About Myths vs. Facts

Understandings of violence against women vary among cultures, regions and people and, unfortunately, many inaccuracies about the subject are taken as truths. Religious leaders can help set the record straight by rejecting myths and sharing the real facts about violence against women. These are just a few of those myths, and religious communities should always look out for other falsities about this global crisis, and then help set the record straight.

MYTH: Violence against women is religiously sanctioned.
FACT: No faith condones violence against women or the degradation of women’s dignity.  Some perpetrators may try to use religion as an excuse to abuse women and girls or carry out harmful traditional practices, but this is misguided and wrong. Religion upholds the dignity of all life, and any abuse of women’s rights is against religious teaching.
MYTH: There is nothing we can do to stop violence against women. The violence is inevitable because perpetrators are ‘born that way’ or are mentally ill.
FACT: Violence against women is not the product of biology but rather is learned attitudes and norms, and social inequalities. Just as violence-supportive attitudes can be learned, they can be unlearned.
MYTH: Violence against women is not that widespread.
FACT: Unfortunately, violence against women is alarmingly prevalent. One in three women worldwide will suffer from some form of violence. Violence against women occurs across all aspects of our societies regardless of race, class, religious beliefs, level of education, occupation, community position or cultural/ethnic background.
MYTH: Victims who do not defend themselves have not been violated.
FACT: An act of violence committed against a woman, regardless of whether or not she tried to defend herself, is a great offense. There are many reasons why a victim might not physically or verbally fight their attacker including shock, fear, threats or the size and strength of the attacker.
MYTH: Violence against women is provoked by the victim.
FACT: Violence is NEVER the victim’s fault. This mistaken belief holds that women “ask” to be violated through their actions or behavior. For a victim, it is a humiliating and degrading act.