Ruth Darlene Patrick, Founder of WomenSV on Myths and Facts About Domestic Violence: Debunking Common Misconceptions

Ruth Darlene Patrick, Founder of WomenSV on Myths and Facts About Domestic Violence: Debunking Common Misconceptions

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Domestic violence is a widespread and intricate problem that impacts people from all backgrounds. Nonetheless, numerous myths and misconceptions continue to be deeply rooted in our society, often leading to prolonged silence and suffering from victims. Ruth Darlene Patrick, the founder of the non-profit organization WomenSV, strives to dispel these myths and offer a more profound comprehension of the realities of domestic violence.

Myth 1: Domestic violence only affects certain types of people.

A widespread misunderstanding about domestic violence is that it only impacts specific demographics or socioeconomic groups. Ruth Darlene highlights that “domestic violence transcends all socioeconomic levels, professions, cultures, ages, religions and communities.” It is essential to understand that nobody is exempt from the potential of encountering abuse in a close relationship, regardless of their background or standing.

Myth 2: Domestic violence is caused by anger or substance abuse.

Though anger and substance abuse can sometimes play a role, they are not the fundamental causes of domestic violence. As Ruth Darlene points out, abuse can manifest in numerous ways, such as physical, sexual, emotional, verbal, and even more subtle forms of coercive control. At its core, domestic violence revolves around power and control, with abusers employing a range of tactics to dominate their partners.

Myth 3: Victims can easily leave an abusive relationship.

Exiting an abusive relationship can often be a complex and perilous endeavor. As Ruth Darlene highlights, oftentimes, there are significant assets and or relationships at stake that the abuser has control over. Moreover, abusers in wealthy communities may possess the financial resources, authority, and clout to create considerable obstacles for a woman attempting to safely escape, evade crippling debts and bankruptcy, and maintain custody of her children. Various social, emotional, and logistical challenges may also hinder a victim from removing themselves from an abusive situation. Ending a relationship with an abuser is actually one of the most dangerous times. Over 70% of domestic violence incidents take place after the relationship ends.

Myth 4: If the abuse isn’t physical, it’s not that serious.

Domestic violence manifests in various ways, and it’s crucial to acknowledge that non-physical abuse can be equally damaging and traumatic as physical violence. Ruth Darlene emphasizes the need to identify and address all abuse forms, such as emotional, verbal, and financial abuse, along with covert mistreatment and coercive control, which is one of the top lethality risks along with gun ownership and ending the relationship. This kind of abuse, in addition to being dangerous, can leave long-lasting psychological scars on victims and must not be downplayed or ignored.

Myth 5: Partners with prestigious careers and positive public reputations cannot be abusive.

Many abusers can portray a very different image in public, making it difficult for victims to be believed or seek help. Ruth Darlene explains that “victims of this type of crime often have a difficult time getting support, protection, or validation because of the general misperception that if someone is educated and has a respected career and positive public reputation, it is unlikely that they could also be abusive.” Society must recognize that domestic violence can occur in any relationship, regardless of the abuser’s public persona.

By debunking these common myths about domestic violence, Ruth Darlene and WomenSV aim to raise awareness and educate communities on the realities of abuse. With increased understanding and support, victims can find the courage to seek help, and society as a whole can work towards eradicating domestic violence. Ruth Darlene envisions a future where “the healing, progress, and social change in our community will begin: one woman, one child, one family at a time.”

About WomenSV: WomenSV is a non-profit organization that works to empower survivors, train providers and educate the community to break the cycle of covert abuse and coercive control in intimate partner relationships. This organization operates with the mission of creating a world in which every woman and child can exercise their fundamental human right to live in peace, safety, and freedom in their own home.


Andrew Mitchell
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