"It ain’t what ya don’t know that hurts ya. What really
a hurtin’ on ya is what ya knows for sure, that just ain't so."
"Inquire into them, that's how to know what things
are really true."
"Quaeras de dubiis, legem bene discere si vis." (St. Augustine)
We are sending this report to the media, law enforcement, family law attorneys, and those persons and organizations who deal with family violence, in the hope that we can correct a serious misunderstanding about this very important issue.
We want to make it clear that we have been working to end family violence for decades. One of us is an original incorporator of our local women's shelter. We were members of the "Century Club", those who contribute over $100 annually. We have sponsored benefit events for our shelter that attracted national media attention. Since we began publishing scientific studies on family violence the women’s shelter has returned our contributions and is conducting a smear campaign against us.
Rev. Bunny tells how it all began.
Rev. Bunny Sewell at the February 2000
Mensa Regional Gathering in Orlando, Florida
My husband and I are pastoral counselors. A pastoral counselor is a peculiar hybrid critter. The "pastoral" part means we are clergy. The "counselor" part means we have the same training, and techniques as other psychotherapists.
For the most part we do marriage and family counseling. I noticed that when clients reported incidents of violence the wife was often the perpetrator. I mentioned this to my husband. Sam is a good scientist and a clear thinker. His response was, "Do you remember when you got your blue Oldsmobile how many blue Oldsmobiles seemed to be on the road?"
Sometimes I go with my instincts rather than my reason, and besides, I was real curious. So, I dug through client files of the past five years. I was astounded by what I found! Again I went to Sam and explained that in a large majority of the violent incidents the wife was the abuser and the man was the victim. Sam said, "We can't draw any valid conclusion from such a small sample." He also pointed out that couples in counseling would not be representative of the general public. Now, Sam was getting curious.
At that time we had recently sold Sam's fishing boat and spent the money to purchase our first PC. That was back when a complete 486/66 setup was around $4,000.
We were real newbies to the internet. Sam is the Gifted Child Coordinator for our local MENSA chapter in Southwest Florida. So, our first experience of the cyberworld was the MENSA forum on CompuServe. We posted our first e-mail message asking for feedback on our observations about family violence. All the harpies from Hades descended from cyberspace into our inbox. We were called unkind names and accused of having motives similar to the profile of serial killers. We were shocked at how adamantly we were attacked.
Somewhat puzzled by such an irrational response to our first electronic message, we decided to go where we were more comfortable. The Internet provides access to a behavioral science database called Psych Info. All of the scientific abstracts of the last 30 years are stored and available for download. Psych Info is expensive, but I believe information will get you through times with no money better than money will get you through times with no information.
Again we were amazed by what we found! There were dozens of solid scientific studies documenting female violence against men. How could this be? We had been working on the domestic violence issue for years. We were embarrassed that we were unaware of this research. No one at the women's shelter acknowledged any awareness of these studies. Why was this information more secret than the private lives of our politicians?
PS Sam and I also have a "Living Room Church" that you can find out about at: http://www.naplesfl.net/~bestself/churchwow.htm
How Can This Be?
The family violence issue has been distorted and politicized by the gender wars. Believing what gender activists say about family violence is like believing what the tobacco companies say about cancer. Unfortunately, almost all information available to the public comes in the form of political propaganda from "Men's Rights" groups or "Women's Rights" groups.
This misunderstanding of the family violence issue is so pervasive that city and county governments, the courts, law enforcement, prosecutor’s offices, mental health clinics, and other tax supported agencies are now funding programs based on gender politics rather than responsible scientific studies.
There are more than 100 solid scientific studies that reveal a startlingly different picture of family violence than what we usually see in the media. For instance:
Comparative spousal violence data from three national studies*
Definitions of Spousal Violence
|MINOR VIOLENT ACTS: SEVERE VIOLENT ACTS:|
|1. Threw something||1. Kicked/bit/hit with fist|
|2. Pushed/Grabbed/Shoved||2. Hit, tried to hit with something|
|3. Slapped or spanked||3. Beat up|
|4. Threatened with gun or knife|
|5. Used gun or knife|
Spousal assaults expressed as rate per 1000 couples
|Minor Assaults:||Year||Assault by husband||Assault by wife|
|Wives report they have been severely assaulted by husband||22 per 1000|
|Wives report they have severely assaulted husband||59 per 1000|
|Husbands report they have been severely assaulted by wives||32 per 1000|
|Husbands report they have severely assaulted wives||18 per 1000|
|Husbands & wives both report wife has been assaulted||20 per 1000|
|Husbands & wives both report husband has been assaulted||44 per 1000|
*Tables prepared using data from "Change In Spouse
Assault Rates From 1975 to 1992: A Comparison
of Three National Surveys In The United States", by Murray A. Straus and Glenda Kaufman Kantor.
Violence against children by women is another issue where the public attitude is very different than the facts revealed by formal studies. The Third National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect (NIS-3) from the US Department of Health and Human Services (call 1-800-FYI-3366 for a copy) reveals data about child abuse by mothers.
Children are 3 times more likely to be fatally abused in Mother-only Households than in Father-only Households, and many times more likely in households where the mother cohabits with a man other than the father.Complete scientific citations are included in this report. Leading researchers have validated the statistics we have used, "Murray Straus, a sociologist and co-director for the Family Research Laboratory at the University of New Hampshire, verified the statistics from the (Sewells') report and Richard Gelles of the University of Rhode Island and author of Intimate Violence and other studies, also validated the statistics used by matching it to previous research." Alice Lovejoy, Brown University. "Counter Punch")
Children raised in Single-mother Households are 8 times more likely to become killers than children raised with their biological father.
However, 3.1 million reports of child abuse are filed against men each year, most of which are false accusations.
Other studies reveal more about female violence against children:
Women hit their male children more frequently and more severely than they hit their female children.
Women commit 55% of child murders and 64% of their victims are male children.
Eighty two percent of the general population had their first experience of violence at the hands of women, usually their mother.
How could we all be so mistaken about family violence? Have we been conned? Have we been taken in by one of the slickest "stings" ever executed? Here is how the truth has been hidden.
Use of misleading statistics for political and financial gain:
Some women call the police because there is a real need for intervention. However, there are other reasons for a woman to report a man, whether he be violent or not.
*Several researchers have documented that one of the common adaptive tools of human females, used to compensate for smaller size and social power, is to mimic victim behavior, including false accusations against a power figure (boss, parent, counselor, teacher, husband, lover, police, etc.). Adolescent girls are the domographic group most prone to this adaptive tool. These factors, and others, distort police statistics beyond usefulness to anyone who is sincerely looking for the truth about family violence.
However, misleading statistics are a deliberate fund raising tactic for women's shelters. The shelter movement almost never mentions scientific studies. This misuse of distorted police statistics to push a "female victims" agenda is widespread and very misleading. Gender activists have high jacked the legitimate issue of family violence and turned it into "America’s Most Successful Fundraising Fraud".
The promotion of family violence myths and misleading statistics detracts from the importance and scope of the family violence problem. If we are misled about the nature of family violence we will be misled about solutions.
A falsely framed issue skews understanding and jeopardizes justice. For example, former Massachusetts Bar Association President Elaine Epstein stated, "It has become essentially impossible to effectively represent a man against whom any allegation of domestic violence has been made."
Men and children may not report when they are injured by a woman, however, the dead bodies of the men and children who are the victims of violent women are usually reported. Murder statistics are far more reliable than reported abuse statistics. The Bureau of Justice Statistics released a report of family homicides in 33 urban counties. Some gender activists claim that violent women are acting in self-defense. These quoted statistics represent convictions for murder.
The scientific data shows that both men and women are violent to a far greater extent than police statistics reveal. This scientific data shows that spousal violence is mostly unreported. In fact, some degree of violence occurs at a rate of 113 incidents per 1000 couples per year (husband on wife) and 121 incidents per 1000 couples per year (wife on husband).
Many local women's shelters emphasize female victims reported to the police, and ignore much larger numbers of women, children, and men who are also victims of family violence. We quote from a brochure from a battered women’s shelter: "What Is Domestic Violence? Domestic violence is an increasingly visible social and legal problem wherein women are abused by their partners." Notice that it doesn’t say that this is one aspect of domestic violence, or that this is the aspect that they deal with, but rather that this is domestic violence. Surely domestic violence is violence which takes place at home, the word ‘domestic’ referring to the definition "of or relating to the household or the family. Female violence against children is another taboo topic among gender activists.
From our experience with shelter personnel, this is a typical attitude. And after using ‘physical abuse’ as the topic to begin the discussion of abuse, (more accurately, "the physical abuse of women by men"), many shelter workers go on to mention all the other types of abuse men do to women, like emotional and psychological. The conversation seldom turns to look at any type of abuse by women to men even though dozens of scientific studies indicate women are at least as violent as men in "domestic" settings.
Most leaders in the women's shelter movement are fully aware of the broader scope of family violence but hold fast to the villain/victim dogma. The directors of women's shelters almost always know that they are deliberately misleading the public. Why? They must maintain their power and fund raising base. If they lose their special "victim status" they will rapidly go out of business. They do not want to be replaced with a gender neutral, family friendly, community service agency that implements policy on the basis of scientific studies rather than gender propaganda.
There is much confusion about whom to believe in the debate about spousal violence. On one side we have gender activists who rely on law enforcement statistics. On the other side we have social scientists who rely on scientifically structured studies.
Unfortunately, the results of scientific studies do not receive media attention. America’s press is seemingly more interested in political correctness than scientific accuracy. Therefore, the public perception, and the perception of many well-intentioned domestic violence activists, is radically skewed away from the more balanced perception of social scientists.
Many abuse shelter personnel below the executive level are unaware of the scientific studies, even though they claim to be "domestic violence experts" and often conduct "training" sessions for government agencies. There are towns and cities in our country where the entire legal establishment, including law enforcement, family law attorneys, and judges, are making decisions about family violence based on political propaganda rather than well established research.
Here is a comment on the subject from a judge who asked for our report. We have rescued him from any consequences resulting from his candor by disguising his identity.
Thanks for the interesting information. I am a judge in xxxxx who regularly hears requests for domestic violence orders of protection. The DV issue has been politicized big time in our area. We judges are ordered to attend "consciousness raising" seminars where we are harangued by feminist "experts". Supervising judges have been courted and won over, and now we have annual breakfasts honoring judges who cooperate with the feminist "agenda".
As a former prosecutor and divorce lawyer I know that the best deterrent to violence by human beings is arrest, prosecution and appropriate consequences. With well-prepared cases, vigorous prosecution, and no nonsense consequences the cycle of abuse can be broken, no matter who the abuser is. Humans become habitual abusers because they get away with it. It is impossible to make progress in reducing domestic violence until we recognize that women are violent.
As a member of an advisory committee for the local shelter I was shocked at the attitudes of the ladies who ran the center: The ONLY solution championed by the shelter was to get free from that big bad male. The committee expressed concern about the underlying anti-male bias which even showed up in the name of the shelter and recommended that the name be changed to The Center for Victims of Abuse - rather than Women’s Strength.
Anyway, I forwarded your piece on to a couple of other judges - some of whom will undoubtedly immediately reject it’s premise.
Judge xxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx
On the other hand, some abuse agency personnel have not accepted the "party line"; particularly religiously sponsored family services organizations. They are eager to have accurate information upon which to plan and implement rational programs for prevention, intervention, and treatment for abusers and victims of both genders.
Are the family violence "experts" in your community aware of the scientific studies? What is happening at the abuse shelter in your community?
We think it is important to note that there have been the same kind of studies done in many countries. There is cross-cultural verification that women are more violent than men in family settings. When behavior has cross-cultural verification it means that it is part of human nature rather than a result of cultural conditioning. Females are most often the perpetrators in spousal violence in all but one of the cultures that have been studied to date. That leads many professionals to conclude that there is something biological about violent females in family situations. Researchers are now exploring the role of the "territorial imperative" as a factor in women’s violence against men. Women see the home as their territory. Like many other species on the planet, we humans will ignore size difference when we experience conflict on our own territory. So, the scientific results that reveal the violence of American women are not unique to our culture, and do not indicate a special pathology among American women. World wide, women are more violent than men in family settings.
One of the leading researchers in this field is Susan Steinmetz, Ph.D. She did a cross-cultural comparison of marital abuse published in Journal of Sociology, and Social Welfare, entitled "Married Couples from 9 Different Cultures". These cross-cultural studies yielded results very similar to family violence studies done in the United States and other nations. Another survey of couples in Canada found the same familiar pattern in that the rate of severe husband-to-wife violence was 4.8%, while severe wife-to-husband violence was 10%. Brinkerhoff & Lupri, Canadian Journal of Sociology, (1989)
The study below is typical of the results of scientific studies on family violence donein many nations. This Canadian study was done by Reena Sommer, Ph.D. a research associate with the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy and Evaluation.
