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Domestic violence: complex and replete with misconceptions

Domestic violence is far more than just the straightforward physical abuse that legions of people see it as, and that misinformed view needs to be eradicated before the problem can be addressed in a meaningful way.

So notes violence expert Susan R. Paisner, who states that many myths need to be dispelled about a topic that is "shrouded in misinformation."

Here's one false belief that Paisner stresses is flatly belied by the realities seen in domestic abuse shelters: Only women and children can be victims.

The national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention firmly rebuts that view. It reports that about 14% of American males "have been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner."

And as to that widely held view that behavior can't be regarded as abusive unless it yields physical pain, Paisner responds that it is routinely undercut by victims suffering from many other types of conduct. Those broadly include "verbal and sexual abuse, isolation, coercion, stalking, economic control, abuse of trust, threats and intimidation."

Family law attorneys in Arizona and nationally who help domestic violence victims know that their abuse-linked problems are often multiple and complex. Many individuals seeking help fear that they simply won't be believed by others. Neighbors, workplace peers, friends and relatives might think they're too wealthy or too educated to be violence victims.

Paisner and other subject commentators respond to that concern by pointing to a slew of evidence showing that family violence strikes all American demographics. Abuse occurs without regard to education, race, social status, financial clout or any other factor.

Home-based abuse is often cyclical, recurring repeatedly and placing victims at increased peril. Those individuals need to know that resources are available to help them, and that they can purposefully respond to the problem by contacting a seasoned family law professional, shelter or law enforcement agency.

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