October is Domestic Violence Prevention Month. We commonly hear the phrase, "domestic violence," and try to imagine what this means. What is domestic violence? What factors contribute to domestic violence? What role do alcohol and other drugs play? Take the following quiz to see what you know about domestic violence.
True or false:
1. Physical abuse is the only form of domestic violence.
2. Alcohol and drug use are major causes of domestic violence.
3. Men are victims of domestic violence at approximately the same rate as women.
4. A person who batters has many of the same characteristics as a person who abuses alcohol and/or drugs.
5. Women who have been battered may drink alcohol as a way of coping with the abuse against them.
6. Men and women who were abused as children are not at risk for future substance abuse problems.
7. Alcohol is not seen as a "reason" for abuse by the abuser and when confronted with battering, the abuser will accept responsibility for their actions.
8. Men who abuse are violent because they cannot control their anger.
9. It is easy for a battered spouse or partner to leave the relationship.
10. People who abuse are usually uneducated and unemployed.
Now let's see how you did.
1. False. Domestic violence presents itself in the form of any threatening behavior, violence or abuse between adults who have a relationship or between family members. The violence can be: physical, verbal, sexual, emotional or physiological.
2. False. The use of alcohol is not a cause of domestic violence. There is however a high correlation between domestic violence occurring and the presence of alcohol. Alcohol is very often present in domestic violence and other criminal situations, but is not the root cause.
3. False. While men can also be victims, research shows that women are victims in 95 percent of domestic violence cases.
4. True. A person who batters is likely to have low self-esteem, poor coping skills and a need for power. These traits are also present in some people who abuse alcohol and other drugs.
5. True. In a study by Barnett and Fagan, they found that women who suffered violence from partners were twice as likely to drink after the abuse as their violent partner.
6. False. There is increasing evidence that abused children have a higher risk of developing either alcohol or other drug problems as adults.
7. False. Abusers often use alcohol as an excuse for their violent behavior. Alcohol is often used as an excuse for many types of violence. It does not cause the violence.
8. False. Those people who engage in domestic violence are not out of control. It is an intentional act.
9. False. As easy as it is to say, "Just leave," it is not as simple as that. A woman may not have a place to go or the financial resources to support herself and her family. There are also feelings of embarrassment, humiliation and fear that others will blame her for the abuse. Abusers may also make threats toward her if she leaves or reveals the abuse. Even though it is an unsafe situation, leaving may be perceived as riskier.
10. False. There are no particular criteria for abusers. They can be from all walks of life, backgrounds and socio-economic class. Money sometimes makes it easier to hide the problem.
Domestic violence occurs daily. It is our obligation to help put an end to these behaviors that affect women, men and children. If you know of someone who is a victim or needs help with alcohol or drugs, please call the Chautauqua Alcoholism & Substance Abuse Council at 664-3608 or the Domestic Violence hotline at 661-3897 or 1-800-252-8748.
Since 1974, CASAC, a United Way supported agency, has provided prevention education and community awareness regarding alcohol and other drugs. CASAC is the only New York State Office of Alcoholism & Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) approved and supported alcohol and other drug prevention agency in Chautauqua County. For further information about CASAC programs and services, call the Jamestown office at 664-3608, or the Dunkirk office at 366-4623, or go to CASAC's website, www.casacweb.org.