Female vs. male perpetrated violence as a percentage of all respondents:
|Minor Violence||% of females||% of males|
|threw an object (not at partner)||23.6||15.8|
|threaten to throw object||14.9||7.3|
|threw object at partner||16.2||4.6|
|pushed, or grabbed||19.8||17.2|
|slapped, punched, kicked||15.8||7.3|
|Violence as self defense||9.9||14.8|
|My partner needed medical help||14.3||21.4|
Abuse shelter advocates have severely distorted the picture and deliberately produce fraudulent statistics and dis-information. Even when they quote well-grounded statistics, they misuse the information. Here is an example: One of the favorite statistics quoted by abuse shelter advocates is that a woman is the victim of spousal violence every 15 seconds. This statistic is deduced from a well conducted piece of research which was published in the Journal of Marriage and Family, a respected professional journal for marriage and family therapists. The Abuse Shelter advocates arrived at this figure by using one of the conclusions of the study, i.e.; 1.8 million women suffer an assault from a husband or boyfriend per year. What abuse shelter advocates always fail to report is another finding of the same study, i.e.; 2 million men are assaulted by a wife or girl friend per year, which translates as, a man is the victim of spousal violence every 14 seconds.
This is typical of the wide spread deception practiced by abuse shelter advocates. America’s press establishment is a party to this deception, and shares the blame for exacerbating the problem by helping to perpetuate a false diagnosis.
Women usually initiate spousal violence episodes (they hit first), and women hit more frequently, as well as using weapons three times more often then men. This combination of violent acts means that efforts to find solutions to the family violence problem need to include appropriate focus on female perpetrators. We need to recognize that women are violent, and we need nationwide educational programs that portray women as perpetrators. Other studies show that men are becoming less violent at the same time that women are becoming more violent. Educating men seems to be working. Educating women to be less violent should now be the main thrust of public education programs.
Any family violence program which accepts the "male abuser - female victim" paradigm is based on a false premise. These kind of family violence programs actually perpetuate the problem of abuse and do not deserve to be supported by private citizens or government agencies. Many government agencies, and legitimate charities, have been funding a feminist political cause, rather than funding rational, solution focused, family violence prevention programs.
What kind of family violence program do you have in your community? Does your local program encourage the healing of families, or do they take the "divorce" approach? Does the family violence prevention program in your community devote as much attention to violent females, as it does to violent males? If not, why not?
We need a family-friendly agency in our community that delivers services to all family members and works to preserve families, not tear them apart. We don’t need gender activists with an anti-marriage, anti-family political ax to grind.
We need to separate gender politics from the issue of family violence.
We need to look at the full spectrum of family violence, not just female
victims. We need to consult scientific studies when we make policy decisions.
We cannot hope to implement rational, solution-focused programs and policies
until we face the fact that "behind closed doors" women are at least as
violent as men.
Below are some exceptions to the usual media silence on science based stories on family violence.
Spouse Abuse a Two-Way Street By Warren Farrell, Ph.D. USA Today June 29, 1994
Just as bad cases make bad laws, so can celebrity cases reinforce old myths. The biggest myth the O.J. Simpson case is likely to reinforce is the myth that domestic violence is a one way street (male-to-female), and its corollary, that male violence against women is an outgrowth of masculinity.
When I began seven years of research into these issues in preparation for "The Myth of Male Power", I began with these two assumptions since I had been the only man in the United States to have been elected three times to the Board of Directors of the National Organization of Women in New York City, and these assumptions went unquestioned in feminist circles.
My first finding - that in the U.S. and Canada more than 90% of the domestic violence reports to the police were by women, not men - seemed to confirm these assumptions. But, then the picture became more complex. About a dozen studies in the U.S. and Canada asked BOTH sexes how often they hit each other, all of them found that women hit men either more frequently or about as often as the reverse.
Two of the main studies - by Suzanne Steinmetz, Murray Straus and Richard Gelles - assumed men hit women more severely, so they divided domestic violence into seven different levels of severity. They were surprised to discover that, overall, the more severe levels of violence were conducted more by women against men.
A caveat, though. Men hitting women did more damage than the reverse. However, this caveat carried its own caveat: it was exactly because men’s hits hurt more that women resorted to more severe methods (i.e. tossing boiling water over her husband or swinging a frying pan into his face). These findings were supported by the Census Bureau’s own survey: As early as 1977, the U.S. Census Bureau conducted the National Crime Survey, surveying 60,000 households every six months for three and one half years. They found women use weapons against men 82% of the time; men use weapons against women 25% of the time. Overall, they found that even the women acknowledged they hit men more than men hit women.
The key issue, though, is who initiates this cycle of violence. Steinmetz, Strauss and Gelles found to their initial surprise that women are more likely to be the first initiators. Why? In part, the belief that men can take it - - they can therefore be a punching bag and not be expected to hit back.
I was still a bit incredulous. I asked thousands of men and women in my workshops to count all the relationships in which they had hit their partner before their partner had ever it them. and vice versa. About 60% of the women acknowledged they had more often been the first to strike a blow: among the men, about 90% felt their female partner had been the first to strike a blow.
I still felt violence was an out growth of masculinity. I was half right. Men are responsible for most of the violence which occurs outside the home. However, when 54% of women in lesbian relationships acknowledge violence in their current relationship, vs. only 11% of heterosexual couples reporting violence, I realized that domestic violence is not an outgrowth of male biology.
Why do we vigorously denounce domestic violence against women and not even know about domestic violence against men?
Women Abuse Men: It’s More Widespread Than People Think
Excerpt from Special supplement to The Washington Post, December 28, 1993 By Armin A. Brott. M.D.
"Despite all the evidence about female-on-male violence, many groups actively try to suppress coverage of the issue. Steinmetz received verbal threats and anonymous phone calls from radical women’s groups threatening to harm her children after she published "The Battered Husband Syndrome" in 1978. She says she finds it ironic that the same people who claim that women- initiated violence is purely self defense are so quick to threaten violence against people who do nothing more than publish a scientific study.
Steinmetz’s story is not unique. Ten years after that study, R.L. McNeely, a professor at the School of Social Welfare at the University of Wisconsin, and Gloria Robinson-Simpson published "The Truth About Domestic Violence: A Falsely Framed Issue." The article examined various studies on domestic violence and concluded that society must recognize that men are victims "or we will be addressing only part of the phenomenon."
Shortly thereafter, McNeely received letters from a Pennsylvania women’s organization threatening to use its influence in Washington to pull his research funding. Robinson-Simpson, who uncovered some of the most important data, largely was left alone. According to McNeely, "she, a young assistant professor, was assumed to have been ‘duped" by the senior male professor." (end quote)
Washington Times Jan 31, 1994, Joyce Price
Mr. Straus said that at least 30 studies of domestic violence - including some he’s conducted - have shown both sexes to be equally culpable. But he said some of the research, such as a recent Canadian national survey, "left out data on women abusing men ... because it’s politically embarrassing." Women and men "are almost identical" in terms of the frequency of attacks such as slapping, shoving, and kicking, Mr. Straus said.
Using information on married couples obtained from 2,994 women in the 1985 National Family Violence Survey, Mr. Straus said he found a rate for assaults by wives of 124 per 1,000 couples, compared with 122 per 1,000 for assaults by husbands.
The rate of minor assaults by wives was 78 per 1,000 couples, and the rate of minor assaults by husbands was 72 per 1,000, he said. For the category of severe assaults, he said, the rate was 46 per 1,000 couples for assaults by wives and 50 per 1,000 for assaults by husbands. "Neither difference is statistically different,"* Mr. Straus wrote in the journal Issues in Definition and Measurement. "As these rates are based exclusively on information provided by women respondents, the near equality in assault rates cannot be attributed to a gender bias in reporting." (end quote)
*Dr. Straus’s statistics do not reflect the latest study done by the Family Research Laboratory.
Claims of husband-beating gain prominence
by Alice Lovejoy - Brown University October 1997
October 1 marks the beginning of Domestic Abuse Awareness Month. Though most people believe this issue to be one-sided, there are forces at work attempting to modify common perceptions of domestic abuse. Armed with scientific data and polls, a select group of private individuals, as well as publicly funded researchers, purport that men are the victims of physical domestic abuse at rates equal to or even greater than women. For every Wilfredo Cordero, the Boston Red Sox player recently accused of assaulting his wife, these factions claim there is a woman somewhere slapping her husband.
Sam and Bunny Sewell
Two main proponents of this uncharted attitude towards domestic abuse are Sam and Bunny Sewell. The couple, from Naples, Florida, runs the "Best Self Clinic," a group which provides counseling to couples. In the course of their work, the Sewells found an unusually large number of cases in which domestic violence was initiated by women. The couple, in the clinic’s web page, explores the distinction between "LOVE" ("non-possessive and admiring") and "love" (a kind of attachment which denotes a "lack of emotional self-sufficiency"). In relation to their concept of "LOVE" as a solution to domestic problems, and in support of the idea that violence in relationships must stem from a lack of "LOVE," the Sewells have attempted to publicize the supposedly forgotten half of domestic abuse, that directed by women against men.
Sam and Bunny, in a mass e-mailing to various news organizations, quote Change in Spouse Abuse Rates from 1975 to 1992: A Comparison of Three National Surveys, a study by Murray A. Straus and Glenda Kaufman Kantor of the University of New Hampshire’s Family Research Laboratory. The study found that, per 1,000 couples, 92 reported minor assaults such as pushing, grabbing and slapping, by the husband. Surprisingly, though, the study reported a rate of 94 minor assaults by the wife. 19 couples reported severe assaults such as kicking, biting, punching, or using a gun or knife, by the husband. Yet 44 couples reported severe assault by the wife, meaning that women are perpetrators of the crime at more than twice the rate of their male counterparts.
"The Men’s Issues Page" quotes a 1989 study in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, "Prevalence and Stability of Physical Aggression Between Spouses" that found that women were, overall, more often the aggressor in relationships than men. In unmarried couples, 31.2% of men and 44.4% of women had engaged in aggressive behavior. After eighteen months of marriage, these statistics changed to 26.8% of men and 35.9% of women. After twenty months of marriage, the numbers decreased to 24.6% and 32.2%, but maintained the notable discrepancy. Further, this study found that "the lower rates of overall aggression for men were not offset by higher rates of more severe type of aggression." The same page uses a third study, The Marriage License as Hitting License: A Comparison of Assaults in Dating, Cohabiting and Married Couples which states similar findings showing that women are more often the aggressor in a marriage.
Lash or backlash
In contrast to the vocal advocacy for battered women, claims that men are often the victims of domestic abuse are likely to be dismissed as a mere backlash against today’s "politically-correct" sensibilities. Yet the data about husband-beating is, to a large degree, valid. Murray Straus, a sociologist and co-director for the Family Research Laboratory at the University of New Hampshire, verified the statistics from the Sewells' report and Richard Gelles of the University of Rhode Island and author of Intimate Violence and other studies, also validated the statistics used by matching it to previous research."
In fact, Gelles’ most recent research supported his earlier data in finding that, in a quarter of domestic relationships, violence is exclusively male against female. In a second quarter of these relationships, violence is exclusively female against male. In the remaining half, violence is bi-directional, with an equal likelihood of initiation from either men or women. Yet anecdotal evidence on the part of women’s groups and police blotters suggests that the numerous studies detailing female violence are wrong or exaggerated. Domestic violence advocacy groups claim that most violence by women against men can be explained by examining the context of the violence; that it is, to a large degree, in reaction to violence or threats that women use violence against their spouse or partner. Deb de Bare, of the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence, stated "from our perspective, research is often misleading. This is an example of exactly that. Research might interpret the number of times someone was hit, but may not get the context. Women might react and slap, and the research would document that as abuse. The reality that we see is that well over ninety percent of cases of domestic violence involve women as victims. We see domestic abuse as the whole pattern of behavior in an abusive relationship."
Gelles would argue, however, that women’s violence cannot be attributed to only self-defense in such a large percentage of cases. Domestic violence, like any form of abuse, is often a learned behavior. Victims of child abuse are more likely to abuse both their own children and their spouse or partner. Violence, to victims of abuse, is a way of expressing anger, which becomes a normalized means to interact with one’s partner. This is not to undermine the number of cases in which violence is a direct reaction to threats or aggression; these cases address an issue critical in the problem of violent relationships in general.
Looking in the mirror
The difficulty in assigning blame for domestic violence is evident in Gelles’ study of unmarried college-age heterosexual couples. In these relationships, violence is perfectly symmetrical between men and women. Gelles termed these "modern aggressive relationships": anger is translated as verbal or physical abuse. Though these relationships are just as violent as "traditional" cases of domestic violence, they receive little attention; abuse has become an accepted part of relationships between men and women of this age group. The violence of this particular portion of abuse came to the fore recently when last month a woman at the University of Michigan was killed by her own boyfriend, stabbed repeatedly by a kitchen knife. Claiming that "nobody wants to present the balanced view," Gelles is dismayed that statistical ‘facts’ are ceaselessly debated over while the victims of abuse gain little. Rhode Island, for instance, has standards for treating victims of domestic abuse which dictate a certain number of weeks for treatment, as well as a standardized and specific treatment content. In Gelles’ opinion, these standards are "guaranteed to be ineffective" because they do not examine specific cases or situations of abuse. Thus, individuals with violent childhood experiences, though "treated", return to relationships only to maintain a previous pattern of abuse.
Proponents of the husband-beating statistics see identity politics as an impediment to the eradication of violence in the home. Sam Sewell asserted that "a solution to [the domestic violence] problem requires that gender politics be excluded." Gelles agreed, arguing that the only remedy to domestic abuse will come when advocates use "informed scientific judgment" to determine treatment standards, and when the focus of the domestic violence debate shifts from a search for the "real" victims to a search for a solution.
