Debunking the myths with truth

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Common misconceptions can represent a stumbling block when it comes to victims seeking the assistance they need. Here is a look at some of those myths.

Myth: Women are the only victims of domestic violence.

Truth: Although women make up the majority of victims, there are men who are also the victims of domestic violence and abuse. According to Cathy Moore, the chair of the Borough President’s Taskforce on Domestic Violence, 17 percent of the cases in Queens involve male victims.

Myth: It is a personal problem.

Truth: “It’s everybody’s business,” said Jean Perry, the Victim Service Coordinator at Queens Hospital Center. Perry said that people are encouraged to say something if they see something, and that she tells people to take information on domestic violence back to their communities and share it with others.

Myth: Domestic abuse is just physical.

Truth: Along with physical abuse, there are many other forms of domestic abuse. “We see physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, economic abuse,” among other forms, said Safe Horizons social workers Nadine Bosson.

Myth: There has to be physical harm for victims to get help.

Truth: As long as a person identifies themselves as a victim of domestic violence, they are able to qualify for services.

Myth: A victim must be a citizen to get services.

Truth: Commissioner Yolanda Jimenez, of the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence, said that a person’s immigration status, as well as language, is not a barrier to getting services.

Myth: The victim will be arrested.

Truth: Although there are times both parties are arrested when the police are called, this is typically when there has been no previous altercation and the police need to determine what is doing on. The victim is not always arrested.

Myth: Victims will be deported.

Truth: Not all domestic violence cases lead to immigration being called. Nancy Shea, the program director of the Queens Family Court programs at Safe Horizon, said that part of their outreach involves getting the word out that family court is not going to report anyone to immigration.

Myth: Victims have to go through their situation alone.

Truth: There are many services in Queens that can provide assistance and help victims in many different ways.

Myth: You must be married to your partner to be considered a victim of domestic violence.

Truth: According to the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence, “Individuals do not have to be in a married relationship to be a victim of domestic violence. The NYPD definition of domestic violence in New York City includes same sex couples, intimate partners who have lived together at some point, and registered domestic partners.”