ALCOHOL & DRUGS CAUSE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
Was there a logical basis to Women’s Christian Temperance Movements around the world advocating for prohibition because they believed excessive drinking caused husbands to viciously assault their wives.
Some men did/do come home drunk and they then assaulted their wives.
Because alcohol does reduce inhibitions so an abusive person under the influence is more likely to assault his/her partner more severely than if s/he was sober.
But we have since learned that people under the influence of drugs or alcohol do not usually engage in behaviours they would never consider when they're sober. Non-abusive people, even if they are drunk or drugged, do not assault their partners.
People who assault their partners while under the influence generally engage in a pattern of coercive and controlling behaviours even while sober because they believe they have a right to control their partners.
Substance abuse might make the extent of abuse worse; it does not cause domestic violence.
ANGER MANAGEMENT ISSUES CAUSE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
Think about it for a moment: people with anger management issues can't control their anger towards anyone. They generally also mistreat their employers, employees, waitresses and shop sales people.
In the context of Relationship Abuse, the abuser tends to only abuse their partners and/or their children. Their abuse is not generalised but based on their sense of entitlement and belief they have the right to control their people in their lives.
How about an example?
You're having a bad day at work with your boss disrespecting you. Do you abuse, assault or verbally attack your boss? Of course not.
Still angry with the disrespect shown to you, you're stopped for running a red light on your way home. Well, you didn't actually run the red light as it was, to be fair, still amber when your car entered the intersection. You don't believe you deserve the ticket but do you abuse, assault or verbally attack the police officer? Of course not.
When you get home, tired, frustrated and still angry, dinner is not ready, the house is in disarray and the kids are wild, loud and unruly. Do you abuse, assault or verbally attack your partner or kids? If you're an abusive person, you might.
But perhaps this is an unfair example - after all, you don't have the same emotional relationship with your boss or the police officer as you have with your partner. or your kids.
So, let's change the example just a tad. You've still had the same experiences with your boss and police officer but instead of going home to the family pressures described above, you meet your partner at a function where your partner does something that displeases you. Do you abuse, assault or verbally attack your partner there and then? Of course not. But, if you're an abusive person, you might very well do so once you get home.
In each case described above, the abuser was fully capable of controlling their anger until they were in the privacy of their own home.
Anger management is used as an excuse: it is not the cause of domestic violence.
MENTAL ILLNESS CAUSES DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
Like Myth 1, mental illness does not cause people to abuse their partners, but it might make the assaults more severe.
Like Myth 2, mental illness, were it the cause of a person's abusive behaviours, it would not be selective and controlled until they were in the privacy of their own home.
Most people with a wide range of mental health issues never abuse their partners.
Mental illness is used as an excuse: it is not the cause of domestic violence.
To learn about more myths regarding domestic violence, please visit here.
Kathy Kaplan OAM