Domestic abuse: It’s not always his fault
Scripps Howard News Service 8/18/97 by Betsy Hart
Not long ago members of Virginia’s General Assembly considered a bill meant to keep husbands from abusing their wives: putting a warning label at the top of marriage licenses! It didn’t get far. (Possibly calmer heads prevailed and pointed out that it’s non marital relationships that are a major risk factor for abuse.)
Still, this attempt highlights the prevailing notion in domestic violence circles that "it’s always his fault." That, in fact, is the title of the cover article in the summer issue of "The Women’s Quarterly, " published by the Independent Women’s Forum, an increasingly high-profile group that’s kind of an antidote to the National Organization for Women.
Author Sally L. Satel, psychiatrist and Yale medical school lecturer, shows how accepted Gloria Steinem’s assertion that "the patriarchy requires violence in order to maintain itself" has become. I.e., abusive men aren’t criminals, or drunks, or particularly troubled people some of whom may be redeemed. They are just men.
The Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women’s Network explains: "Battery is a fulfillment of cultural expectation, not a defiant or sick behavior." This view pervades the activist groups dealing with this issue, and the bureaucracies that fund them with federal dollars.
Today a dozen states basically preclude treatment other than feminist therapy of domestic batterers, Satel notes, and more are following. Forget joint counseling when appropriate and desired. Involving the batterer’s mate in treatment amounts to "blaming the victim .
That, despite the fact that many abuse experts unhindered by feminist blinders recognize abuse is often part of a "dance of mutual destructiveness" as psychologist Judith Shervin writes. And that women initiate violence in cohabiting relationships as often as men (often using weapons to make up for physical differences) according to leading abuse researchers-widely respected across philosophical lines - Richard Gelles and Murray Straus.
No matter. "Don," a college administrator arrested for once slapping his wife (they are still together) was required to attend a typical "abuse" program. Every week "the message was clear," Don told Satel. "Whatever she does to you is your fault, whatever you do to her is your fault. It would have been a lot more helpful if they taught us to recognize when we felt ourselves being driven into a position where we lash out. The message should have been "recognize it, deal with it, and quit hitting." All Don got was guilt about his maleness.
Hand in hand with this agenda are feminist backed "must arrest" and similar legal policies which exist in hundreds of jurisdictions. These require police to arrest one partner-almost always the man-when called to a domestic dispute. Even when things have completely cooled down, there was no hitting, and the woman doesn’t want the man arrested.
Common "no-drop" polices do not allow a woman to drop abuse charges once they’re filed, even if her motive was anger, not fear. In California, it is mandatory for judges to issue a restraining order separating the parties in all domestic violence cases.
Such practices treat women like children, and ensure that if couples stay together-and most in fact do-nothing really changes, Satel writes, though the woman might mistakenly and dangerously be led to believe it has. While there is virtually no convincing data that this feminist approach to male violence is effective, Satel notes, several respected studies suggest that these typical legal practices can escalate spousal violence in some men by further enraging them.
The goal of these feminist treatments and legal responses, Satel says, is to separate women from their abusive partner -no matter what the circumstances, and no matter how fervently the women wish otherwise.
These "one size fits all" policies might make a bit more sense if "abuse" always meant serious, systematic violence. But the feminist politicization of the term "abuse" renders it virtually meaningless. A typical check-list, this from the Westchester Coalition of Family Violence agencies, tells women that if their partner behaves in "an overprotective manner," "turns minor incidents into major arguments" or "insults you," then "you might be abused."
Sometimes, of course, no redemption is possible, and leaving, or ensuring the violent spouse is locked up (preferably for good), is the only answer. And Satel rightly notes that the feminist agenda in this area has forced law enforcement to take domestic abuse seriously.
But once again, the radical feminist agenda of "man bad woman good" has permeated the culture on an a fundamentally important issue, and once again it has done a terrible disservice to the constituency feminists are supposed to help-women.
Betsy Hart, a former White House spokesman, is a weekly commentator on MS-NBC television news.
Spousal Abuse Rates - Stats from UCR and Straus, Gelles
The data from the US National Crime Survey (NCS) states that 84% of the victims of "intimate" violence were female. ("Highlights from 20 years of Surveying Crime Victims", NCJ-144525.) It also puts the occurrence of this violent crime (from "intimates only") at 5.4 female victims per 1000 women per year - this is all crimes, many of which did not involve injury.
For comparison, the rate for "Accidental injury, all circumstances" is given as 220 per 1000 adults per year - a figure 40 times higher.
If one accepts data such as that from the NCS, one must (at least if one is consistent and intellectually honest) admit that such violence is rare. The picture changes, though, when different techniques of investigation (methodologies) are used, such as those by Straus, and Gelles. This data shows that domestic violence is MUCH more common. In fact, some degree of violence (NOT injury, however) occurs at a rate of 113 incidents per 1000 couples per year (husband. on wife) and 121 incidents per 1000 couples per year (wife on husband)! This is 20x the rate that the NCS reports.
Family Homicides - rates by gender - DoJ, 94
In July 1994 the Bureau of Justice Statistics of the U.S. Department of Justice released a Special Report detailing the results of a survey of family homicides in 33 urban U.S. counties. The report covered ONLY convictions, which should respond to any contention that female-on-male family violence is almost always reactive. The report said:
"A third of family murders involved a female as the killer. In sibling murders, females were 15 percent of killers, and in murders of parents, 18 percent. But in spouse murders, women represented 41 percent of killers. In murders of their offspring, women predominated, accounting for 55 percent of killers."
Conflict Tactics Scales
To give a little background on how the rates of violence were determined, by Straus, and Gelles, We include the following question from the published survey for the CTS methodology:
No matter how well a couple gets along, there are times when they disagree, get annoyed with the other person, or just have spats or fights because they’re in a bad mood or tired or for some other reason. They also use many different ways of trying to settle their differences. I’m going to read some things that you and your spouse might do when you have an argument. I would like you to tell me how many times in the last 12 months you:
b. Got information to back up your side of things
c. Brought in or tried to bring in someone to help settle things
d. Insulted or swore at the other one
e. Sulked and/or refused to talk about it
f. Stormed out of the room or house (or yard)
h. Did or said something to spite the other one
i. Threatened to hit or throw something at the other one
j. Threw or smashed or hit or kicked something
k. Threw something at the other one
l. Pushed, grabbed, or shoved the other one
m. Slapped the other one
n. Kicked, but, or hit with a fist
o. Hit or tried to hit with something
p. Beat up the other one
q. Threatened with a knife or gun
r. Used a knife or gun
Other data, however indicates that the gender of the striker of the first blow is fairly uniform. Jan. E States and Murray A Straus, "Gender Differences in Reporting Marital Violence and It’s Medical and Psychological Consequences", ch 9 in Straus & Gelles Physical Violence in American Families quote the following: Men claimed they struck the first blow in 44% of the cases, their female partners in 44% of the cases, and "couldn’t remember" in 12% of the cases. The women claimed men hit them first in 43% of the cases, that they struck the first blow in 53% of the cases, and "couldn’t remember" in 5% of the cases. However, data for injury rates based on these studies shows women seeking treatment for a doctor much more often than men did. In a study of 8145 families 7.3% of 137 women severely assaulted (i.e. 10 out of 137) and 1% of 95 men severely assaulted (i.e 1 out of 95) men asked to see a doctor.
References Examining Asaults by Women on Their Spouses or Male partners
An Annotated Bibliography
SUMMARY: This bibliography examines 95 scholarly investigations, 79 empirical studies and 16 reviews and/or analyses, which demonstrate that women are as physically aggressive, or more aggressive, than men in their relationships with their spouses or male partners. The aggregate sample size in the reviewed studies exceeds 60,000.
Aizenman, M., & Kelley, G. (1988). The incidence of violence and acquaintance rape in dating relationships among college men and women. Journal of College Student Development, 29, 305-311. (A sample of actively dating college students <204 women and 140 men responded to a survey examining courtship violence. Authors report that there were no significant differences between the sexes in self reported perpetration of physical abuse.)
Archer, J., & Ray, N. (1989). Dating violence in the United Kingdom: a preliminary study. Aggressive Behavior, 15, 337-343. (Twenty three dating couples completed the Conflict Tactics scale. Results indicate that women were significantly more likely than their male partners to express physical violence. Authors also report that, "measures of partner agreement were high" and that the correlation between past and present violence was low.)
Arias, I., Samios, M., & O’Leary, K. D. (1987). Prevalence and correlates of physical aggression during courtship. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 2, 82-90. (Used Conflict Tactics Scale with a sample of 270 undergraduates <95 men, 175 women and found 30% of men and 49% of women reported using some form of aggression in their dating histories with a greater percentage of women engaging in severe physical aggression.)
Arias, I., & Johnson, P. (1989). Evaluations of physical aggression among intimate dyads. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 4, 298-307. (Used Conflict Tactics Scale-CTS-with a sample of 103 male and 99 female undergraduates. Both men and women had similar experience with dating violence, 19% of women and 18% of men admitted being physically aggressive. A significantly greater percentage of women thought self-defense was a legitimate reason for men to be aggressive, while a greater percentage of men thought slapping was a legitimate response for a man or woman if their partner was sexually unfaithful.)
Bernard, M. L., & Bernard, J. L. (1983). Violent intimacy: The family as a model for love relationships. Family Relations, 32, 283-286. (Surveyed 461 college students, 168 men, 293 women, with regard to dating violence. Found that 15% of the men admitted to physically abusing their partners, while 21% of women admitted to physically abusing their partners.)
Billingham, R. E., & Sack, A. R. (1986). Courtship violence and the interactive status of the relationship. Journal of Adolescent Research, 1, 315-325. (Using CTS with 526 university students <167 men, 359 women found Similar rates of mutual violence but with women reporting higher rates of violence initiation when partner had not--9% vs 3%.)
Bland, R., & Orne, H. (1986). Family violence and psychiatric disorder. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 31, 129-137. (In interviews with 1,200 randomly selected Canadians <489 men, 711 women found that women both engaged in and initiated violence at higher rates than their male partners.)
Bookwala, J., Frieze, I. H., Smith, C., & Ryan, K. (1992). Predictors of dating violence: A multivariate analysis. Violence and Victims, 7, 297-311. (Used CTS with 305 college students <227 women, 78 men and found that 133 women and 43 men experienced violence in a current or recent dating relationship. Authors reports that "women reported the expression of as much or more violence in their relationships as men." While most violence in relationships appears to be mutual--36% reported by women, 38% by men—women report initiating violence with non violent partners more frequently than men <22% vs 17%).
Brinkerhoff, M., & Lupri, E. (1988). Interspousal violence. Canadian Journal of Sociology, 13, 407-434. (Examined interspousal violence in a representative sample of 562 couples in Calgary, Canada. Used Conflict Tactics Scale and found twice as much wife-to-husband as husband-to-wife severe violence <10.7% vs 4.8%. The overall violence rate for husbands was 10.3% while the overall violence rate for wives was 13.2%. Violence was significantly higher in younger and childless couples. Results suggest that male violence decreased with higher educational attainment, while female violence increased.)
Brush, L. D. (1990). Violent Acts and injurious outcomes in married couples: Methodological issues in the National Survey of Families and Households. Gender & Society, 4, 56-67. (Used the Conflict Tactics scale in a large national survey, n=5,474, and found that women engage in same amount of spousal violence as men.)
Brutz, J., & Ingoldsby, B. B. (1984). Conflict resolution in Quaker families. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 46, 21-26. (Used Conflict Tactics Scale with a sample of 288 Quakers <130 men, 158 women and found a slightly higher rate of female to male violence <15.2% than male to female violence <14.6%.)
Burke, P. J., Stets, J. E., & Pirog-Good, M. A. (1988). Gender identity, self-esteem, and physical and sexual abuse in dating relationships. Social Psychology Quarterly, 51, 272-285. (A sample of 505 college students <298 women, 207 men completed the CTS. Authors reports that they found "no significant difference between men and women in reporting inflicting or sustaining physical abuse." Specifically, within a one year period they found that 14% of the men and 18% of the women reported inflicting physical abuse, while 10% of the men and 14% of the women reported sustaining physical abuse.
Carlson, B. E. (1987). Dating violence: a research review and comparison with spouse abuse. Social Casework, 68, 16-23. (Reviews research on dating violence and finds that men and women are equally likely to aggress against their partners and that "the frequency of aggressive acts is inversely related to the likelihood of their causing physical injury.")
Carrado, M., George, M. J., Loxam, E., Jones, L., & Templar, D. (1996). Aggression in British heterosexual relationships: a descriptive analysis. Aggressive Behavior, 22, 401-415. (In a representative sample of British men <n=894 and women <n=971 it was found, using a modified version of the CTS, that 18% of the men and 13% of the women reported being victims of physical violence at some point in their heterosexual relationships. With regard to current relationships, 11% of men and 5% of women reported being victims of partner aggression.)
