Myths & Facts
Debunking myths and facts about domestic violence and answering all your questions about domestic violence.
Debunking Myths About Domestic Violence
Myth: Marriages which are not based on love frequently result in quarrels and end with wife-beating.
Reality: A love marriage does not guarantee freedom from abuse. Wife beating occurs in love marriages as well as in arranged marriages.
Myth: Alcohol and drug use cause abuse.
Reality: Being intoxicated is simply an excuse for abusive behaviour, not the cause. Many abusive relationships involve alcohol and chemical (drug) dependency issues. Abuse and chemical dependency, however, are two separate issues. Research indicates that even when an abuser quits drinking or using drugs, the abuse may continue. He simply finds something or someone else to blame for his behaviour.
Myth: Only poor and uneducated men abuse their wives.
Reality: Men from all kinds of social background beat and abuse their wives. Domestic violence may appear to be a problem primarily of the poor, because middle and upper class women often have the resources to hide the violence. Abused women with fewer resources are more visible since they must turn to public institutions, such as the police and hospitals, for help.
Myth: Only men who fail in other aspects of their lives beat their wives.
Reality: Men who have successful careers also beat their wives. Wives of successful men are more reluctant to expose their husbands who are high profile, as this may threaten his social standing, his business or employment, and often her only source of income.
Myth: Abused women have done something to cause the abuse.
Reality: No one, including the woman, is responsible for the abusive partner’s behaviour. Though he may be unwilling to accept it, the abuser alone has that responsibility. “It’s her fault” is a statement frequently used as an excuse for the abuser’s behavior when in most cases, women try hard to please their abusive partners. The abuser chooses to abuse his partner, regardless of the woman’s behaviour.
Myth: Women can always leave.
Reality: Women often stay in destructive relationships because they are afraid or they feel guilty about leaving. Sometimes, they stay for the sake of their children or they are financially dependent on their husbands.
Myth: Abusive relationships will never change for the better.
Reality: The key to changing an abusive relationship is the abuser’s willingness to accept responsibility for his actions. If the abuser admits to the inappropriateness of his actions, wants to change, and seeks counselling, then he has a chance to change. If the abuser will not accept this responsibility and refuses to change, the women’s greatest chance for living non-violently is to leave that relationship. When the woman is willing to set appropriate boundaries for herself, believes in her values and worth as a human being, and develops and utilizes the resources and support systems available to her, she will have taken a giant leap towards finding peace in her life.
Domestic Violence Questions & Answers
Will my spouse go to jail if I lodge police report?
Under the Domestic Violence Act, domestic violence is now a crime. The purpose of your police report is to file an official complaint about your spouse’s violence and not to immediately put him in jail. When you lodge a police report, the police Investigation Officer will call your spouse for an investigation. Upon completing the investigation, the Deputy Public Prosecutor will decide whether to charge your spouse based on his violence and the evidence collected. Only if your spouse is found guilty by the court will he be imprisoned.
What if the police refuse to take my report?
No police officer can refuse any person from making a report at any police station. If it happens to you, you can complain to the Head of the police station (Ketua Balai Polis) in the police station itself.
Can I call the police if I am confined by my spouse?
Yes, you can. Call 999 and they will direct your call to the nearest police station. Tell the police your home address and they will send the police officer to your house immediately. If your spouse is there when the police arrives, have the courage to tell the police that you need help. Then, follow the police officer to the police station and you may wish to formally lodge a police report against your spouse for locking you inside your house.
If I leave my house, do I have the right to take my children away? Both the father and mother have equal guardianship and custody of the children. You have the right to take them along with you when you leave your home. This is important if you fear that your spouse might abuse your children or they are still young and your spouse might not be able to take care of them.
How do I get my belongings back after I leave the violent home?
After you have lodged a police report, tell your police Investigation Officer that you need to collect your belongings. They will assign a police officer to accompany you to your house to collect your belongings. You can also approach a welfare officer as well.
What if my spouse hurts or threatens me after I have obtained an Interim Protection Order?
You have to lodge a police report and contact your police Investigation Officer immediately. If your Interim Protection Order (IPO) is attached with the power of arrest, the Investigation Officer can take immediate action by arresting him. In the process of applying for an IPO, it is advisable to ask the magistrate for the power of arrest to be attached to the IPO. You can enquire with your welfare officer about this.
As a Muslim wife, if I was beaten up by my husband, how do I leave my house without being accused nusyuz?
You can go to the Pejabat Agama to lodge the complaint about the abuse. You have to tell the Ustad that you have already left home to seek a safer place. It is better if you have a police report about your abuse incident.
Can I lodge a police report against my spouse and inform the police not to take any action?
Yes, you can. The report can be made for safety and also kept as a record of his abuses against you.
Where can I go if violence happens at night and I have nobody to turn to?
You can go to the nearest government hospital at the Emergency & Trauma. Tell the staff nurse in charge about your emergency situation and that you need a safe place to stay overnight. The nurse will arrange a room for you. You can call the WCC or any other NGO for help the next morning.
If my boyfriend hits me, can I lodge a police report?
Yes, you can lodge police report for assault. However, the Domestic Violence Act does not cover this relationship.
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