Woman Comparable to Men in Domestic Violence: Stereotypes and their Consequences

Anti-Stigmatization CategoryIt’s very common to hear about violence against women and about male batterers rather than about violence against men and about female batterers. Like it or not, experts that do not cherry pick their data find a fairly even split when the general public is polled in various ways.

Domestic Violence expert John Hamel, LCSW recently addressed this, with abundant research citations, for a book chapter. I will provide, with his permission, his annotations. But why? First, derogatory stereotypes are bad in principle. Second, the stereotypes cause people to downplay or ignore domestic violence and related behaviors by women. Third, funding for shelters and other services for men who are victims of domestic violence is affected. Fourth, men may end up as victims of the justice system when it turns against them because of the stereotypes.

PoliceConsider these two examples:

A volunteer who presents about male victims was presenting to a police department. She had 200 law enforcement personnel present. At the end, she got a police officer to volunteer a call to a shelter, posing as a male victim. He called a hotline for a battered womens program and asked about services for men, explaining that he was experiencing violence at the hands of a female. The hotline worker said, “You should be in jail.” The officer restated that he needed help because his wife was violent. The hotline worker hung up on him.

In a recent article in the San Diego Metro Weekly domestic violence was mentioned in the context of the California Supreme Court ruling in favor of gay marriage, regarding gay divorce. It says,

And, if any violence has preceded the divorce discussions and say… the local gendarmerie is called in, our boys are subject to domestic violence laws, which are stickier by far than if they were single and decided to box each other on the ears.

This not only assumes there is no violence in lesbian relationships, and there certainly is, I’ve seen it, but it also diminishes the seriousness of it by referring to it as boxing the ears.

Hamel’s Review of Research

Now here is a taste of Hamel’s review of the data. Thank you, John!

Straus et al. (1980); Straus & Gelles (1990). Both National Family Violence Surveys, with a combined sample of more than 8,000 respondents, reported comparable gender rates for not only physical assaults, but verbal abuse as well.

Rouse, Breen and Howell (1988). This survey of 130 dating and 130 married students found that women are more likely than men to engage in isolation behaviors, such as “monitors time,” “discourages same-sex friends” and “discourages opposite sex friends.”

Stets (1991). The male and female respondents in this study of dating students reported equivalent rates of controlling behaviors (e.g., “I keep my partner in line,” “I am successful in imposing my will onto my partner”), as well as psychological abuse (e.g., “Said mean things,” “Degraded him/her”).

Kasian & Painter (1992). The authors surveyed a large sample (1,625) university students. Male respondents reported higher rates of received abuse, as measured by a modified version of the Psychological Maltreatment of Women Inventory, for control, jealousy/isolation, verbal abuse and withdrawal of affection. There were no gender differences in rates of received emotional abuse (“diminishment of self-esteem”).

Feder and Henning (2005). In this study of 317 couples dually arrested for IPV (interpersonal violence), most of them African-American, criminal justice data revealed no differences between the partners in injuries inflicted or weapons use. Interview data revealed no differences in physical assault; women were more likely to use a weapon, but to suffer slightly higher rates of injuries (19.6% vs. 15.0%). There were no gender differences in overall psychological abuse or coercive control tactics.

Stacey, Hazelwood & Shupe (1994). Higher rates of victimization than perpetration were reported by the male subjects in this Texas study of men in batterer treatment on four of the thirteen items from the CSR Abuse Index: “deny rights to privacy,” “deny access to family,” “withdraw emotions to punish,” and “withhold sex to punish.” Although the men reported lower rates of victimization than females on the other items, the differences were usually not large (e.g., “deny freedom of activities” was cited by 71% of men and 72% of women; “deny access to friends” was cited by 57% of men and 63% of women, and “censor phone calls” was reported by 53% of men and 60% of women.) One would have expected much larger differences from this population, considering that the men had been arrested and deemed “batterers,” while their female partners were deemed the “victims.”

Tjaden & Thoennes (2000). The National Violence Against Women Survey (NVAWS), drawing on a sample of 16,000 men and women, reported that 0.2% of men are stalked each year by a current or former intimate, and 0.5% of women, a ratio of 2.5 women for each man victimized. In addition, .038% of the men reported to having been raped the previous year. Five times as many women (0.2%) said that this had happened to them.

Spitzberg & Rhea (1999). The authors examined a variety of stalking subtypes, collectively known as obsessive relational intrusion (ORI). Results from their sample of college students in Texas revealed a 54% rate of male-perpetrated ORI’s, versus 46% for females.