Cascardi, M., Langhinrichsen, J., & Vivian, D. (1992). Marital aggression: Impact, injury, and health correlates for husbands and wives. Archives of Internal Medicine, 152, 1178-1184. (Examined 93 couples seeking marital therapy. Found using the CTS and other information that 71% reported at least one incident of physical aggression in past year. While men and women were equally likely to perpetrate violence, women reported more severe injuries. Half of the wives and two thirds of the husbands reported no injuries as a result of all aggression, but wives sustained more injuries as a result of mild aggression.)
Caulfield, M. B., & Riggs, D. S. (1992). The assessment of dating aggression: Empirical evaluation of the Conflict Tactics Scale. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 4, 549-558. (Used CTS with a sample of 667 unmarried college students <268 men and 399 women and found on a number of items significantly higher responses of physical violence on part of women. For example, 19% of women slapped their male partner while 7% of men slapped their partners, 13% of women kicked, bit, or hit their partners with a fist while only 3.1% of men engaged in this activity.)
Deal, J. E., & Wampler, K. S. (1986). Dating violence: The primacy of previous experience. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 3, 457-471. (Of 410 university students <295 women, 115 men responding to CTS and other instruments, it was revealed that 47% experienced some violence in dating relationships. The majority of experiences were reciprocal. When not reciprocal men were three times more likely than women to report being victims. Violent experiences in previous relationships was the best predictor of violence in current relationships.)
DeMaris, A. (1992). Male versus female initiation of aggression: The case of courtship violence. In E. C. Viano (Ed.), Intimate violence: interdisciplinary perspectives. (pp. 111-120). Bristol, PA: Taylor & Francis. (Examined a sample of 865 white and black college students with regard to the initiation of violence in their dating experience. Found that 218 subjects, 80 men and 118 women, had experienced or expressed violence in current or recent dating relationships. Results indicate that "when one partner could be said to be the usual initiator of violence, that partner was most often the women. This finding was the same for both black and white respondents.")
Ernst, A. A., Nick, T. G., Weiss, S. J., Houry, D., & Mills, T. (1997). Domestic violence in an inner-city ED. Annals of Emergency Medicine, 30, 190-197. (Assessed 516 patients <233 men, 283 women in a New Orleans inner-city emergency Department with the Index of Spousal Abuse, a scale to measure domestic violence. Found that 28% of the men and 33% of the women <a nonsignificant difference, were victims of past physical violence while 20% of the men and 19% of the women reported being current victims of physical violence. In terms of ethnicity, 82% of subjects were African-American. Authors report that there was a significant difference in the number of women vs. men who reported past abuse to the police ,19% of women, 6% of men.)
Feather, N. T. (1996). Domestic violence, gender and perceptions of justice. Sex Roles, 35, 507-519. (Subjects <109 men, 111 women from Adelaide, South Australia, were presented a hypothetical scenario in which either a husband or wife perpetrated domestic violence. Participants were significantly more negative in their evaluation of the husband than the wife, were more sympathetic to the wife and believed that the husband deserved a harsher penalty for his behavior.)
Fiebert, M. S., & Gonzalez, D. M. (1997). Women who initiate assaults: The reasons offered for such behavior. Psychological Reports, 80, 583-590. (A sample of 968 women, drawn primarily from college courses in the Southern California area, were surveyed regarding their initiation of physical assaults on their male partners. 29% of the women, n=285, revealed that they initiated assaults during the past five years. Women in their 20’s were more likely to aggress than women aged 30 and above. In terms of reasons, women appear to aggress because they did not believe that their male victims would be injured or would retaliate. Women also claimed that they assaulted their male partners because they wished to engage their attention, particularly emotionally.)
Fiebert, M. S. (1996). College students’ perception of men as victims of women’s assaultive behavior. Perceptual & Motor Skills, 82, 49-50. (Three hundred seventy one college students <91 men, 280 women were surveyed regarding their knowledge and acceptance of the research finding regarding female assaultive behavior. The majority of subjects (63%) were unaware of the finding that women assault men as frequently as men assault women; a slightly higher percentage of women than men (39% vs 32%) indicated an awareness of this finding. With regard to accepting the validity of these findings a majority of subjects (65%) endorsed such a result with a slightly higher percentage of men (70% vs 64%)indicating their acceptance of this finding.)
Flynn, C. P. (1990). Relationship violence by women: issues and implications. Family Relations, 36, 295-299. (A review/analysis article that states, "researchers consistently have found that men and women in relationships, both marital and premarital engage in comparable amounts of violence." Author also writes, "Violence by women in intimate relationships has received little attention from policy makers, the public, and until recently, researchers...battered men and abusive women have receive ‘selective inattention’ by both the media and researchers.")
Follingstad, D. R., Wright, S., & Sebastian, J. A. (1991). Sex differences in motivations and effects in dating violence. Family Relations, 40, 51-57. (A sample of 495 college students <207 men, 288 women completed the CTS and other instruments including a "justification of relationship violence measure." The study found that women were twice as likely to report perpetrating dating violence as men. Female victims attributed male violence to a desire to gain control over them or to retaliate for being hit first, while men believed that female aggression was a based on their female partner’s wish to "show how angry they were and to retaliate for feeling emotionally hurt or mistreated.")
Gelles, R. J. (1994). Research and advocacy: Can one wear two hats? Family Process, 33, 93-95. (Laments the absence of objectivity on the part of "feminist" critics of research demonstrating female perpetrated domestic violence.)
George, M. J. (1994). Riding the donkey backwards: Men as the unacceptable victims of marital violence. Journal of Men’s Studies, 3, 137-159. (A thorough review of the literature which examines findings and issues related to men as equal victims of partner abuse.)
Goldberg, W. G., & Tomlanovich, M. C. (1984). Domestic violence victims in the emergency department. JAMA, 251, 3259-3264. (A sample of 492 patients <275 women, 217 men who sought treatment in an emergency department in a Detroit hospital were survey regarding their experience with domestic violence. Respondents were mostly African-American (78%), city dwellers (90%), and unemployed (60%). Victims of domestic violence numbered 107 (22%). While results indicate that 38% of victims were men and 62% were women this gender difference did not reach statistical signficance.
Gonzalez, D. M. (1997). Why females initiate violence: A study examining the reasons behind assaults on men. Unpublished master’s thesis, California State University, Long Beach. (225 college women participated in a survey which examined their past history and their rationales for initiating aggression with male partners. Subjects also responded to 8 conflict scenarios which provided information regarding possible reasons for the initiation of aggression. Results indicate that 55% of the subjects admitted to initiating physical aggression toward their male partners at some point in their lives. The most common reason was that aggression was a spontaneous reaction to frustration).
Hampton, R. L., Gelles, R. J., & Harrop, J. W. (1989). Is violence in families increasing? A comparison of 1975 and 1985 National Survey rates. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 51, 969-980. (Compared a sample of 147 African Americans from the 1975 National Survey with 576 African Americans from the 1985 National Survey with regard to spousal violence. Using the CTS found that the rate of overall violence (169/1000) of husbands to wives remained the same from 1975 to 1985, while the rate of overall violence for wives to husbands increased 33% (153 to 204/1000) from 1975 to 1985. The rate of severe violence of husbands to wives decreased 43% (113 to 64/1000) from 1975 to 1985, while the rate of severe violence of wives to husbands increased 42% (76 to 108/1000) from 1975 to 1985. In 1985 the rate of abusive violence by black women was nearly 3 times greater than the rate of white women.)
Henton, J., Cate, R., Koval, J., Lloyd, S., & Christopher, S. (1983). Romance and violence in dating relationships. Journal of Family Issues, 4, 467-482. (Surveyed 644 high school students <351 men, 293 women and found that abuse occurred at a rate of 121 per 1000 and appeared to be reciprocal with both partners initiating violence at similar rates.)
Jouriles, E. N., & O’leary, K. D. (1985). Interpersonal reliability of reports of marital violence. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 53, 419-421. (Used the Conflict Tactics Scale with a sample of 65 couples in marriage therapy and 37 couples from the community. Found moderate levels of agreement of abuse between partners and similar rates of reported violence between partners.) Kalmuss, D. (1984). The intergenerational transmission of marital aggression. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 46, 11-19. (In a representative sample of 2,143 adults found that the rate of husband to wife severe aggression is 3.8% while the rate of wife to husband severe aggression is 4.6%.)
Kim, K., & Cho, Y. (1992). Epidemiological survey of spousal abuse in Korea. In E. C.
Viano (Ed.) Intimate Violence: Interdisciplinary Perspectives. (pp. 277-282). Bristol, PA:
Taylor and Francis. (Utilized the Conflict Tactics scale in interviews with a random sample of 1,316 married Koreans <707 women, 609 men. Compared to findings with American couples, results indicate that Korean men were victimized by their wives twice as much as American men, while Korean women were victimized by their spouses three times as much as American women.)
Lane, K., & Gwartney-Gibbs, P.A. (1985). Violence in the context of dating and sex. Journal of Family Issues, 6, 45-49. (Surveyed 325 students <165 men, 160 women regarding courtship violence. Used Conflict Tactics Scale and found equal rates of violence for men and women.)
Laner, M. R., & Thompson, J. (1982). Abuse and aggression in courting couples. Deviant Behavior, 3, 229-244. (Used Conflict Tactics Scales with a sample of 371 single individuals <129 men, 242 women and found similar rates of male and female violence in dating relationships.)
Langhinrichsen-Rohling, J., & Vivian, D. (1994). The correlates of spouses’ incongruent reports of marital aggression. Journal of Family Violence, 9, 265-283. (In a clinic sample of 97 couples seeking marital therapy, authors found, using a modified version of the CTS, that 61% of the husbands and 64% of the wives were classified as aggressive, 25% of the husbands and 11% of the wives were identified as mildly aggressive and 36% of husbands and 53% of wives were classified as severely aggressive. Sixty-eight percent of couples were in agreement with regard to husband’s overall level of aggression and 69% of couples were in agreement on wive’s overall level of aggression. Aggression levels were identified as "nonviolent, mildly violent, or severely violent." Where there was disagreement, 65% of husbands <n=20 were under-reporting aggression and 35% of husbands <n=11 were over-reporting aggression; while 57% of wives <n=17 were under-reporting aggression and 43% of wives <n=13 were over-reporting aggression.)
Lillja, C. M. (1995). Why women abuse: A study examining the function of abused men. Unpublished master’s thesis, California State University, Long Beach. (A review of the literature examining the issue of men as victims of female assaults. Includes an original questionnaire to test assumption that women who lack social support to combat stress are likely to commit domestic violence.)
Lo, W. A., & Sporakowski, M. J. (1989). The continuation of violent dating relationships among college students. Journal of College Student Development, 30, 432-439. (A sample of 422 college students completed the Conflict Tactics Scale. Found that, "women were more likely than men to claim themselves as abusers and were less likely to claim themselves as victims.")
Macchietto, J. (1992). Aspects of male victimization and female aggression: Implications for counseling men. Journal of Mental Health Counseling, 14, 375-392. (Article reviews literature on male victimization and female aggression.)
Makepeace, J. M. (1986). Gender differences in courtship violence victimization. Family Relations, 35, 383-388. (A sample of 2,338 students <1,059 men, 1,279 women from seven colleges were surveyed regarding their experience of dating violence. Courtship violence was experienced by 16.7 % of respondents. Authors report that "rates of commission of acts and initiation of violence were similar across gender." In term of injury, both men (98%) and women (92%) reported "none or mild" effects of violence.)
Malone, J., Tyree, A., & O’Leary, K. D. (1989). Generalization and containment: Different effects of past aggression for wives and husbands. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 51, 687-697. (In a sample of 328 couples it was found that men and women engaged in similar amounts of physical aggression within their families of origin and against their spouses. However, results indicate that women were more aggressive to their partners than men. Aggression was more predictable for women, i.e., if women observed parental aggression or hit siblings they were more likely to be violent with their spouses.)
Margolin, G. (1987). The multiple forms of aggressiveness between marital partners: how do we identify them? Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 13 , 77-84. (A paid volunteer sample of 103 couples completed the Conflict Tactics Scale. It was found that husbands and wives perpetrated similar amounts of violence. Specifically, the incidence of violence, as reported by either spouse was: husband to wife =39; wife to husband =41.)
Marshall, L. L., & Rose, P. (1987). Gender, stress and violence in the adult relationships
of a sample of college students. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 4,
299-316. (A survey of 308 undergraduates <152 men, 156 women revealed that 52% expressed and 62% received violence at some point in their adult relationships. Overall, women report expressing more physical violence than men. Childhood abuse emerged as a predictor of violence in adult relationships.)
Marshall, L. L., & Rose, P. (1990). Premarital violence: The impact of family of origin violence, stress and reciprocity. Violence and Victims, 5, 51-64. (454 premarital undergraduates <249 women, 205 men completed the CTS and other scales. Overall, women reported expressing more violence than men, while men reported receiving more violence than women. Female violence was also associated with having been abused as children.)
Mason, A., & Blankenship, V. (1987). Power and affiliation motivation, stress and abuse in intimate relationships. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 52, 203-210. (Investigated 156 college students <48 men, 107 women with the Thematic Apperception Test <TAT, Life Experiences Survey and the CTS. Found that there were no significant gender differences in terms of the infliction of physical abuse. Men with high power needs were more likely to be physically abusive while highly stressed women with high needs for affiliation and low activity inhibition were the most likely to be physically abusive. Results indicate that physical abuse occurred most often among committed couples.)
