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Myths distorting domestic violence must be defeated

Oct 29, 2015 Sydney L. Moller, Riverton

Editor:

It is essential to destroy the myths about domestic violence to uncover the reality of the situation, while removing the blame and stigma from survivors of domestic violence.

We as a society are failing victims by accepting these myths as justifications for abuse, but the only way to cultivate change is to speak out against these myths:

- The myth that an abusive past causes abusive behavior

- The myth that previous partners infidelity or leaving causes abuse

- The myth that abusive people only hurt their victims because they love them the most

- The myth that employment, unemployment, and job related stress justify abuse

- The myth that the batterer is just too emotional, can't control their anger, or lack conflict resolution skills

- The myth that batterers are afraid of intimacy and therefore become violent

- The myth that abuse is caused by drugs and alcohol

- The myth that discrimination or racism cause abusive behavior.

- The myth that the "decay of the traditional family" causes abuse

Domestic violence is the product of an active decision, a choice, made by one person to control and dominate another through exertion of power and control over them. Batterers give themselves permission to use abuse to keep power and control over another person and use these myths as justifications for their actions.

Survivors and victims are not to blame for their situations. It is not simple a decision about leaving, which is the single most dangerous time for a victim. If I never hear one thing again in my life it would be "why doesn't she/he just leave?" Well, leaving is dangerous, and can be lethal. The best thing we can do for those living in these situation is listen to them, follow their lead, support their decisions knowing how complicated it is, and believe in them.

To any survivors and victims out there, what is happening to you is not your fault. You are loved. You are worth it. You deserve more. It is hard, but there are people in this community who care about you and want to help. We do not accept these excuses and we know you do not deserve to walk on eggshells or live in fear.

I am reaching out to you, and when you need help or support call (307)856-4734 for 24 hour a day advocacy and resources.

Rather than buying into this lot of lies, excuses, and myths, let's open up the dialogue about domestic violence and pull it out of the shadows where it has been hiding. On Oct. 29 from 6:30-9, the Fremont County Aliiance hosts an open-microphone at the Riverton Branch Library. Anyone who has a story, song, poetry, etc. to share are welcome. There will be food and refreshments at both events.

Sydney Moller is part of the Fremont County Alliance Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault in Riverton

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