Langhinrichsen-Rohling, Palarea, Cohen & Rohling (2000). In this college survey, respondents were asked to report on their own ORI behavior, as well as incidents of victimization. There were no overall gender differences in stalking rates. However, men made more unwanted visits to homes and apartments, whereas women left the greater share of unwanted phone messages. Women were also four times as likely to report having been physically threatened.

Meloy & Boyd (2003). The authors reported on 82 female cases from mental health clinics and some who came to the attention of law enforcement. The women were similar to male stalkers in having a history of failed intimate relationships and having cluster “B” DSM IV personality disorders (not antisocial). They were also similar in that 50% — 75% threatened and 50% — 55% assaulted their victim. But they were different in that they more often carried out threats and caused property damage.

Busby & Compton (1997). A large survey of 3,034 engaged couples reported that 6.1% men and 13.0% women had been sexually pressured by their partner.

O’Sullivan et al. (1998). In this survey of 433 dating university students, 18.5% of the men and 42.5% of women reported to having been sexually coerced by their partner.

Muehlenhard & Cook (1988). This college study revealed that men more often than women engaged in unwanted sexual intercourse, at rates of 63% versus 46%. Being taken advantage of when intoxicated was reported by 30.8% of the men, and 21.0% of the women. Among the men, 13.4% had been verbally coerced, and 11.5% of the women said that this had happened to them. The rates were 5.7% for men subjected to nonviolent coercion (e.g., blocking the door, holding the person down), compared with 5.4% for the women. Coercion involving physical assaults was experienced by 1.4% of the men and 2.7% of the women.

Waldner-Haugrud & Magruder (1995). The authors asked a dating population about a range of coercive sexual behaviors. In the previous year, the men had an average of 2.26 incidents perpetrated upon them, and the women 2.86. Persistent touching was reported by 51% of males and 70% of females. Men were twice as likely to report blackmail (8.5% versus 4.2%); women reported a higher incidence of manipulative guilt (30.1% versus 22.5%). The women were twice as likely as men to be restrained or detained, and more threatened with physical force (6.9% to 6.0%); but three times more men had weapons used against th em (4.5% versus 1.4%).

Coker, Davis, Arias, Desai, Sanderson, Brandt & Smith (2002). A re-examination of data of 16,000 respondents from the National Violence Against Women Survey found lifetime male victimization rates of 10.5% for experienced verbal abuse and jealousy/possessiveness, and 6.8% for power/control, compared to rates of 5.2% and 6.9% for women.

Riggs, O’Leary & Breslin (1990). Found a strong correlation between having a dominant and aggressive personality and IPV for both men and women.

Cano, Avery-Leaf, Cascardi & O’Leary (1998). Found a significant correlation in high school dating study for boys and girls between the use of jealousy and dominance tactics and physical assaults.

Hines & Saudino (2003). Using the Revised Conflict Tactics Scale, this survey of 481 university students found comparable levels of physical aggression between the genders. Women were found to have engaged in higher levels of psychological aggression, and the two types of abuse tended to co-exist.

Graham-Kevan & Archer (2005). Drawing upon a community sample of university students and faculty in Lancashire, England, the authors found rates of 13% for female intimate terrorists and 9% for male intimate terrorists, based upon the same criteria as used by Michael Johnson (a combination of physical violence, control, and psychological abuse).

Laroche (2005), and Graham-Kevan (2007). Laroche analyzed a massive Canadian study, the 1999 GSS, involving 25,876 respondents. Respondents were asked about their victimization by a current or previous spouse in the past 5 years. In addition to questions on physical assaults, the survey also asked respondents about victimization from the following psychologically abusive and controlling behaviors by their partner, similar to those in the Duluth Power and Control Wheel: “Limits your contact with family or friends,” “puts you down or calls you names to make you feel bad,” “is jealous and doesn’t want you to talk to other men/women,” “harms or threatens to harm someone close to you,” demands to know who you are with and where you are at all times,” “damages or destroys your possessions or property,” and “prevents you from knowing about or having access to the family income, even if you ask.” For the five year period prior to the study, approximately 3% of the surveyed women, and 2% of the men, were counted as victims of severe intimate terrorism (IT) – defined as having experienced severe and frequent physical violence and high levels of psychological abuse and control, and who would fit Ehrensaft et al.’s “clinical abuse cases” from injuries sustained, fear expressed, and use of police and other services. Graham-Kevan analyzed the results of the same survey, except that she focused on abuse reported for the past year only, and found very comparable rates of intimate terrorism between the genders. This is a remarkable finding, considering the study’s methodology (akin to the NVAWS in t hat its questionnaire framed IPV in terms of personal safety rather than conflict, thus suppressing male victimization rates) and “the inadequate assessment of controlling behaviors suffered by men” (Laroche, 2005, p. 11).