Matthews, W. J. (1984). Violence in college couples. College Student Journal, 18, 150-158. (A survey of 351 college students <123 men and 228 women revealed that 79 <22.8 % reported at least one incident of dating violence. Both men and women ascribed joint responsibility for violent behavior and both sexes, as either recipients or expressors of aggression, interpreted violence as a form of "love.")
Maxfield, M. G. (1989). Circumstances in supplementary homicide reports: Variety and validity. Criminology, 27, 671-695. (Examines FBI homicide data from 1976 through 1985. Reports that 9,822 wives & common law wives <57% were killed compared to 7,433 husbands and common law husbands <43%).
McKinney, K. (1986). Measures of verbal, physical and sexual dating violence by gender. Free Inquiry in Creative Sociology, 14, 55-60. (Surveyed 163 college students, 78 men, 85 women, with a questionnaire designed to assess involvement in dating abuse. Found that 38% of women and 47% of men indicated that they were victims of physical abuse in dating relationships. Also found that 26% of women and 21% of men acknowledged that they physically assaulted their dating partners.)
McLeod, M. (1984). Women against men: An examination of domestic violence based on an analysis of official data and national victimization data. Justice Quarterly, 1, 171-193. (From a data set of 6,200 cases of spousal abuse in the Detroit area in 1978-79 found that men used weapons 25% of the time while female assailants used weapons 86% of the time, 74% of men sustained injury and of these 84% required medical care. Concludes that male victims are injured more often and more seriously than female victims.)
McNeely, R. L., & Mann, C. R. (1990). Domestic violence is a human issue. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 5, 129-132. (A review article which discusses the findings that women are more prone than men to engage in severely violent acts and that "classifying spousal violence as a women’s issue rather than a human issue is erroneous.")
McNeely, R. L., & Robinson-Simpson, G. (1987). The truth about domestic violence: A falsely framed issue. Social Work, 32, 485-490. (A review article which concludes that women are as violent as men in domestic relationships.)
Mercy, J. A., & Saltzman, L. E. (1989). Fatal violence among spouses in the United States, 1975-85. American Journal of Public Health, 79, 595-599. (Examined FBI figures regarding spousal homicides. During the 10 year period from 1975 to 1985 found higher murder rates of wives than husbands <43.4% vs 56.6%. Black husbands were at the greatest risk of victimization. Spousal homicide among blacks was 8.4 times higher than that of whites. Spouse homicide rates were 7.7 times higher in interracial marriages and the risk of victimization for both whites and blacks increased as age differences between spouses increased. Wives and husbands were equally likely to be killed by firearms <approximately 72% of the time while husbands were more likely to be stabbed and wives more likely to bludgeoned to death. Arguments apparently escalated to murder in 67% of spouse homicides.)
Mihalic, S. W., & Elliot, D. (1997). A social learning theory model of marital violence. Journal of Family Violence, 12, 21-46. (Based on data from the National Youth Survey <see Morse, 1995 a social learning model of marital violence for men and women was tested. For men ethnicity, prior victimization, stress and marital satisfaction predicted both perpetration and experience of minor violence. With regard to serious violence ethnicity, prior victimization, marital satisfaction predicted men’s experience of marital violence, while ethnicity, class and sex role attitudes predicted the perpetration of male marital violence. For women the most important predictor of the experience of both minor and serious marital violence was marital satisfaction, class was also a predictor. With regard to female perpetrators of marital violence the witnessing of parental violence was an important predictor along with class and marital satisfaction. The social learning model worked better for women than men.)
Morse, B. J. (1995). Beyond the Conflict Tactics Scale: Assessing gender differences in partner violence. Violence and Victims, 10 (4) 251-272. (Data was analyzed from the National Youth Survey, a longitudinal study begun in 1976 with 1,725 subjects who were drawn from a probability sample of households in the United States and who, in 1976, were between the ages of 11-17. This study focused on violence as assessed by the CTS between male and female married or cohabiting respondents during survey years 1983 <n=1,496, 1986 <n=1,384, 1989 <n=1,436, and 1992 <n=1,340. For each survey year the prevalence rates of any violence and severe violence were significantly higher for female to male than for male to female. For example, in 1983 the rate of any violence male to female was 36.7, while the rate of any violence female to male was 48; in 1986, the rate of severe violence male to female was 9.5, while the rate of severe violence female to male was 22.8. In 1992, the rate of any violence male to female was 20.2, with a severe violence rate male to female of 5.7; while the rate of any violence female to male was 27.9, with a severe violence rate female to male of 13.8. Author notes that the decline in violence over time is attributed to the increase in age of the subjects. Results reveal <p. 163 that over twice as many women as men reported assaulting a partner who had not assaulted them during the study year." In 1986 about 20% of both men and women reported that assaults resulted in physical injuries. In other years women were more likely to self report personal injuries.)
Mwamwenda, T. S. (1997). Husband Battery among the Xhosa speaking people of Transkei, South Africa. Unpublished manuscript, University of Transkei, S. A. (Surveyed a sample of 138 female and 81 male college students in Transkei, South Africa, regarding their witnessing husbanding battery. Responses reveal that 2% of subjects saw their mother beat their father, 18% saw or heard female relatives beating their husbands, and 26% saw or heard female neighbors beating their husbands.)
Nisonoff, L., & Bitman, I. (1979). Spouse abuse: Incidence and relationship to selected demographic variables. Victimology, 4, 131-140. (In a sample of 297 telephone survey respondents <112 men, 185 women found that 15.5% of men and 11.3% of women report having hit their spouse, while 18.6% of men and 12.7% of women report having been hit by their spouse.)
O’Keeffe, N. K., Brockopp, K., & Chew, E. (1986). Teen dating violence. Social Work, 31, 465-468. (Surveyed 256 high school students from Sacramento, CA., 135 girls, 121 boys, with the CTS. Ninety percent of students were juniors or seniors, the majority came from middle class homes, 94% were average or better students, and 65% were white and 35% were black, Hispanic or Asian. Found that 11.9% of girls compared to 7.4% of boys admitted to being sole perpetrators of physical violence. 17.8% of girls and 11.6% of boys admitted that they were both "victims and perpetrators" of physical violence.)
O’Leary, K. D., Barling, J., Arias, I., Rosenbaum, A., Malone, J., & Tyree, A. (1989).
Prevalence and stability of physical aggression between spouses: A longitudinal analysis. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 57, 263-268. (272 couples were assessed regarding physical aggression. More women reported physically aggressing against their partners at premarriage <44% vs 31% and 18 months of marriage <36% vs 27%. At 30 months there was a nonsignificant but higher rate for women <32% vs 25%.)
Plass, M. S., & Gessner, J. C. (1983). Violence in courtship relations: a southern sample. Free Inquiry in Creative Sociology, 11, 198-202. (In an opportunity sample of 195 high school and college students from a large southern city, researchers used the Conflict Tactics scale to examine courtship violence. Overall, results reveal that women were significantly more likely than men to be aggressors. Specifically, in, committed relationships, women were three times as likely as men to slap their partners, and to kick, bit or hit with the fist seven times as often as men. In casual relationships, while the gender differences weren’t as pronounced, women were more aggressive than men. Other findings reveal that high school students were more abusive than college students, and that a "higher proportion of black respondents were involved as aggressors.")
Riggs, D. S., O’Leary, K. D., & Breslin, F. C. (1990). Multiple correlates of physical aggression in dating couples. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 5, 61-73. (Used CTS and studied 408 college students <125 men and 283 women. Found that significantly more women <39% than men <23% reported engaging in physical aggression against their current partners.)
Rollins, B. C., & Oheneba-Sakyi, Y. (1990). Physical violence in Utah households. Journal of Family Violence, 5, 301-309. (In a random sample of 1,471 Utah households, using the Conflict Tactics Scale, it was found that women’s rate of severe violence was 5.3% compared to a male rate of 3.4%.)
Rouse, L. P. (1988). Abuse in dating relationships: A comparison of Blacks, Whites, and Hispanics. Journal of College Student Development, 29, 312-319. (The use of physical force and its consequences were examined in a diverse sample of college students. Subjects consisted of 130 whites <58 men, 72 women, 64 Blacks <32 men, 32 women, and 34 Hispanics <24 men, 10 women. Men were significantly more likely than women to report that their partners used moderate physical force and caused a greater number of injuries requiring medical attention. This gender difference was present for Whites and Blacks but not for Hispanics.)
Rouse, L. P., Breen, R., & Howell, M. (1988). Abuse in intimate relationships. A Comparison of married and dating college students. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 3, 414-429. (A sample of 130 married (48 men, 82 women) college students and 130 college students in dating relationships (58 men, 72 women) reported their experience of physical abuse in intimate relationships. Men were more likely to report being physically abused than women in both dating and marital relationships.)
Russell, R. J. H., & Hulson, B. (1992). Physical and psychological abuse of heterosexual partners. Personality and Individual Differences, 13, 457-473. (In a pilot study in Great Britain 46 couples responded to the Conflict Tactics Scale. Results reveal that husband to wife violence was: Overall violence= 25% and severe violence= 5.8%; while wife to husband violence was: Overall violence= 25% and severe violence=11.3%.)
Sack, A. R., Keller, J. F., & Howard, R. D. (1982). Conflict tactics and violence in dating situations. International Journal of Sociology of the Family, 12, 89-100. (Used the CTS with a sample of 211 college students, 92 men, 119 women. Results indicate that there were no differences between men and women with regard to the expression of physical violence.)
Saenger, G. (1963). Male and female relations in the American comic strip. In D. M.
White & R. H. Abel (Eds.), The funnies, an American idiom (pp. 219-231). Glencoe, NY:
The Free Press. (Twenty consecutive editions of all comic strips in nine New York City newspapers in October, 1950 were examined. Results reveal that husbands were victims of aggression in 63% of conflict situations while wives were victims in 39% of situations. In addition, wives were more aggressive in 73% of domestic situations, in 10% of situations, husbands and wives were equally aggressive and in only 17% of situations were husbands more violent than wives.)
Sigelman, C. K., Berry, C. J., & Wiles, K. A. (1984). Violence in college students’ dating relationships. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 5, 530-548. (Surveyed 504 college students <116 men, 388 women with the Conflict Tactics Scale and found that men and women were similar in the overall amount of violence they expressed but that men reported experiencing significantly more violence than women.)
Sommer, R. (1994). Male and female partner abuse: Testing a diathesis-stress model. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada. (The study was in two waves: the first was from 1989-1990 and included a random sample of 452 married or cohabiting women and 447 married or cohabiting men from Winnipeg, Canada; the second was from 1991-1992 and included 368 women and 369 men all of whom participated in the first wave. Subjects completed the CTS & other assessment instruments. 39.1% of women reported being physically aggressive (16.2% reporting having perpetrated severe violence) at some point in their relationship with their male partner. While 26.3% of men reported being physically aggressive (with 7.6% reporting perpetrating severe violence) at some point in their relationship with their female partner. Among the perpetrators of partner abuse, 34.8% of men and 40.1% of women reported observing their mothers hitting their fathers. Results indicate that 21% of "males’ and 13% of females’ partners required medical attention as a result of a partner abuse incident." Results also indicate that "10% of women and 15% of men perpetrated partner abuse in self defence.")
Sommer, R., Barnes, G. E. & Murray, R. P. (1992). Alcohol consumption, alcohol abuse, personality and female perpetrated spouse abuse. Journal of Personality and Individual Differences, 13, 1315-1323. (The responses from a subsample of 452 women drawn from a sample of 1,257 Winnipeg residents were analyzed. Using the CTS, it was found that 39% of women physically aggressed against their male partners at some point in their relationship. Younger women with high scores on Eysenck’s P scale were most likely to perpetrate violence. Note: The sample of subjects is the same as the one cited in Sommer’s 1994 dissertation.)
Sorenson, S. B., & Telles, C. A. (1991). Self reports of spousal violence in a Mexican-American and non-Hispanic white population. Violence and Victims, 6, 3-15. (Surveyed 1,243 Mexican-Americans and 1,149 non-Hispanic whites and found that women compared to men reported higher rates of hitting, throwing objects, initiating violence, and striking first more than once. Gender difference was significant only for non-Hispanic whites.)
Steinmetz, S. K. (1977-78). The battered husband syndrome. Victimology: An International Journal, 2, 499-509. (A pioneering article suggesting that the incidence of husband beating was similar to the incidence of wife beating.)
Steinmetz, S. K. (1980). Women and violence: victims and perpetrators. American Journal of Psychotherapy, 34, 334- 350. (Examines the apparent contradiction in women’s role as victim and perpetrator in domestic violence.)
Steinmetz, S. K. (1981). A cross cultural comparison of marital abuse. Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare, 8, 404-414. (Using a modified version of the CTS, examined marital violence in small samples from six societies: Finland, United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, Belize, and Israel <total n=630. Found that "in each society the percentage of husbands who used violence was similar to the percentage of violent wives." The major exception was Puerto Rico where men were more violent. Author also reports that, "Wives who used violence... tended to use greater amounts.")
