Understanding the Myths of Domestic Violence

Posted on by New Mexico Criminal Law Offices

domestic violenceDomestic violence is a real concern here in the United States, but one that is misunderstood and undervalued.

Between 2001 and 2012, the number of troops killed in Afghanistan was 6,488. During that same time, the number of American women who were murdered by a current or ex-partner was 11,766.

Women are more likely to be the victim of violence by a partner, with 85 percent of domestic violence victims being women. That being said, men can be victims of domestic violence too – taking up 15 percent of the domestic violence cases seen each year.

The crime itself is violent and complicated but also shrouded by misinformation. Many people do not understand it, or they profile only certain people as abusers. Anyone can abuse a spouse, and the common myths circulating about domestic violence are one of the reasons it goes unnoticed, unreported, and misunderstood.

The Common Myths Surrounding Domestic Violence – and What Albuquerque Residents Need to Know

Domestic violence is a serious crime. Law enforcement and the courts in New Mexico take these charges seriously. A person convicted of domestic violence has violated New Mexico Statute Section 30-3-12. While it is a petty misdemeanor, a conviction of domestic violence will affect a person the rest of their life.

Unfortunately, there are instances where someone can be falsely accused of domestic violence and convicted. Other times, domestic violence goes unreported because victims are too scared and loved ones assume that violence is not happening.

Now is the time to demystify the rumors and get to the truth about domestic violence.

1. Domestic Violence Is Not Just a Physical Act

Defendants are surprised to find that domestic violence is not just physical. You could be arrested and convicted for domestic violence without physical altercations. Domestic violence is emotional and sometimes financial.

Some women do not know they are victims of abuse, because their partner does not strike them. However, they are suffering in other ways.

Aside from battery, domestic abuse can include verbal and sexual acts such as:

  • Isolation
  • Stalking
  • Economic and financial control
  • Abuse of trust
  • Threats or intimidation
  • Coercion
  • Emotional withholding
  • Property destruction
  • Threats to harm children
  • Threats to harm pets
  • Harming pets

2. Only Men Can Abuse

While men are the higher statistic, not just men can abuse. Sadly, friends and family will minimize abuse claims from a man. They might even say it does not constitute abuse, because how could a woman abuse a man?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one out of seven heterosexual men in the US are victims of physical violence carried out by female partners. For gay men, that risk increases.

Women can be arrested and charged with domestic abuse here in New Mexico.

3. Domestic Abuse Only Occurs among the Poor and Uneducated

Domestic violence does not care about education or annual income. Yet, many people assume that the only ones who could be victims are those who are poor and uneducated.

In truth, abuse occurs on all levels. A person could be violent at home, but thoughtful, kind, and smart outside of their doors.

Look at some of the infamous abuser stories in the news, including actors who have been arrested and convicted for domestic violence in the past. Look at former White House staff secretary, Rob Porter. He has a documented history of domestic abuse, is well educated, and wealthy. Porter resigned his post after the allegations from his former wives were made public.

4. The Victim Must Leave the Abuser – Otherwise the Abuse is Tolerable

There is another misconception that, if the victim stays with the abuser, they must like it and enjoy being in an abusive relationship.

Domestic violence is about control, and victims often fear for their lives or their children’s lives if they were to leave their abuser. Furthermore, they fear they have nowhere to go, have no access to food or funds, and are not “free to leave” like many think.

Thinking this way diminishes the severity of domestic abuse. Victims stay in relationships, not because they like it, but because they have reasons keeping them from leaving. Some of these reasons might seem illogical. But in the mindset of a victim, they make sense.

5. Abuse Is a Moment of Weakness

Another myth involves the mindset of the abuser.

Some think that abuse is just a moment where the abuser snaps and loses control. While there are rare instances like this, most cases of domestic abuse do not involve anger management or high-stress moments in an abuser’s life.

Abusers have no self-control, and their abuse continues in a vicious cycle. They do not just have one moment of weakness and harm a loved one. Instead, there is a history of abuse. Sometimes, the history starts with verbal and emotional abuse, and it eventually escalates into physical strikes.

Regardless of how it escalates or the forms it takes, the violence itself is not random.

Can a Person Be Falsely Accused of Domestic Violence?

Yes, it does happen. While law enforcement tries to weed out these cases, there are some that can slip through the cracks and make their way to trial.

If you have been accused of domestic violence, guilty or not, you need a criminal defense attorney. Saying you are innocent is not enough. In cases of domestic violence, it is the victim’s word against yours.

For a defense strategy, speak with an attorney from New Mexico Criminal Law Offices.

Schedule your free case evaluation now at 505-375-4671, or request more information online.