Today is International Womens’ Day, an important chance to highlight domestic abuse and speak out . In the UK 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence during their life time and 1.2 million women in the UK experienced domestic abuse last year. Citizens advice recently released figure which show that domestic violence figures in the UK are disturbingly high.
In 2012 Citizens Advice received reports of attacks from 13, 500 people, 80% of them women.
It’s important to consider some of the myths around this silent epidemic and realise the realities:
domestic violence only happens to poor people
Domestic Violence can happen to anyone regardless of economic status. Domestic violence can happen to families regardless of economic status, ethnicity, educational level or profession. Perpetrators are just as likely to be doctors or lawyers as they are to be unemployed.
Alcohol or substance misuse causes domestic violence.
This is one excuse a perpetrator may use. Stopping a perpetrators using will not stop the violence.
This is a way perpetrators may seek to shift responsibility for their behaviour elsewhere.
If the victim didn’t like it they would leave
No one likes abuse. The reasons for staying in a violent relationship are often complex and the victim will be very afraid. The risk of homicide increases greatly at the point of separation or when the woman leaves. Often the victim will not know where to turn to for support and safety planning.
Domestic violence is a one off incident
Usually domestic violence is part of a pattern of power and control. Abuse will usually increase in velocity and extent over time.
You can easily spot and abuser they’re nasty men
Often the perpetrator is outwardly charming and affable to people outside of the home. They may have good social standing and be well liked. The perpetrator can be a Jekyll and Hyde character a totally different person in private.
Please watch Refuge and Avon’s award winning interactive video Support a Friend video which is part of their 1 in 4 women campaign.