Stets, J. E. & Henderson, D. A. (1991). Contextual factors surrounding conflict resolution while dating: results from a national study. Family Relations, 40, 29-40. (Drawn from a random national telephone survey, daters <n=277; men=149, women=128 between the ages of 18 and 30, who were single, never married and in a relationship during the past year which lasted at least two months with at least six dates were examined with the Conflict Tactics Scale. Findings reveal that over 30% of subjects used physical aggression in their relationships, with 22% of the men and 40% of the women reported using some form of physical aggression. Women were "6 times more likely than men to use severe aggression <19.2% vs. 3.4%...Men were twice as likely as women to report receiving severe aggression <15.7% vs. 8%." Also found that younger subjects and those of lower socioeconomic status <SES were more likely to use physical aggression.)
Stets, J. E., & Pirog-Good, M. A. (1987). Violence in dating relationships, Social Psychology Quarterly, 50, 237-246. (Examined a college sample of 505 white students. Found that men and women were similar in both their use and reception of violence.
Jealousy was a factor in explaining dating violence for women.)
Stets, J. E. & Pirog-Good, M. A. (1989). Patterns of physical and sexual abuse for men and women in dating relationships: A descriptive analysis, Journal of Family Violence, 4, 63-76. (Examined a sample of 287 college students <118 men and 169 women and found similar rates for men and women of low level physical abuse in dating relationships. More women than men were pushed or shoved <24% vs 10% while more men than women were slapped <12% vs 8%. In term of unwanted sexual contact 22% of men and 36% of women reported such behavior. The most frequent category for both men <18% and women <19% was the item, "against my will my partner initiated necking".)
Stets, J. E., & Straus, M. A. (1990). Gender differences in reporting marital violence and its medical and psychological consequences. In M. A. Straus & R. J. Gelles (Eds.), Physical violence in American families: Risk factors and adaptations to violence in 8,145 families (pp. 151-166). New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction. (Reports information regarding the initiation of violence. In a sample of 297 men and 428 women, men said they struck the first blow in 43.7% of cases, and their partner hit first in 44.1% of cases and could not disentangle who hit first in remaining 12.2%. Women report hitting first in 52.7% of cases, their partners in 42.6% and could not disentangle who hit first in remaining 4.7%. Authors conclude that violence by women is not primarily defensive.)
Straus, M. (1980). Victims and aggressors in marital violence. American Behavioral Scientist, 23, 681-704. (Reviews data from the 1975 National Survey. Examined a subsample of 325 violent couples and found that in 49.5% of cases both husbands and wives committed at least one violent act, while husbands alone were violent in 27.7% of the cases and wives alone were violent in 22.7% of the cases. Found that 148 violent husbands had an average number of 7.1 aggressive acts per year while the 177 violent wives averaged 6.8 aggressive acts per year.)
Straus, M. A. (1993). Physical assaults by wives: A major social problem. In R. J. Gelles & D. R. Loseke (Eds.), Current controversies on family violence pp. 67-87. Newbury Park, CA:Sage. (Reviews literature and concludes that women initiate physical assaults on their partners as often as men do.) Straus, M. A. (1995). Trends in cultural norms and rates of partner violence: An update to 1992. In S. M. Stich & M. A. Straus (Eds.) Understanding partner violence: Prevalence, causes, consequences, and solutions (pp. 30-33). Minneapolis, MN: National Council on Family Relations. (Reports finding that while the approval of a husband slapping his wife declined dramatically from 1968 to 1994 <21% to 10% the approval of a wife slapping her husband did not decline but remained at 22% during the same period. The most frequently mentioned reason for slapping for both partners was sexual unfaithfulness. Also reports that severe physical assaults by men declined by 48% from 1975 to 1992--38/1000 to 19/1000 while severe assaults by women did not change from 1975 to 1992 and remained above 40/1000. Suggests that public service announcements should be directed at female perpetrated violence and that school based programs "explicitly recognize and condemn violence by girls as well as boys.")
Straus, M. A., & Gelles, R. J. (1986). Societal change and change in family violence from 1975 to 1985 as revealed by two national surveys. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 48, 465-479. (Reviewed data from two large sample national violence surveys of married couples and report that men and women assaulted each other at approximately equally rates,with women engaging in minor acts of violence at a higher rate than men. Sample size in 1975 survey=2,143; sample size in 1985 survey=6,002.)
Straus, M. A., Gelles, R. J., & Steinmetz, S. K. (1981). Behind closed doors: Violence in the American family, Garden City, NJ: Anchor. (Reports findings from National Family Violence survey conducted in 1975. In terms of religion, found that Jewish men had the lowest rates of abusive spousal violence (1%), while Jewish women had a rate of abusive spousal violence which was more than double the rate for Protestant women <7%, pp. 128-133. Abusive violence was defined as an "act which has a high potential for injuring the person being hit," pp.21-2.)
Straus, M. A., Hamby, S. L., Boney-McCoy, S., & Sugarman, D. B. (1996). The Revised Conflict Tactics Scales (CTS2). Development and preliminary psychometric data. Journal of Family Issues, 17, 283-316. (The revised CTS has clearer differentiation between minor and severe violence and new scales to measure sexual coercion and physical injury. Used the CTS2 with a sample of 317 college students <114 men, 203 women and found that: 49% of men and 31% of women reported being a victim of physical assault by their partner; 38% of men and 30% of women reported being a victim of sexual coercion by their partner; and 16% of men and 14% of women reported being seriously injured by their partners.)
Straus, M. A., & Kaufman Kantor, G. (1994, July). Change in spouse assault rates from 1975-1992: A comparison of three national surveys in the United States. Paper presented at the Thirteenth World Congress of Sociology, Bielefeld, Germany. (Reports that the trend of decreasing severe assaults by husbands found in the National Survey from 1975 to 1985 has continued in the 1992 survey while wives maintained higher rates of assault.)
Straus, M. A., Kaufman Kantor, G., & Moore, D. W. (1994, August). Change in cultural norms approving marital violence from 1968 to 1994. Paper presented at the American Sociological Association, Los Angeles, CA. (Compared surveys conducted in 1968 <n=1,176, 1985 <n=6,002, 1992 <n=1,970, and 1994 <n=524, with regard to the approval of facial slapping by a spouse. Approval of slapping by husbands decreased from 21% in 1968 to 13% in 1985, to 12% in 1992, to 10% in 1994. The approval of slapping by wives was 22% in 1968 and has not declined over the years.)
Sugarman, D. B., & Hotaling, G. T. (1989). Dating violence: Prevalence, context, and risk markers. In M. A. Pirog-Good & J. E. Stets (Eds.) Violence in dating relationships:
Emerging social issues (pp.3-32). New York: Praeger. (Reviewed 21 studies of dating behavior and found that women reported having expressed violence at higher rates than men--329 per 1000 vs 393 per 1000.)
Szinovacz, M. E. (1983). Using couple data as a methodological tool: The case of marital violence. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 45, 633-644. (Used Conflict Tactics Scale with 103 couples and found that the wives’ rates of physical aggression was somewhat higher than husbands’.)
Tang, C. S. (1994). Prevalence of spouse aggression in Hong Kong. Journal of Family Violence, 9, 347-356. (Subjects were 382 undergraduates <246 women, 136 men at the Chinese University in Hong Kong. The CTS was used to assess students’ evaluation of their parents responses during family conflict. 14% of students reported that their parents engaged in physical violence. "Mothers were as likely as fathers to use actual physical force toward their spouses.")
Thompson Jr., E. H. (1990). Courtship violence and the male role. Men’s Studies Review, 7, (3) 1, 4-13. (Subjects were 336 undergraduates <167 men, 169 women who completed a modified version of the CTS. Found that 24.6% of men compared to 28.4% of women expressed physical violence toward their dating partners within the past two years. Found that women were twice as likely as men to slap their partners.)
Thompson Jr., E. H. (1991). The maleness of violence in data relationships: an appraisal of stereotypes. Sex Roles, 24, 261-278. (In a more extensive presentation of his 1990 article, the author concludes that, "a more masculine and/or less feminine gender orientation and variations in relationship seriousness proved to be the two strongest predictors of both men’s and women’s involvement in courtship violence.")
Tyree, A., & Malone, J. (1991). How can it be that wives hit husbands as much as husbands hit wives and none of us knew it? Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association. (Reviews the literature and discusses results from their study attempting to predict spousal violence. Found that women’s violence is correlated with a history of hitting siblings and a desire to improve contact with partners.)
Vivian, D., & Langhinrichsen-Rohling, J. (1996). Are bi-directionally violent couples mutually victimized? In L. K. Hamberger & C. Renzetti (Eds.) Domestic partner abuse (pp. 23-52). New York: Springer. (Authors found using a modified version of the CTS, that in a sample of 57 mutually aggressive couples, there were no significant differences between husbands’ and wives’ reports concerning the frequency and severity of assault victimization. With regard to injuries, 32 wives and 25 husbands reported the presence of a physical injury which resulted from partner aggression.)
White, J. W., & Humphrey, (1994). Women’s aggression in heterosexual conflicts. Aggressive Behavior, 20, 195-202. (Eight hundred and twenty nine women <representing 84% of entering class of women 17 and 18 years old, entering the university for the first time completed the CTS and other assessment instruments. Results reveal that 51.5% of subjects used physical aggression at least once in their prior dating relationships and, in the past year, 30.2% reported physically aggressing against their male partners. Past use of physical aggression was the best predictor of current aggression. The witnessing and experiencing of parental aggression also predicted present aggression.)
White, J. W., & Kowalski, R. M. (1994). Deconstructing the myth of the nonaggressive woman: A feminist analysis. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 18, 487-508. (A review and analysis which acknowledges that "women equal or exceed men in number of reported aggressive acts committed within the family." Examines a variety of explanations to account for such aggression.)
White, J. W., & Koss, M. P. (1991). Courtship violence: Incidence in a national sample of higher education students. Violence and Victims, 6, 247-256. (In a representative sample of 2,603 women and 2,105 men it was found that 37% of the men and 35% of women inflicted some form of physical aggression, while 39% of the men and 32% of the women received some form of physical aggression.)
© by Martin S. Fiebert, PhD
© 1997 by Sally L. Satel, M.D.
Psychiatrist and lecturer at the Yale School of Medicine
Reprinted from The Women's Quarterly (ISSN:1079-6622)
published by the Independent Women's Forum.
Summer 1997 - Number 12
Let’s call him "Joe Six Pack." Every Saturday night, he drinks way too much, cranks up the rock ‘n roll way too loud, and smacks his girlfriend for acting just a bit too lippy. Or let’s call him "Mr. Pillar of the Community." He’s got the perfect wife, the perfect kids. But he’s also got one little problem: every time he argues with his wife, he loses control. In the past year, she’s been sent to the emergency ward twice. Or let’s say they’re the Tenants from Hell. They’re always yelling at each other. Finally a neighbor calls the police.
Here is the question. Are the men in these scenarios:
a) in need of help;
b) in need of being locked up; or
c) upholders of the patriarchy?
Most people would likely say a) or b) or perhaps both. In fact, however, c) is the answer that more and more of the agencies that deal with domestic violence—including the courts, social workers, and therapists—now give. Increasingly, public officials are buying into Gloria Steinem’s assertion that "the patriarchy requires violence or the subliminal threat of violence in order to maintain itself." They are deciding that the perpetrators of domestic violence don’t so much need to be punished, or even really counseled, but instead indoctrinated in what are called "profeminist" treatment programs. And they are spending tax dollars to pay for these programs.
A portion of the money for the re-education of batterers comes from Washington, courtesy of the 1994 Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). To obtain passage of VAWA, feminist organizations like the National Organization for Women and even secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala, pelted legislators with facts and figures: "The leading cause of birth defects is battery during pregnancy." "In emergency rooms, twenty to thirty percent of women arrive because of physical abuse by their partner." "Family violence has killed more women in the last five years than Americans killed in the Viet Nam War." Happily, these alarming factoids aren’t true. But the feminist advocacy groups were able to create new bogus statistics faster than the experts were able to shoot the old ones down. And some of the untruths—like the fiction that wife-beating soars on Super Bowl Sunday—have become American myths as durable as the story of young George Washington chopping down the cherry tree.
Still, the problem of domestic violence, even if grossly exaggerated, is horrific enough. So Congress generously authorized $1.6 billion to fund VAWA. Few taxpayers would begrudge this outlay if it actually resulted in the protection of women. But instead there is increasing evidence that the money is being used to further an ideological war against men—one that puts many women at even greater risk. The feminist theory of domestic abuse, like the feminist theory of rape, holds that all men have the same innate propensity to violence against women: your brother and my boyfriend are deep down every bit as bad as Joel Steinberg. Men who abuse their mates, the theory goes, act violently not because they as individuals can’t control their impulses, and not because they are thugs or drunks or particularly troubled people. Domestic abuse, in feminist eyes, is an essential element of the vast male conspiracy to suppress and subordinate women. In other words, the real culprit in a case of domestic violence is not a violent individual man, it is the patriarchy. To stop a man from abusing women, he must be taught to see the errors of the patriarchy and to renounce them.
Thus, a position paper by the Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women’s Network explains: "Battering is a fulfillment of a cultural expectation, not a deviant or sick behavior." Thus, too, the Seattle-based psychologist Laura Brown, a prominent feminist practitioner, argues that feminist psychotherapy is an "opportunity to help patients see the relationship between their behavior and the patriarchal society in which we are all embedded."