Felson & Outlaw (2007). An analysis of data originally obtained through the NVAWS with a sample of over 15,000 currently married or formerly married adults found that: (1) women are just as controlling and jealous towards their male partners as other way around; (2) the relationship between use of control/jealousy and physical violence exists equally for both male and female respondents; (3) “Intimate terrorists” can be either male or female. (Controlling/ jealous behaviors defined as: “Prevents you from knowing about or having access to family income even when you ask”; “Prevents you from working outside the home”; “Insists on knowing who you are with at all times”; Insists on changing residences even when you don’t want or need to”; “Tries to limit your contact with family and friends.”) Regarding the extent to which men and women engage in “intimate terrorism,” the authors write: “Both husbands and wives who are controlling are more likely to produce injury and engage in repeated violence. Similar effects are observed for jealousy, although not all are statistically significant. The seriousness of the violence is apparently associated with motive, although the relationship does not depend on gender” (p. 404). It should be pointed out that the National Violence Against Women Survey was designed, conducted and analyzed by feminist researchers, who sought to prove that violence against female intimate partners is much more serious than violence against male intimate partners.

Straus (2006). 7.6% of the male respondents and 10.6% of the female respondents interviewed in the International Dating Violence Survey (sample of 13,601 university students in 32 countries) reported having perpetrated severe assaults, and both partners were found to be violent in 68.6% of the cases. Based on 9 items related to dominance on the PRP (e.g., “my partner needs to remember that I am in charge”), the survey found overall dominance scores to be equal across gender, although higher dominance scores were found for women in 24 of 32 countries. It was also found that dominance by either partner increases the probability of severe violence, and that dominance by females increases risk of severe female-only or mutual IPV more than does male dominance.

  • KD

    This guy Hamel sounds like a male supremacist. His idea of being equal is to cast blame onto women who are the victims 90% of the time. He does bogus studies to attempt to undermine protection for women and children. Anyone with common sense should be able to tell he wants to make a living by catering to excusing abusers, a very profitable career in this surge of fatherhood supremacy. His ideas need to be thrown out for the junk they are, just like the ideas of the other pro-abuse, pro-pedophilia theories that these sick people use against battered mothers and abused children.

  • LE

    Gee, I count 23 studies cited. None authored by John Hamel. I saw nothing cited as “pro-abuse” or “pro-pedophilia”.

    You forgot to call him a misogynist too.

  • It’s interesting.

    I do personally know of incidents of domestic violence to males by females.

    As to the studies cited. I think one problem is the definition of domestic violence. Most of us think of domestic violence as physical assault, the studies tend to include psychological abuse. If women suffer more physical violence and men psychological abuse are these comparable? This is a very difficult issue.

    Another problem is that many of the studies are about dating behaviour by college students, hardly representative of society (or of most of the domestic violence experienced I would have thought). And I’m not sure stalking should be included as part of domestic violence either.

    A further problem is choosing some items from an inventory. It is not reported what the other scores were. Eg if men suffer say 10% more verbal abuse, what if women suffer 90% more physical abuse? I think we need to know the scores for all the items on the inventories.

    So, for me, I don’t need convincing that women can be violent to men. But this collection of statistics leaves me with the feeling that the stats are being used to make a point rather than an adequate survey of domestic violence in our society. I’m sad and disappointed by this: it may get in the way of this issue getting the attention that it deserves.

    I’m grateful that domestic violence against men is being put on the agenda but I’m rather wary of some of the men’s groups (some – not all – seem dedicated to patriarchy and machismo: both of which I find repellent).

    I do think we need services to cater to male victims too.

  • Peter Tromp

    Yes, apart from the utterly boring comments of the two politically correct misandrist anonimists KD and LE above, it is interesting. Not mentioned yet in the article but most revieling is also that mothers 2,5 times more often abuse their children then fathers do.

  • LE

    Apparently I need to turn on the sarcasm tags.

    My point was precisely that any kind of information that surfaces showing that women are just as responsible for this type of thing as men, names and scary terms get tossed out. The only thing KD didn’t accuse him of was misogyny.

