Domestic Violence Facts
It is NEVER a survivor’s fault.
Domestic violence is always a deliberate choice abusers make to control their partner. It is never cause by a survivor’s behavior or actions.
It affects people of all genders.
Domestic violence affects people of all ages, sexes, cultures, religions, professions, and income levels. More than 1 in 4 women and more than 1 in 9 men have experienced sexual violence, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner that causing serious mental or physical harm.1
It exists in all types of communities.
Domestic violence occurs among all types of families, regardless of income, religion, ethnicity, educational level, or race. However, racism, poverty, immigration status, and other inequities can make the risks even more severe for BIPOC survivors.
Domestic violence incidents are not isolated occurrences.
Domestic violence is a pattern of coercive behavior aimed at gaining and maintaining power and control over an intimate partner. The pattern is often described as a cycle. However, because the seriousness of abuse often escalates with each episode, many survivors describe the pattern as a spiral.
It can be hard for survivors to leave.
Leaving can end the violence. When it doesn’t, violence may become worse. Nearly half of women murdered by men in the U.S. had recently left or were trying to leave an abusive relationship.2 This is a powerful deterrent to leaving. Abuse may also leave survivors financially dependent upon their abuser and isolated from friends and family who could offer help and support. Learn more about why people stay.
It isn’t just physical.
Abusers may use physical violence against their partners, but many don’t. Instead, they may control their partners through emotional, financial, or sexual abuse. Learn more about domestic violence and different forms of abuse.
Drug and alcohol use doesn’t cause domestic violence.
While drugs and alcohol are often present in domestic violence situations, they do not cause violence. However, the presence of drugs and/or alcohol can make a domestic violence situation much worse.
Mental illness doesn’t cause domestic violence.
Many people suffer from mental health challenges, but few of them abuse their partners. Even if someone has a mental illness, it is neither the cause nor an excuse for domestic violence.