Friday, April 27, 2007

Myths and facts about domestic violence

NZ - Care of Children Bill Section 52 - Procedure for dealing with proceedings cases involving violence.
(1)“Nothing requires the Court to make any inquiries on its own initiative in order to make a determination on the allegation.
(2) If the Court us satisfied that a party to proceedings (the violent party) has used violence against the child then the Court must not make
(a) an order giving the violent party the role of providing day –to-day care for the child to whom the proceedings relate ;or
(b) any order allowing the violent party contact ( other than supervised contact ) with that child .

I was never violent to my two alienated daughters however six years later I stare out the window asking myself – how could this happen? RIP mum as my nightmare was too much pain for her to endure so she left this evil and twisted planet.

This is an interesting article from Mothers4Justice friends I have in England.

Myths and facts about domestic violence
There are many common myths that surround domestic violence. Here we try to separate fact from fiction.
Myth: "It's just a domestic tiff. All couples have them."

Fact: Violence by a man against the woman he lives with commonly includes rape, punching or hitting her, pulling her hair out, threatening her with a gun or a knife or even attempting to kill her. Often women who have been abused will say that the violence is not the worst of their experiences - it's the emotional abuse that goes with it.
Emotional abuse can include controlling the woman, possibly depriving her of money, clothes, food or sleep. He may try to isolate her from her friends, family and support networks, not letting her use the telephone or may even lock her in her home. Constant criticism is common - constantly telling her she is ugly, stupid or useless.
Between one or two women are killed by their violent partners or an ex-partner in England and Wales every week.
There is no place for physical, sexual or emotional abuse in a healthy relationship.
"The physical harm, although awful, was often over in minutes - but the mental and emotional abuse never went away - it was there 24 hours a day."

Myth: "It can't be that bad or she'd leave."

Fact: Women stay in violent relationships for reasons ranging from love to terror. There are also practical reasons why women stay; they may be afraid of the repercussions if they attempt to leave, they may be afraid of becoming homeless, they may worry about losing their children. They may fear poverty and isolation.
Some women have experienced domestic violence just don't have the confidence to leave. They may be frightened of being alone, particularly if their partner has isolated them from friends and family. It can be very tempting to return to him. She might decide to go back because the children are really missing their dad, or because she is frightened and insecure and is not getting enough support. Some women believe that their partners will change and that everything will be fine when they go home.
"The kids were really missing their dad, they didn't understand why we had to leave, we had no money, we were living in a lousy bed and breakfast, so we went home to try again."

Myth: "Domestic Violence only happens in working class families."

Fact: Anyone can be abused. Domestic violence is not confined to working class or so-called problem families. It happens to urban and rural communities, in high rise estates and middle class suburbs, in white and in ethnic minority families. Any woman can be abused, regardless of her age. She might be any of the women you have come into contact with: your sister, your daughter, your mother, your friend, your colleague or your neighbour.
Domestic violence crosses all boundaries, whether social, economic, professional, religious or cultural.

Myth: "They must come from violent backgrounds."

Fact: Many men who are violent towards their families or their partner come from families with no history of violence. Many families in which violence occurs do not produce violent men. The family is not the only formative influence on behaviour. Blaming violence on men's experience can offer men who abuse an excuse for their own behaviour, but it denies the experiences of the majority of individual survivors of abuse who do not go on to abuse others.
A violent man is responsible for his own actions and has a choice in how he behaves.
"It's not really his fault - his father used to beat him."

Myth: "She must ask for it/deserves it/provokes it."

Fact: No one 'deserves' being beaten or emotionally tortured, least of all by someone who says they love you. Prolonged exposure to violence can have the effect of making the woman believe that she deserves to be hurt. It distorts confidence and some women may start to rationalise their partner's behaviour. Often, the only provocation has been that she has simply asked for money for food, not had a meal ready on time or been on the telephone too long.
Women often blame themselves because they have been consistently told that the violence is all their fault.
There is no justification for violence.
"I went off sex, after the kids, I was often too tired - but he didn't understand, I can't really blame him for raping me."
"He said I was a lousy housekeeper, not at all like his mother."

Myth: "My partner is only violent to me - he never harms my children."

Fact: 1 in 3 abused children show a history of violence to their mother. Over a third of Childline callers said their mother's partner had also abused them or their brothers and sisters. Witnessing or hearing violence has been shown to have a range of long term effects on children including guilt, shame, underachievement at school, terror, aggressive behaviour, low self-esteem, bedwetting, eating disorders, depression and insecurity. A third of children present try and intervene to protect mothers thus putting themselves at risk of physical harm.

Myth: "My children do not know about the violence."

Fact: Even very young children remember their fear of witnessing violence in later years. Babies may show poor health, be irritable, cry a lot and have sleep problems, which get better once removed from the violent situation. Many children recall overhearing abuse and have said that not knowing if their mother was alive was more distressing than directly witnessing the violence. They sometimes felt guilty for not intervening to stop the violence.

Myth: "If social services find out about the violence in my home, they will take my children away."

Fact: Whilst it is true that social services will want to make sure your children are safe, only a very small number of children are made the subject of care orders and removed. Social workers will not take your children away if they can work with you to make sure they are safe.

Myth: "It is wrong take children away from their father."

Fact: Fathers play an important role in children's lives, but children also need to be safe. Research studies found that in 40% to 60% of cases where women were abused, the same man also abused the children. 76% of children ordered by the courts to have contact with violent parents continue to be abused.

Myth: "If I leave, my children and I will be homeless."

Fact: There are hundreds of refuge services throughout Britain that can provide temporary accommodation for you and your children. They can also assist you in finding alternative permanent or emergency housing or help you to remain in or reclaim your own home.

Thanks for the use of their material to Women's Aid Federation of England, who work to end violence against women and children.

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