Facts, Frequently Asked Questions and Myths Regarding Domestic Violence:

Facts about abuse:

  • Abuse is always about power and control and is never the victim’s fault
  • Abuse is a learned behavior and it can be unlearned if the abuser wants to change and is willing to put forth the effort. However, this change is difficult and seldom happens.
  • According to a 2006 study done by The Canadian Centre for Justice Alberta leads the country in domestic assault, homicide- suicide and stalking with only 28% of victims of spousal assault turning to the police for help.
  • Rates of family violence are the highest among 15 to 24 year olds according to a 2005 Stats Canada Family Violence Report.
  • Alcohol and drug usage are not an excuse for abuse. Stopping the use of drugs or alcohol does not mean that the abuse will stop. The real cause for the abuse is the abuser’s need for power and control.
  • The Ministry of Children’s Services – Prevention of Violence and Bullying reports that nearly a quarter of women who have experienced wife assault never tell anyone about it.
  • It is reported that by the age of 16 – 51% of Canadian women report having experienced at least one incident of sexual violence in their lives. – The Ministry of Children’s Services – Prevention of Violence and Bullying
  • Violent men are 3 times as likely as non-violent men to have witnessed spousal violence in childhood, and women who were raised in similar circumstances are twice as likely to be victim’s of spousal violence. –Ministry of Children’s Services – Prevention of Violence and Bullying
  • In 2002, approximately one quarter of all violent crime victims were also family violence victims and 62% of individuals were abused by spouses. – Statistics Canada
  • Accounting for nearly two-thirds of offences, common assault was the most frequent type of spousal violence according to police-reported data, followed by major assault, uttering threats and criminal harassment or stalking in a 2009 Stats Canada report.
  • Women continue to be more likely than men to be victims of spousal homicide. In 2007, almost 4 times as many. – Stats Canada 2009

Myths about abuse and frequently asked questions:

  • Myth: My partner is not abusive to me because they have never kicked me, punched me, bit me or tried to strangle me.
    Truth: Abuse is not just physical. Abuse is also the verbal, emotional financial or spiritual control of one person over another. Abuse is always about power and control… it is not about supper being late, the house not being clean enough, not earning enough, being jealous, having had too much to drink or being too high.
  • Myth: My partner has only hit me once and has promised it will never happen again.
    Truth: Cantara Safe House Staff’s experience working with victim’s of domestic violence has shown us that if your partner has hit you once that they will do it again and that the abuse will often grow in severity and frequency.
  • Myth: My spouse has never touched my kids and they have never seen my partner be abusive to me… they will be ok right?
    Truth: Statistics tell us that even though we think that abuse has not touched our kids abuse has a devastating effect on them. Even those who have never seen a violent episode seem to sense their parent’s distress. Children who do witness abuse are seriously affected and have a high probability of repeating the abuse in their own adult relationships.
  • Myth: Abuse only happens to certain groups of people?
    Truth: Abuse can happen to any person, of any race, sex or financial background at any time.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Why do people stay in abusive relationships?

A: No one wants to be abused by someone they love. Someone may stay in an abusive relationship because they don’t want to break up the family; they hope things will get better; fears for the safety of themselves; their family or their pets, they are dependant on their partner for financial resources; they have low self esteem because of the abuse and because they are afraid.

Q: Don’t people who are abused ask for it in some way?

A: No one ever decides to be abused. Abusers most often blame their victims or their situations so that they don’t have to take responsibility for their actions.

Q: Does a husband or intimate partner ever have the right to beat his spouse?

A: No never! In Canada abuse is always wrong and is punishable by law.