As well, feminists have stretched the definition of abuse to include acts of lying, humiliation, withholding information, and refusing help with child care or housework, under the term "psychological battery." A checklist from a brochure of the Westchester Coalition of Family Violence agencies tells women if their partner behaves in one or more of the following ways, including "an overprotective manner," "turns minor incidents into major arguments," or "insults you," then "you might be abused."
With money provided by VAWA, this view has come to pervade the bureaucracies created to combat domestic violence. In at least a dozen states, including Massachusetts, Colorado, Florida, Washington, and Texas, state guidelines effectively preclude any treatment other than feminist therapy for domestic batterers. Another dozen states, among them Maine and Illinois, are now drafting similar guidelines. These guidelines explicitly prohibit social workers and clinicians from offering therapies that attempt to deal with domestic abuse as a problem between a couple unless the man has undergone profeminist treatment first. Profeminists emphatically reject joint counseling, the traditional approach to marital conflict. Joint counseling and other couples-based treatments violate the feminist certainty that it is men who are always and solely responsible for domestic violence: any attempt to involve the batterer’s mate in treatment amounts to "blaming the victim."
The dogma that women never provoke, incite, or aggravate domestic conflict, further, has led to some startling departures in domestic law. Hundreds of jurisdictions have adopted what are called "must-arrest" policies: that is, when local police are called to a scene of reported domestic abuse, they must arrest one partner (almost always the man) even if, by the time the authorities arrive, the incident has cooled off and there is no sign of violence, and even if (as is often the case) the woman doesn’t want the man arrested. Many of these same jurisdictions have also enacted "no-drop" policies—meaning that if a woman does press charges, she will not be permitted to change her mind and drop them later. Under VAWA, $33 million will be spent this year on the "Grants to Encourage Arrest" program, which uses federal money to induce localities to adopt must-arrest policies. Next year, the budget of the "Grants to Encourage Arrest" program will jump to $59 million.
Of course, it’s hard to feel sorry for men charged with abuse. And there is a satisfying, frontier-justice aspect to the feminist treatment programs: what better punishment for a loutish man than to make him endure hours of feminist lecturing? The trouble is, domestic violence—as these same feminists constantly remind us—is no joke. And there are virtually no convincing data that this feminist approach to male violence is effective.
Indeed, the paternalistic intrusiveness that characterizes so much of feminist domestic violence policy frequently has the unintended consequence of harming the very women it was meant to protect. Judge William S. Cannon, who has handled thousands of domestic violence cases through South Bay (San Diego) Family Court, finds that "about eighty percent of the couples we see in court end up staying together." Nonetheless, the California legislature has made it mandatory for judges to issue a restraining order separating the parties in all domestic violence cases. "It’s ridiculous," the judge says of this mandatory separation, "each situation is different." Sometimes a woman doesn’t want the separation, particularly if the threat from her husband is mild. "If the woman feels relatively safe, she might well rather have her kids’ father home with the family," Judge Cannon says. In California, however, this option is no longer open to women. As Judge Cannon says, "We treat women as brainless individuals who are unable to make choices. If a woman wants a restraining order, she can ask us for it."
Persuading victims of domestic violence that they need no psychological help or are never to blame can also backfire, because it pushes many women away from seeking counseling that they plainly need. A prosecutor from Southern California, who preferred not to be identified, told me that many of the women he refers to treatment reject his advice. "They’re influenced by the prevailing view in the advocate community that tells them they don’t need help. Meanwhile, I’m accused of blaming the victim," the prosecutor says. Some of these women return to husbands who injure or even kill them, when a therapist might have helped them find the strength to stay away. Others end up doing the killing themselves, a tragedy that has happened "more than once on my watch," the prosecutor said. The defense attorneys then claim that the wife is "a victim of battered woman syndrome. They’ll say the system failed her because she was never referred for professional help."
It is likewise far from clear that must-arrest policies help victims of domestic abuse. Several studies—including one by Lawrence W. Sherman of the University of Maryland, whose early study on mandatory arrest in a single midwestern city actually gave rise to the program’s popularity—suggest that mandatory arrest can escalate spousal violence in some men by further enraging them, and causing them to seek revenge on their lovers once they are released from jail.
But the implicit goal of feminist treatment and legal responses is to separate women from their abusive partners—no matter what the circumstances, and no matter how fervently the women wish otherwise. Many shelter counselors interviewed by Kimberle Crenshaw of the UCLA School of Law believe that a batterer is incapable of breaking the cycle of abuse and the woman’s only hope of safety is to leave the relationship. In a New York Times Magazine story about spousal abuse, writer Jan Hoffman summed up the advice of Ellen Pence, founder of the much-replicated Duluth Abuse Intervention Program and a staunch believer that all batterers are gripped by a hatred of women: "Ellen Pence’s advice to women in battering relationships is simply this: Leave. Leave because even the best of programs, even Duluth’s, cannot ensure that a violent man will change his ways."
Not very encouraging words from a nationally regarded expert. Perhaps if feminist treatment of domestic violence recognized some cold truths about women and intimate violence, success rates might improve.
For example, contrary to the prevailing view of battered women as weak, helpless, and confused, professor Jacquelyn Campbell reported in 1994 in the Journal of Family Violence, that the majority of battered women do take steps to end the abuse in their relationships. In truth, the average abused woman is not Hedda Nussbaum (the obsessed lover of psychopath Joel Steinberg). The sad facts, as discussed by Christine Littleton in the 1993 book Family Matters: Readings on Family Lives and the Law, are that many "women who stay in battering relationships accurately perceive the risks of remaining, accurately perceive the risks of leaving, and choose to stay either because the risks of leaving outweigh those of staying or because they are trying to rescue something beyond themselves"—such as their family.
And here is the cruelest failure of profeminist therapy. Since many victims of domestic abuse do want to hold their families together, and since they are trying to weigh the risks of staying with an abusive mate, it does them an enormous disservice to put a dangerous man through a program that cannot fulfill its promise to cure him. "The woman thinks to herself, ‘Well, now he’s changed,’ so she goes back to him and drops her guard. Sometimes with devastating effects," says Dr. Richard J. Gelles, of the University of Rhode Island’s Family Violence Research Program, a pioneer researcher in domestic violence. [Dr. Gellis is now Joanne T. and Raymond B. Welsh Chair of Child Welfare and Family Violence, University of Pennsylvania School of Social Work.] Professor Richard M. McFall, an expert on marital violence with Indiana University, observes that "typically, the man comes out of a useless mandated treatment program no less violent than when he went in, but now he’s got a clean bill of psychological health."
Furthermore, the woman herself can be swept into the vortex of misguided efforts prescribed by feminists. While her partner is being reprogrammed to challenge his sexist assumptions, the wives are often sent to feminist support groups. Valerie T., a patient of Dr. Virginia Goldner, a couples therapist at New York’s Ackerman Institute for the Family, attended such a group. "Valerie came back and told me she’d felt worse about herself ever since joining the group because ‘everyone was supposed to hate the men and want to leave them,’" said Goldner. Cathy Young, author of the forthcoming book, Ceasefire: Why Women and Men Must Join Forces to Achieve True Equality, says, "Oftentimes the sole qualification to work with battered women is to be one yourself and, of course, to have an abiding hatred of men." In the course of her research, she said, "I remember Renee Ward, director of a Minneapolis shelter, telling me how the advocates’ own unresolved anger at men made it very difficult for them to be helpful to the clients, most of whom very much wanted to be in relationships. But it was unthinkable to ever discuss this tension."
Many advocates are also apparently so blinded by ideology that they are unable to draw distinctions between types of abusers. Some men, for example, are first-time offenders, others are brutal recidivists, others attack rarely but harshly, others frequently but less severely, and many are alcoholics. Such a heterogeneous population cannot be treated with a one-size-fits-all approach. Amy Holtzworth-Munroe, an associate professor of psychology at Indiana University, says, "states are basing rigid treatment policy on rhetoric and ideology, not data."
Take the case of "Don," a senior administrator at a southern university. Arrested once for slapping his wife (they are still together), Don was required to attend a Duluth-model program. About fifteen men sat for three hours on ten consecutive Wednesday nights in a classroom headed by two counselors. "The message was clear," Don told me, "whatever she does to you is your fault, whatever you do to her is your fault. It would have been a lot more helpful if they taught us to recognize when we felt ourselves being driven into positions where we lash out. The message should have been ‘recognize it, deal with it, and quit hitting.’ But all they gave us to work with was guilt." According to Don, "bathroom and cigarette breaks were filled with comments about the whole thing being stupid. In the sessions, group discussions among participants were not allowed to develop—maybe the leaders were afraid we’d unite and challenge their propaganda." Rather than improve their relationships, Don felt the therapy only helped to increase polarization between men and women. "Wives went to support groups and we went to our groups."
Complementing these biases was an equally great omission: the role of alcohol in domestic violence. Though studies show a persistent correlation between intoxication and aggression in families, Don’s group leaders were adamant that alcohol was never a cause of violence. Don claimed, however, that "every man in the room had been drinking when he was arrested." Booze, of course, is never an acceptable excuse for bad behavior, but there’s no question that alcohol pushes some people into violence. Feminist theory downplays the relevance of alcohol abuse, and as a particularly foolish result in Don’s program, failed to make sobriety a condition of the treatment for domestic batterers.
Glenna Auxiera, a divorce resolution counselor in Gainesville, Florida, attended a training course on male batterers sponsored by the Duluth Abuse Intervention Program. She reports being "stunned" by what she heard. "The course leaders were fixated on male-bashing," Auxiera says. "I was a battered woman, too, and I see the part I played in the drama of my relationship. Hitting is wrong. Period. But a relationship is a dynamic interaction and if both want to change, counselors should work with them."
But this, of course, is precisely what state guidelines in nearly half the country now or will soon prohibit as the first course of treatment. They would outlaw, for instance, the kind of help that saved the decade-long marriage of a midwestern couple we’ll call "Steve and Lois M." Mr. and Mrs. M. were regarded by their community as a model couple. Mr. M. was in fact a high-profile businessman. But two or three times a year, he turned violent. After their last fight, in which he gave Mrs. M. a fractured arm, she gave him an ultimatum: unless he went with her to marriage therapy, she would take their nine-year-old son and leave. He agreed, and the couple saw Eve Lipchik, a Milwaukee, Wisconsin expert in family therapy. "One can still deplore the aggression and be an advocate for the relationship when two people want to stay together and are motivated to make changes in the relationship," says Lipchik. "It’s too easy to stuff people into boxes labeled villains and victims."
Mrs. M. did not feel "blamed" when she and her husband saw Lipchik together for four months with follow-up sessions at six and eighteen months. She got what she most wanted: her marriage saved and the violence ended. Of course, the happy ending of the story of Mr. and Mrs. M. does not necessarily await every combative couple: spousal assault is a difficult behavior to change. But with a good therapist, difficult change is not impossible. Richard Heyman, of the State University of New York at Stony Brook, found that group conjoint therapy (several couples treated together) produced a significant reduction in both psychological and physical aggression immediately following treatment and one year later. This applied when the couple was intact, the degree of violence not severe, and the couple acknowledged that aggression was a problem, and often a mutual one.
Of course, joint-therapy is not for everyone. It may even be outright dangerous when the man causes frequent injury or when the woman is afraid of him. Not only will the woman be hesitant to tell the truth in counseling sessions, but her husband might well retaliate for disclosures she makes to the counselor. A woman in such a situation is at real risk and must protect herself though she may find it hard—psychologically and physically—to pull away. For her, writes Dr. Virginia Goldner, "the ideological purity and righteous indignation of the battered woman’s movement is all that protects her from being pulled back into the swamp of abuse." Maybe so, but more often the violence is less intense and, as psychologist Judith Shervin writes, "men and women are bound in their dance of mutual destructiveness.... Women must share responsibility for their behavior and contributions to domestic violence."
These contributions are far bigger than feminists are willing to admit. According to the landmark 1980 book, Behind Closed Doors: Violence in the American Family by Murray A. Straus, Richard J. Gelles, and Suzanne K. Steinmetz, about twelve percent of couples engage in physical aggression. Severe violence such as punching, biting, kicking, or using a weapon is as likely to be committed by wives as husbands—at a rate of about one in twenty for both sexes. Rates of less severe assault such as pushing and grabbing are also comparable, about one in thirteen for both men and women.
At first glance, these data don’t seem consistent with those of the Department of Justice’s statistics. Its 1994 National Crime Victimization Survey stated that "women were about six times more likely than men to experience violence by an intimate." But this merely reflects the fact that women, unlike men, are rarely violent outside the home. Sometimes their aggression is in self-defense. A 1995 DOJ report showed that wives committed forty-one percent of all spousal murders in 1988 (the year covered in the report). However, eighty-one percent of the accused wives, compared to ninety-four percent of the accused husbands, were convicted of homicide. The lower conviction rate for wives, the report said, reflected the fact that they were more likely to have killed in self-defense. Even so, the sentences varied dramatically: wives received average prison sentences of six years, husbands sixteen and a half years.
