Causes

What Causes Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence is caused by a need to have power and control over an intimate partner. Physical violence is only one aspect of an effective strategy for creating and maintaining power and control.
Domestic Violence is embedded in our social customs and institutions. Domestic violence is caused only by batterers NOT victims. Many men believe they are entitled to use physical or sexual violence. Domestic Violence is a learned behavior, learned through

  •  observation
  •  experience and reinforcement
  •  culture
  •  family
  •  communities (schools, peer groups, etc..)

Domestic Violence is NOT caused by:
Mental illness.- Mental disorders such as personality disorders, mental illness, or communication deficits may compound the problem of domestic violence, but treatment for these problems does not eliminate the abusive behavior. There is no DSM-V classification for battering or domestic violence. Some batterers may have a mental health problem, but this is co-occurring with their choice to batter, not a cause of domestic violence.
ACADV: Empowering Victims through Emphathy, Advocacy and Partnership, 2012

Drugs and Alcohol-
Abusers may blame their abuse on drinking or drugs, and many abused individuals believe this to be the case. However, abuse is just as likely to occur at other times when the abuser has not been drinking or using drugs. Drugs and alcohol may precipitate violent episodes, but treatment for drugs and alcohol abuse is not an effective treatment for abusers.

Anger and Stress-
Anger management involves a person’s ability or lack thereof to appropriately respond to external stressors/triggers (frustrations). Most batterers are able to handle external frustrations in a variety of settings without becoming abusive. Being able to control anger in some settings, but not with the victim, is an indication of targeted choice based violence, not anger management issues.
ACADV: Empowering Victims through Emphathy, Advocacy and Partnership, 2012

Behavior of the Victim-
Many abusers are quick to blame the victim for the abuse (I.E. “I would not have done that if supper had been ready and the house was clean when I got home”) , and many abused individuals go to great length to change their behaviors to pacify the abuser (“If I can be a better spouse I will not get hit”). Batterers will often defend the violence by minimizing and justifying, trying to rationalize their behaviors.

Learned Experience-
Over 3.3 million children annually in the U.S are exposed to domestic violence. By no means are the majority of these children going to become batterers. However, children who have been exposed to domestic violence are at an increased risk for repeating violence in their relationships.
ACADV: Empowering Victims through Emphathy, Advocacy and Partnership, 2012

The reality is Domestic Violence is a CHOICE. Batterers choose to abuse.