    There is no question that we are moving towards a time when being a male is a crime. Next time you see a newspaper story about a teacher caught with a student, compare the criminal results if the teacher is male vs. female. Almost always, man does time, woman walks. Same crime but entirely different sentences.

  • Peter Tromp

    I am with you now LE. Sorry to have misread your comment wrongly as a comment on the excellent article forwarded, instead of as the sarcastically meant comment it really was being directed at PC misandrist KD. It is just that it does get so very boring and tiring to read the tantra’s and propaganda myths from selfrighteous gender racists like KD.

  • Peter Tromp

    Adding to Hamel’s Review of 23 Research Studies by the way there is the far more extensive bibliography by psychologist Martin S. Fiebert from California State University examining “219 scholarly investigations: 170 empirical studies and 49 reviews and/or analyses, which all 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 221,300”.
    It is to be found at http://www.csulb.edu/~mfiebert/assault.htm

  • Peter Tromp

    You are right about the female pedophile teachers. In Europe these female predators in schools and institutions are still not even being prosecuted, send home on sick leave for a couple of weeks and then allowed to stay in their jobs and even allowed to write and publish books about their ‘love for a child’ in which they pose as the adult ‘victim of love’.
    See for example http://child-abuse.blogspot.com/2008/01/5.html

  • Anonymous

    Domestic violence (abuse) encompasses all family violence, i.e., sibling violence, elder abuse, child abuse (perpetrated by a parent) and partner abuse. To include females as perpetrators is not new. Murray Straus, widely recognized as an authority, conducted studies on family violence decades ago. He had no political agenda other than finding answers to questions that had not been adressed by “mainstream” feminist researchers.
    As world citizens we should all seek truth and justice for ALL; treatment for ALL victims and ALL perpetrators regardless of race, age, gender or sexual orientation. Stop squabbling over who does it more.
    The time has finally arrived where we have evolved enough as individuals to stop placing every problem on the doorstep of one gender or another, one race or another, one group or another.
    As a criminal analyst, therapst and board member of SAFE, all the data from the crime index to valid and reliable research indicate that violence is a HUMAN dynamic… not simply a gender dynamic. It is a myth to believe that there is a GOOD gender, race, ethnic group, etc And we should we grown-up enough to stop attacking those whose research we do not like because it does not fit with what we WANT to believe. We will never find truth that way or find justice for all.
    Board member of Stop Abuse For Everyone (SAFE(

  • Peter Tromp

    In the US your police authorities at least do their jobs more properly, but it is your PC justice authorities and criminal judges that lets these female predators get away with it like Debra Beasley Lafave (and many others) did.
    See for sex offender Debra Beasley Lafave:
    DEBRA JEAN BEASLEY on the FDLE Florida Sexual Offender and Predators Register
    Debra Lafave
    – Fox News Search on sex offender Debra Lafave

  • I think that it’s easy for people to dismiss a discussion like this when they believe that women are the “primary victims,” because this allows them to lump all men and all women into collective groups (with only one of them needing assistance). The point of John Hamel’s article, and what these studies reveal, is that because men can be abused, the abuser needs to be prosecuted. If you believe that women suffer more severely or more often than men, then by definition you concede that men do suffer. These studies are crying out for local prosecutors and police to take DV against ANYONE seriously, and to prosecute it, and to reject the feminist notion that female abusers are always “fighting back.” Always? Really? And a male abuser is never fighting back himself? Is it really as black and white as that? Are you apologists for female batterers that absolutist, that you would always excuse EVERY violent women, and never excuse ANY violent man?

    No matter what the ratios — no matter which gender is more victimized than the other — each PARTICULAR person needs the benefit of public services like law enforcement against violent behavior — whoever the perpetrator is. When police arrive on the scene and one victim is standing there bloody or bruised while the other is not, in my opinion it doesn’t matter what the “context” was prior to the physical violence. If the physically violent person thinks they were entitled to do violence because they were “afraid,” then what they should have done is gotten the heck out of there. But do not expect the same out of the victim of the physical violence — the victim has no moral obligation to leave, and should have no safety imperative to leave either. Law enforcement should arrest and prosecute the physical abuser.

  • There is a multitude of research pointing in different directions as to whether men commit more violence to women or the reverse. The stats, at least in Australia, clearly demonstrate that there are much higher male to female rates of domestic violence than the reverse. These stats have to be viewed with some caution, as there is seen to be an element of under-reporting of both male to female and feamle to male domestic violence. This of course does not include same sex domestic violence, which is also greatly under-reported, according to the research.

