Violence in Canada: A Statistical Profile, 2006 Males were much more likely than females to be the perpetrators of spousal violence incidents. Gender differences are also evident with male perpetrators being more likely to repeatedly abuse their spouse than female perpetrators. The proportion of spousal violence incidents committed by males increases with repeated abuse (one-time 86%, repeat 94%, chronic 97%).