But self-defense doesn’t explain all female-on-male aggression. The National Family Violence Survey, developed by Straus and Gelles and funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, is a widely respected assessment that taps a representative sample of married and cohabiting couples. The researchers interviewed thousands of couples in 1975, 1985, and 1992. Extrapolating from their 1985 survey of more than six thousand couples, the authors estimate that 1.8 million females are the victims of severe domestic violence each year (with injuries suffered by one in ten), but so were about 2.1 million men. The rates of male-on-female aggression declined between 1975 and 1992 while female-on-male stayed constant. The surveys also revealed that women suffered actual injury at about seven times the rate of men but that they used weapons such as baseball bats, boiling water, and knives (among other things) to make up for their physical disadvantage. Many of these women freely admitted on the survey that their use of weapons was not in self-defense.
Actually, when it comes to the murder of intimates, as criminologist Coramae Richey Mann documented in her 1996 study of female killers, When Women Kill, murderesses are seldom helpless angels: seventy-eight percent of the women in Mann’s study had prior arrest records and fifty-five percent a history of violence. Lately, Straus has been revising his views. "I [once] explained the high rate of attacks by wives largely as a response to or as a defense against assault by the partner. However, new evidence raises questions about that interpretation," he wrote in his contribution to the 1996 book, Domestic Violence.
After reviewing the available research, Straus concludes that twenty-five to thirty percent of violent married and cohabiting couples are violent solely because of attacks by the wife. About twenty-five percent of violence between couples is initiated by men. The remaining half is classified as mutual. This is true whether the analysis is based on all assaults or only potentially injurious and life-threatening ones. (These findings are corroborated by other studies, including the 1991 Los Angeles Epidemiology Catchment Area study, and the 1990 National Survey of Households and Families.)
In fact, among America’s rapidly growing population of elderly couples, violence by women appears more common than violence by men. A well-regarded 1988 Boston survey by Karl Pillemer and David Finkelhor found that wives were more than twice as likely to assault an elderly husband as vice versa.
Anyone still inclined to blame domestic violence on the patriarchy and male aggression ought to take a look at the statistics on violence against children. A just-released report from the Department of Health and Human Services, "Child Maltreatment in the United States," finds that women aged twenty to forty-nine are almost twice as likely as males to be "perpetrators of child maltreatment." According to a 1994 Department of Justice report, mothers are responsible in fifty-five percent of cases in which children are killed by their parents. The National Center on Child Abuse Prevention attributes fifty percent of the child abuse fatalities that occurred between 1986 and 1993 to the natural mother, twenty-three percent to the natural father, and twenty-seven percent to boyfriends and others.
Finally, consider domestic aggression within lesbian couples. If feminists are right, shouldn’t these matches be exempt from the sex-driven power struggles that plague heterosexual couples? Instead, according to Jeanie Morrow, director of the Lesbian Domestic Violence Program at W.O.M.A.N., Inc. in San Francisco, physical abuse between lesbian partners is at least as serious a problem as it is among heterosexuals. The Battered Women’s Justice Project in Minneapolis, a clearinghouse for statistics, confirms this. "Most evidence suggests that lesbians and heterosexuals are comparably aggressive in their relationships," said spokeswoman Susan Gibel.
Some survey studies have actually suggested a higher incidence of violence among lesbian partners, but it’s impossible to know for certain since there’s no reliable baseline count of lesbian couples in the population at large. According to Morrow, the lesbian community has been reluctant to acknowledge intimate violence within its ranks—after all, this would endanger the all-purpose, battering-as-a-consequence-of-male-privilege explanation. Morrow’s program treats about three hundred women a year but she wonders how many more need help. Because they are "doubly closeted," as Morrow puts it, women who are both gay and abused may be especially reluctant to use services or report assaults to the police.
Like so many projects of the feminist agenda, the battered women’s movement has outlived its useful beginnings, which was to help women leave violent relationships and persuade the legal system to take domestic abuse more seriously. Now they have brought us to a point at which a single complaint touches off an irreversible cascade of useless and often destructive legal and therapeutic events. This could well have a chilling effect upon victims of real violence, who may be reluctant to file police reports or to seek help if it subjects them to further battery from the authorities. And it certainly won’t help violent men if they emerge from so-called treatment programs no more enlightened but certainly more angry, more resentful, and as dangerous as ever.
Aggression is a deeply personal and complex behavior, not a social defect expressed through the actions of men. Yet to feminists, it can only be the sound of one hand slapping: the man’s. So long as this view prevails, we won’t be helping the real victims; indeed, we will only be exposing them to more danger.
Sam and Bunny:
I very much appreciate your update. Your work is very important in the never ending battle for fairness
among the sexes in our Courts. These reports are so packed with data and information, that they simply
cannot be disputed.
Robert SpeerAttorney Atlanta, GA
Dear Sam & Bunny
The info you provide is compelling. This is particularly so to one such as I who, as an ex-cop, recognizes the under-reporting of "female on male" violence as a consequence of "macho image protection." Similarly, husbands were (as I remember my limited experiences) more inclined to claim "innocent" causes of injuries to children when they had been committed by the wife than was the case when the situation was reversed and the batterer was the husband.
Keep up the good work.
high school teacher./ex-cop
Dear Sam and Bunny
I absolutely loved your M.A.L.E. web page!! It is positively the greatest thing on the internet today.
As a white male, I have been portrayed as the root of all evil. I was responsible for the war in Vietnam. I was responsible for the plight of blacks and other people of color. I was to blame for the miseries of women. I alone, bore the burden of polluting the planet.
While all this was going on, I was working as many jobs as I could so that I could go full time to college. I got married and worked 60+ hours a week just to keep our heads above water. I don’t ever remember oppressing anyone. I was too busy working and studying to do that. I could never figure out why I was the bad guy, when I was working so hard to keep a wife, a child, and myself out of poverty.
While it is true I will never be a woman, I have a wife. I have a mother. I have sisters. I have many friends who are women. I work with lots of women. I do not have a daughter but if I did, I would love her very much. To suggest that women’s issues are not important to me (such as breast cancer) is to be extremely misleading. I want my wife and the women in my life to be treated with respect. I want them to have equal pay for equal work and a turn at bat.
But unfortunately, there seems to be some groups out there who insist upon portraying women as victims. Who seem intent on portraying men and women as enemies. But as long as there are courageous, truth telling Americans, such as yourself, the world will be a better place.
You can bet I will pass this information on to my sociology students.
Many thanks, sincerely
Prof. of Sociology
Note from a professional who is doing "family friendly" domestic violence counseling
Subject: Domestic Violence Programs and Native Americans - Not PC Enough
It is extremely refreshing to see a balance reached in the field of domestic abuse, i.e., that violence is more or less equal between men and women.
I operate a Domestic Violence program for couples only (Native in orientation and philosophy) in Terrace, B.C. Out of 126 people involved in our program we found the violence to be mutual both in degree and numbers. We have also faced serious opposition from a small but vocal group of non-native women over the last five years.
We have found that it is almost impossible to attain funding for our native programs because our traditional values towards families are not politically correct, i.e., they are family orientated. Our solutions to family violence are based on both people taking full responsibility for their behaviour, and not to fall into the "Blame Game."
Unfortunately, current non-native approaches to family violence appear to be based on male-bashing, rather than healing relationships between people. We estimate that we have had about a 95% success rate to date. We do continuous follow-ups with our couples.
First of all, I'm sorry for my bad English...
I have received your article "Facts About Domestic Violence You Will Not See In The Media"; thank you!
I have published your article on the pages of my family law internet magazine, and it was liked to many readers.
I like also receive other your articles, for the same matter.
Italian Family Law Attorney
Dear Sam & Bunny
I couldn’t have said it better myself.... I have a male friend who has been fighting a domestic violence charge for almost 2 years. (Let met state here that I have never considered myself a feminist, for the very reasons stated in your article. Equality I believe, but not unfair advantage) It wasn’t until my friend shared his current dilemma that I realized how unjust and unfair and biased our entire society has become. He has personally seen documentation of the anti male bias in domestic court. His rights have been repeatedly violated. Everyone assumes that he must be guilty...he’s a man, of course.
He has a vast amount of documentation in favor of his innocence and proof of numerous injustices by law enforcement, the courts and judicial system.
We would love to speak to you in more detail. And, we are extremely interested in any solutions, suggestions or assistance you, or others like you might be able to offer.
Please respond quickly.
Real Estate Agent in California
Dear Best Self USA
Though I can imagine the vitriolic responses you’re getting, I appreciate receiving your message. While I don’t have the knowledge to assess its accuracy, I don’t doubt that it is factual. I run one of the web’s major legal info site, The Lectric Law Library, with 12,000+ hits a day and would like to post the message in appropriate areas of the Library.
Is this OK? If so, is it OK to leave your names/e-mail address intact, or would you prefer to remain anonymous?
"Best legal resource that we have come across on the Web" - CNN
"The most complete law library on the Web" - Point
Dear Best Self Clinic,
I am the editor of the Family Law REPORTER published by a leading legal
publisher, "Butterworths". This publication is a monthly digest of case law and
commentary. Its subscribers exceed 400 and are largely Canadian family
law practitioners and judges and a number of adjunct helping professionals.
(court appointed clinical assessors etc.) County libraries and law schools subscribe as well. I would like to consider publishing your "Facts About Domestic Violence You Will Not See...". Please let me know if I have your authority to do so. We can not offer any remuneration, nor have we at any time in the past for any of the commentaries or monographs that are prepared and published. Thank you.
Family Law Journal Editor
Thank you very much for your report. I represent many men accused of family violence and victimized by the very misunderstanding you are trying to correct.
Thank you for sharing the research with me. You must have read my column on alleged gender bias in schools. Did you see it in the xxxxxx Sun or in the xxxxxx News? It’s interesting that Ms. Sommers in Canada has the same name as Professor Christina Hoff Sommers, from whose book "Who Stole Feminism" I got most of my data for the column. Christina Sommers is a professor of philosophy at Clark University in Massachusetts. If you haven’t read her book, I recommend you check it out. It points out much of the same kinds contradictions mentioned in the research you sent.
Dear Sam & Bunny,
Thank you for the information on Domestic Violence. I found your research thought-provoking and informative. Your viewpoint is very interesting, and I will take the information provided in serious consideration when dealing with this very important issue.
Prosecuting Attorney Michigan
Dear Sam & Bunny Sewell,
I saw your article in The ‘Lectric Law Library™ -- http://www.lectlaw.com—and I wonder if you could help with a project that is going here in Canada.
There is a group called NAANCP (National Association for the Advancement of Non-Custodial Parents) that is trying to organize statistical information on family issues. I would like to forward your material to them, especially if you have a fully-cited version.
A "Father’s Shelter" for abused dads and kids is an initiative we are considering in the group that I represent (HEART), so we have a natural interest in the scholarly case.
I don’t know where you are geographically, but cooperation may be possible, regardless.
Thanks for your article.
Dear Mr. and Ms. Sewell:
I finally completed my reading of your information. Thank you again for sending me the two e-mails about anti-male bias. You’ve done a great job of compiling relevant data and opinions. I sent e-mail to the Compuserve address at the tail end of the second message. If that’s just another one of your addresses, please excuse any redundancy, but I do want you to know that I support your efforts to get out these facts. For too long, the militant feminists have held sway in the so-called Truth department, and the point made about young males growing up into a self-image of being part of a legacy of shameful behavior toward women is right on the money. I watched that happen with my own older son (now 18).
Dear Sam & Bunny
Thanks for your interesting take on the domestic violence situation. As a news organization with a large number of students in family housing, UHN takes note of situations which can affect those students. I have forwarded your message to this year’s news director for his consideration as a story idea on UHN’s television newscasts. Thanks again for your input in this situation.
Jackie Steele, Webmaster, UHNter@ctive
Dear Sam & Bunny
Thank you for your e-mail on domestic violence. We
just ran a cover story on crime on campus, and one of the violent crimes
on the rise is domestic violence. I would be interested in receiving a
copy of the full report. Can I just send this e-mail for my request or
do you need us to write to you in Naples? Thanks in advance for your reply,
and I look forward to hearing you soon. Campus Chief of Police, Wilson
Dear Revs. Sewell
Well written. I've added your article at:
Rod Van Mechelen
Publisher: The Backlash! http://www.backlash.com
Dear Sam & Bunny
Thank you for posting your article re domestic violence. I am doing a paper for my English class and your point of view (i.e., that domestic violence is a two-way street) is exactly the point I am trying to demonstrate in an argument paper. One thing I am adding that I have not seen much written about is the connection between children who were abused and abusive spouses. That is, children who are hit in anger (and I don't mean a swat on the bottom) are being taught to do the same when they are older: to hit when they are frustrated or angry. So often I see on TV the very women who are teaching their children to abuse others complaining of domestic abuse. Apparently no one has made enough of a connection to realize what an enormous problem it is (similar to discussing the elephant's tail, not realizing it is connected to the rest of the elephant!). As you might guess, I have seen the connection firsthand, which is why I wanted to thank you for the work you are doing in helping to educate and hopefully stop this in our lifetime. Take care. Student
Your letter is fascinating - although I'm not completely surprised.
I've noticed over the years in my ministry that in family violence cases,
as the discussions progressed, I realized the woman was most often at least
as violent as the man!
I would like to have a copy of the complete report, if you could
get that to me. Clergyman