Abuse Myths: Numerous, Pervasive, and By Design

Stop Abusive and Violent Environments
Feb. 23, 2014

“Intimate partner violence is the leading cause of death for African-American women aged 15-45.” – Attorney General Eric Holder, Oct. 19, 2009

A.G. Holder’s statement turned out to be wrong. So wrong, in fact that the Washington Post’s Fact-Checker said the claim qualified for his notorious Four-Pinocchio rating: http://wapo.st/19Gxb1x

Holder’s faux pas illustrates how even high government officials can be fooled by zealous advocates who dole out incredulous factoids.
These factoids are numerous, pervasive, and made by design:

Numerous

Have you noticed all the jaw-dropping abuse claims are out there?
• The Super Bowl is the biggest sex trafficking event in the United States
• 95% of domestic violence victims are female
• One in four college women has been a victim of sexual assault

One report examined 50 different domestic violence claims – and every one of them turned out to be false. That’s a lot of misinformation! http://www.mediaradar.org/docs/RADARreport-50-DV-Myths.pdf

Pervasive

Dr. Denise Hines of Clark University recently surveyed the online fact sheets of 338 domestic violence agencies. Sadly, many of these sheets turned out to not be “factual.” www.saveservices.org/2014/01/many-dv-agencies-are-spreading-false-facts/

For example, 27% of these agencies made the claim that “domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women between the ages of 15 and 44.”

But the Centers for Disease Control says the leading causes of injury to young women are car accidents and falls. Domestic violence doesn’t even appear on the list.

By Design

Is it possible that these unending myths are simply inadvertent slip-ups made by service agencies too busy helping victims to worry about tracking down the exact numbers?

SAVE has analyzed the fact sheets of 8 leading domestic violence organizations. All of the 8 received an F-grade for lack of accuracy and honesty: http://www.saveservices.org/camp/truth/

But we wanted to give the agencies the benefit of the doubt. So we sent them a letter offering to help them update their fact sheets to get the information right.

Any guesses how many agencies, now aware of their errors, accepted SAVE’s offer of assistance or made any changes?

….Zero.

Disinformation Campaign

So we have wonder, At what point does a long-standing pattern of distortions, half-truths, and fabrications begin to resemble an outright disinformation campaign?