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The Facts Don't Lie

Women Often The AggressorsA mountain of DV research clearly establishes that women are frequently the aggressors in domestic combat, often employing the element of surprise and weapons to compensate for men's strength.

The most recent large-scale study of domestic violence was published in the American Journal of Public Health last year. The researchers analyzed data concerning 11,370 respondents. According to the researchers, "[H]alf of [violent relationships] were reciprocally violent. In non reciprocally violent relationships, women were the perpetrators in more than 70% of the cases." (This study is illustrated in the diagram at right from the Psychiatric News, 8/3/07).

A quarter of the women surveyed admitted perpetrating violence, and when the violence involved both parties, women were more likely to have been the first to strike.

Such findings are consistent with decades of domestic violence research. The National Institute of Mental Health funded and oversaw two of the largest studies of domestic violence ever conducted, both of which found equal rates of abuse between husbands and wives.

California State Long Beach University professor Martin Fiebert maintains an online bibliography summarizing 219 scholarly investigations, with an aggregate sample size exceeding 220,000, which concludes "women are as physically aggressive, or more aggressive, than men in their relationships with their spouses or male partners."

Nor is this violence trivial. A meta-analytic review of 552 domestic violence studies published in the Psychological Bulletin found that 38% of the physical injuries in heterosexual domestic assaults are suffered by men.

Dr. Jennifer Langhinrichsen-Rohling of the University of South Alabama says that as she and other researchers grappled with this research, "Every time we tried to say that women's intimate partner abuse is different than men's, the evidence did not support it."

According to Dr. Donald Dutton, author of Rethinking Domestic Violence, research shows that domestic violence is actually more common in lesbian relationships than in heterosexual relationships. For example, one study of 1,100 lesbian or bisexual women who are in abusive lesbian relationships found that the women were more likely to have experienced violence in their previous relationships with women than in their previous relationships with men.

Domestic violence service sometimes providers justify their exclusion of male victims by citing crime and/or crime survey statistics which show that most reports of domestic violence are by women. Dr. Dutton explains:

"Domestic violence 'research' has been misleading, in that data has been extracted from crime reports and/or crime victim surveys - in which men underreport more than women - and have been publicized as indicating domestic violence is a gender issue (male-perpetrator/female-victims).

"In fact, when larger surveys with representative samples are examined, perpetration of domestic violence perpetration is slightly more common for females..."

In the column to the right we provide quotes from numerous internationally-respected domestic violence authorities, all of whom, attest that domestic violence is committed by both men and women.

I won custody of my son because my son needed me to!
  -- David A. - Dallas, TX

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