    In my home state of Queensland, for example, the rate of protection orders being sought and/or obtained for women against men as compared to those sought and/or obtained for men against women is about 9 to 1. There is either an explanation that men are 9 times less likely to report matters and take action (making the amounts about the same) or the rate of domestic violence by men to women at least in my patch is much much higher than the reverse.

    What is most important is that rather than treating people by the numbers, each case when it comes before a court is properly heard and the parties are given a fair hearing, so that the truth can properly be found, without preconceptions of what ought to have happened (as opposed to what actually happened) and so the person who may need protection is able to get it.

  • Anonymous

    Restraining orders are not good indicators of the rate of family violence because in the States, ROs are used to gain custody of children, posession of the home (house) by removing the spouse with a RO; the one removed usually a male (husband and father). For women seeking a divorce, lawyers often recommend RO as a stategy for gaining custody of the children and house. Lawyers know full well that few judges, if any, allow the husband to move back in and gaincustody of the children after the children have been with the mother living in the house for a year following a separation. Women are fast learners and have learned this as well.

    We need RO, but it needs reform for lots of reasons. Primarily because no evidence, other than testimony by the alleged victim is required. This of course is not the standard in ANY other criminal or civil proceeding.

    Few DV shelters allow men or their children to enter, although publically they claim they do

    BIP (batterer intervention programs) also need reform. The prevalanet theory by which BIP’s operate is based on the patriarcy theory which proposes that male violence occurs because of the male’s need for “power and control.” Few BIP include “treatment” for women batterers because those who designed and run the programs believe that if a woman assaulted a man it had to be 1) self defense or 2) that a woman finally snapped after years of abuse. In reality of violent, abusive behavior, the same human psychological dynamic exists regardless of gender.
    Bottom line: BIP patriarcial theory of male violence resulting from ” power and control,” overlook the fact that most crime requires the perpetrator to exert “power and contol” inorder to successfully commit the crime.

    As to the research on DV, there is a body of research indicating that mutual battering occurs 50% of the time. If you look at Department of human services records in ANY state (public records available on the Internet) mothers are most often the majority batterers and abusers of children. And how can patriarcy theory explain lesbian interpartner violence?

    If you look at criminal assaults in general in the US, men perpetrate 75% of assaults, and 75% of victims of assault are male. So in that regard men are more often the perpetrator and more often the victim of violent crime. Looking at assaults of the last few years, however, the number of women perps is increasing while male assaults have dropped. (US crime Index)

    Unfortunately, political agenda, money, the courts and the treatment programs have enabled women perpetrators: the message to violent women is….you may continue the behavior.

    What we have to ask ourselves is this: What is the consequence for children, families, men and WOMEN if we continue down the same path of enabling one group of perpetrators? The good news is…the tide is slowly turning. Those protecting turf instead seeking justice for all, are losing “power and control” of the DV system.

  • Domestic violence isn’t a gender issue – its a human one.

    Society has a whole doesn’t grasp DV even towards women most of time. There are myths and stereotypes all over the place towards this issue. If they can’t grasp the real bottlenecks behind what they are presently doing in regards to what they feel is the ‘real’ victims – what happens to everyone else that can’t seem to acknowledge at all? Everyone loses.

    Men and ladies are raised that it’s okay to grow up with this root of rage within them, and they have every right to gush it all over anyone that pushes their buttons. They get placed in these ‘anger management’ courses, and that doesn’t even touch the root of their issues! LOL and people wonder WHY isn’t not working! I mean DAHHHHH!

    I don’t believe in this women always get a free ride, and men always go to jail opinion either. I have seen to many people of both genders basically get screwed by the court system, and the courts seem to think they don’t need education on this issue. I have seen to many churches tell spouses to either submit more to their husband, or love their wife more as if its some magic pixie dust to make it all better.

    Domestic violence for the most part is this white elephant in the living room, and no one really wants to tackle it. You have some very dedicated people that will fight until their dying days, but unless you can get the world to listen nothing will change.

    That phone call to the DV shelter by the police officer makes me sick! How often do the courts hand over children to those that are known to be violent, because they said THEY haven’t been voilent towards the children YET! This world is in denial, because its not gender that is the victim here. Its everyone.

    I know shelters that will not allow families with boys over a certain age to come within its walls – due to their guidelines – but they find them other places. I also know they do the same for men that call. Thank goodness not all places are as ignorant as that DV place mentioned in the article!

