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Everything you need to know about domestic violence but were too afraid to ask

Domestic violence is a matter we should all care about. Why? It happens to everyone. And we should be aware that the person right beside you can be a victim of it. We wonder how to help, how to stop it, but as a person that hasn’t suffered it, there are some things we simply don’t know. And yes, we’re afraid to ask, because we don’t want to hurt that person or make them feel bad. So, we gathered some facts that will make you more aware of different aspects regarding this problem.

1) Do people who suffer domestic violence leave?

It would be great if every single person who suffered domestic violence did leave. The truth is that some people leave for good, and aren’t afraid of the abuser and others don’t. Domestic violence relationships still offer their victims something, such as financial security or a relationship with a person they love. In this TED Talk, Leslie explains the reasons why victims don’t leave. But remember, this isn’t the answer, there are some programs whose main concern is to help the victim get out of this situation.

2) Do the victims face blame?

Some victims believe it’s okay. Or they may not even realize the situation is abusive. Or that they deserve it. Or that it’s the only way to feel love. Or they may not have the resources or money to leave. So, they deal with it and feel embarrassed. There are a lot of “ors”. The truth is it happens, but it shouldn’t. Survivors shouldn’t feel embarrassed, but fierce. You have emotions. But you are strong. You can leave.

3) Is it all about the power of the abuser?

Domestic violence occurs when one or both partners exert their will over the other. It isn’t about love and concern for a partner. It’s not only about the power the abuser has over the victim, but also the control. The abuser wants to feel that they can control the person they are dominating. And it may or may not turn into physical abuse. Yet, it’s violence.

4) Is responding with violence the answer?

Only in cases of self-defense. Responding with violence is not the answer. It only starts a circle of violence. There are ways of ending domestic violence without harming the other person OR without anyone being harmed.

5) Does domestic violence exist at work?

Yes, and it’s a reality. Click here and read more about domestic violence at work.

6) Should I ask my friend about what they went through?

It's not always easy knowing what to do when someone you love is in an abusive relationship.

You can follow these steps:

1) Listen to and believe your friend. Allow them to control their own lives. If your loved one does not want to leave or call the police, do not force them to.

2) Do not get involved in their fights. Call the police instead.

3) Offer your loved one a safe place to stay.

4) Ask your loved one about their reasons for staying and offer to help.

7) Are drugs and alcohol the cause of domestic violence?

A lot of people who use drugs and alcohol don't act violently. We blame violence on the substance itself, and not on the abuser. And abusers themselves use drugs or alcohol as excuses for their violence, blaming beer instead of their own behavior.

8) Does domestic violence only happen to women who are poor or dependent or uneducated?

Domestic violence does not discriminate. Domestic violence affects every race, every socioeconomic class, every education level, every geographic region. But, economics do matter. A person who is more financially dependent on their partner tends to experience more abuse. And abusers sabotage their partner’s money in order to keep them dependent. So, solving the problem of domestic violence requires efforts to make sure women are financially independent and that women who are not, still have the ability to leave abusive relationships.

9) Is domestic violence a “man-thing”?

For every man hospitalized by domestic violence, there are 46 women who go to the hospital. The numbers are higher among women, but men experience it too. Men do experience abuse from female and from male partners. And women do commit acts of violence against male and female partners.

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