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Myths & Facts


  • Victims are masochistic or crazy
  • Minority-group women are battered more frequently than Anglos
  • Religious beliefs will prevent battering
  • Batterers are violent in all their relationships
  • Batterers are unsuccessful and lack resources to cope with the world
  • Drinking or drug use causes battering behavior
  • Batterers have psychopathic personalities
  • The batterer is not a loving partner
  • A batterer also beats his children
  • Once a batterer, always a batterer
  • Battered women deserve to get beaten
  • Battered women can always leave home
  • Batterers will cease their violence "when we get married"
  • Children need their father even if he is violent
  • Middle-class women do not get battered as frequently or as violently as do working-class women
  • Battered women are uneducated and have few job skills
  • Men are not victims of domestic violence


What is domestic violence? Domestic violence is the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior perpetrated by an intimate partner against another. It is an epidemic affecting individuals in every community, regardless of age, economic status, race, religion, nationality or educational background. Domestic violence is often accompanied by emotionally abusive and controlling behavior and is part of a systematic pattern of dominance and control. Domestic violence results in physical injury, psychological trauma, and sometimes death. The consequences of domestic violence can cross generations and truly last a lifetime.

Fast Facts

  • One in every four women and one in every nine men will experience violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
  • An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year.
  • 85% of domestic violence victims are women.
  • Historically, females have been most often victimized by someone they knew.
  • Females who are 20-24 years of age are at the greatest risk of nonfatal intimate partner violence.
  • Most cases of domestic violence are never reported to the police.

Sexual Assault & Stalking

  • One in six women and one in thirty-three men have experienced an attempted or completed rape.
  • Nearly 7.8 million women have been raped by an intimate partner at some point in their lives.
  • Sexual assault or forced sex occurs in approximately 40-45% of battering relationships.
  • One in twelve women and 1 in 45 men have been stalked in their lifetime.
  • 81% of women stalked by a current or former intimate partner are also physically assaulted by that partner; 31% are also sexually assaulted by that partner.

Homicide & Injury

  • Almost one-third of female homicide victims who are reported in police records are killed by an intimate partner.
  • In 70-80% of intimate partner homicides, no matter which partner was killed, the man physically abused the woman before the murder.
  • Less than one-fifth of victims reporting an injury from intimate partner violence sought medical treatment following the injury.
  • Intimate partner violence results in more than 18.5 million mental health care visits each year.

Economic Impact

The cost of intimate partner violence exceeds $5.8 billion each year, $4.1 billion of which is for direct medical and mental health services.

Victims of intimate partner violence lost almost 8 million days of paid work because of the violence perpetrated against them by current or former husbands, boyfriends and dates. This loss is the equivalent of more than 32,000 full-time jobs and almost 5.6 million days of household productivity as a result of violence.

There are 16,800 homicides and $2.2 million (medically treated) injuries due to intimate partner violence annually, which costs $37 billion.

Taken from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence Web site www.ncadv.org

Power & Control Wheel

Abuse of another person is a choice.
In the case of domestic violence, the Power and Control Wheel represents a tool box of devices perpetrators may use to gain power and control over another person. Physical abuse is only one part of a system of abusive behaviors that repeat in a cycle of abuse.
Abuse is never a one time event.

This chart uses the wheel to show the relationship of physical abuse to other forms of abuse. Each part shows a way to control or gain power.

PO Box 5160, Montgomery, Alabama 36103-5160      334.206.2100