The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence has compiled some eye-opening statistics about domestic violence in the United States. On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner, which equates to more than 10 million men and women each year. But even with these numbers, many Americans still don't know the whole truth about domestic violence.
What is domestic violence?
Domestic violence can take many forms. One definition is any behavior used by one person in a relationship to control the other person. Partners don't have to be married, heterosexual or even living together. Here are three common myths about domestic violence and the truth behind them:
Myth #1: It only happens to women. According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control, one in four men has been the victim of some form of domestic violence by an intimate partner in his lifetime, and one in seven men has been a victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in his lifetime.
Myth #2: Domestic violence laws only protect wives. This used to be the case, but now many states have laws that protect not only wives, but also husbands, boyfriends, girlfriends, elderly family members and roommates. The Violence Against Women Act - which was passed in 1994 - put into place federal laws to protect all women from several forms of violence, including domestic.
Myth #3: Domestic violence only means hitting someone. Just because someone doesn't hit you doesn't mean you're not the victim of domestic violence. Abuse can also include name-calling, isolating a partner from family and friends, threatening violence, stalking, rape and abusing the family pets.