My Turn: Incorrect assumptions about domestic violence
August 12, 2007
Your article (Womens Services offers help to men, Sierra Sun July 23, 2007) on domestic violence incorrectly assumed domestic violence is primarily a male crime, which is simply not true. Although men underreport more than women in crime data, sociological data shows women initiate domestic violence as often as men, that women use weapons more than men, and that 38 percent of injured victims are men. California State University Professor Martin Fiebert summarizes almost 200 of these studies online at http://www.csulb.edu/~mfiebert/assault.htmFor example, a recent 32-nation study by the University of New Hampshire found female students initiate partner violence as often as male students and controlling behavior exists equally in perpetrators of both sexes. http://www.unh.edu/news/cj_nr/2006/may/em_060519male.cfm?type=Both the University of Florida and of Washington recently found similar results in their domestic violence studies. http://news.ufl.edu/2006/07/13/women-attackers/ and http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/06/070625111433.htm A recent study in the Journal of Family Violence found many male callers to a national hotline experienced high rates of severe violence from female partners who used violence to control them, at http://www.springerlink.com/content/a7q0032j88817218/fulltext.pdfWhen we ignore male victims, we also ignore their children, who continue to be damaged by witnessing the violence regardless of how severe it is. We cannot break this intergenerational cycle by ignoring half of it. Thats why a global coalition of experts has formed to support a research-based, inclusive approach, and their Web site has solid data showing women initiate the violence as often as men, at http://www.nfvlrc.org/ For more, see: A University of Florida study recently found women are more likely than men to stalk, attack and abuse their partners. http://news.ufl.edu/2006/07/13/women-attackers/ A University of Washington study recently found women were nearly twice as likely as men to perpetrate domestic violence in the past year including kicking, biting or punching their partner, threatening to hit or throw something at their partner, and pushing, grabbing or shoving their partner. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/06/070625111433.htm A University of Pennsylvania emergency room report found 13 percent of men reported being assaulted by a female partner in the previous 12 months, of which 50 percent were choked, kicked, bitten, punched, or had an object thrown at them, 37 percent involved a weapon, and 14 percent required medical attention, at http://www.aemj.org/cgi/content/abstract/6/8/786 University of Pennsylvania Professor Richard Gelles states: Contrary to the claim that women only hit in self-defense, we found that women were as likely to initiate the violence as were men. In order to correct for a possible bias in reporting, we reexamined our data looking only at the self-reports of women. The women reported similar rates of female-to-male violence compared to male-to-female, and women also reported they were as likely to initiate the violence as were men, in his article reprinted at http://www.ncfmla.org/gelles.html This data is recognized by the American Psychological Association. http://www.apa.org/monitor/oct06/pc.html This Canadian government report also recognizes the above data. http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/ncfv-cnivf/familyviolence/pdfs/Intimate_Partner.pdf Archer, J., Sex differences in aggression between heterosexual partners: A meta-analytic review, Aggression and Violent Behavior (7) 2002, 313-351, http://www.maennerbuero-trier.de/Archer_2002.pdf Dutton, D., & Corvo, K., Transforming a flawed policy: A call to revive psychology and science in domestic violence research and practice, (11) 2006, 457-483, http://www.nfvlrc.org/docs/DuttonCorvo.policypaper.pdfProfessor Murray A. Straus, Family Research Laboratory, University of Pennsylvania, http://pubpages.unh.edu/~mas2/Marc E. Angelucci is president of the Los Angeles chapter of National Coalition of Free Men, http://www.ncfmla.org.