    Unless people live under a rock somewhere they should know that violence is a human issue – not a gender one! It seems denial will always rate higher than any stats that are placed before them. I don’t think the stats will do it personally. LOL I haven’t figure out a better way, but that presentation hasn’t done so well with this issue in the past!

    People that abuse are broken, sad people! They are enabled because of fear, and people not wanting to get involved! You see cases all the time that are plain as the nose on your face what is going on, and yet people do and say the damnest things so they don’t have to deal with it.

    Violence of this sort isn’t going away until the world wishes to deal with it. Whom violates more often, and under what circumstances isn’t going to change a thing. WHen people start asking, “Why do they do that?”, and are willing to really DIVE into that aspect maybe stats on different realms can help to combat this awful issue that they world ignores. Anyone can answer that question with BECAUSE THEY ARE SICK, but whom will go past that part?

    Not to many sadly. They just watch as the cycle continues, and think complaining about it does the trick. Sighhhhh!

  • shivers

    Some observations on those reports: Rouse Breen & Howell, 1988. Women would be more prevalent in those types of behaviours because they are more likely to ask their partners ‘to not spend so much time at the pub’, thus interpreted by the men as their women ‘controlling’ their time and friendships. As for those studies on the university students saying that women and men were equal in their degrading comments, or success at controlling their partners, all this shows is that women are sticking up for themselves. The Meloy & Boyd (2005) reports a high level of Cluster B disorders, which is going to mean a high rate of borderline personality disorder which is majorly defined by self-harming, the fact that anti-social was not found is significant, as anti-social personality disorder is where the psychopaths are categorised, in which statistics of women are unlikely to be found as this PD has an overwhelmingly male population. In the huge Canadian study where researchers found ‘remarkable’ findings of 2% of men and 3% of women (I wonder if it was closer to 2.1% and 3.9%?) anyway, still says that a woman is 1/3 more likely to be a victim of intimate terrorism. IN the Busby and Compton report more than double the amount of women than men have been pressured for sex by their partners. You can put forward all the reports and studies that you want, any reasonable person wouldn’t say that women NEVER commit some form of behaviour that fits within the definitions of IPV anyway, because they do. When women become frustrated they are likely to throw a plate, cup or saucer, or bang him over the head with her handbag, often this frustration comes about because her partner is doing some form of abuse, control or oppressive tactic anyway. But the proof is in the pudding, or rather the hospital and mortuary stats. More women end up in emergency rooms and on the morticians slab than men do, undeniable statistic.

    Social studies just do not support the opinion that women use the courts to get at men, they don’t, it’s an incredibly long-winded and unsuccesful way to get a man if a woman is inclined to do so. And the studies from Canada also state emphatically that it’s the perceptions of the genders about IPV that end up with skewed results in the reports, the men partake in minimising and the women report a heightened sense of fear, PLUS it’s also proven that 98% of the cases that go through the courts are FUNDAMENTALLY valid. And as a by the way, that same figure, 98% goes for abuse reported by children, their reports are proven to be 98% FUNDAMENTALLY valid.

    • MM McGee

      Explain that to my brother, who had 7 stitches in his head after an ex through a coffee mug at him. I suppose you’re saying he must have done something to deserve this?

      And how about my ex-wife, who uses fear of the children’s future (“I want full custody,” “I guess I won’t bring the kids by today”) in arguments about practical matters to threaten and cajole me into agreeing with her POV? And not wanting your guy to spend too much time at the pub is one thing. “Call me when you land, and when you go to bed, and make sure you’re phone’s on so I can reach you any time so I know you’re not cheating on me” is abusive controlling behavior, especially when it’s based on all kinds of spurious assumptions about one’s likely behavior (like “You went to a strip club before we were married, how do I know you’re not going to cheat on me while you’re away at that funeral? How do I know?” “Because I won’t. I’m a dedicated, good husband, and besides, that was before we met.” “How do I know? How do I know? How can I trust you?”).

      Oh, and I had zero knowledge about our finances for 5 years because every time I mentioned taking over for a couple of months to see what was going on, it led to a huge argument. That’s after three to four years of threatening to abandon me (“I don’t want to be married to you!”) when we disagree, threatening suicide (knife to throat a couple of times), attacking my values, taking control of my business, ensuring that she was always too busy after my evening classes (she would come with me and wait in the student union) for me to meet new people, controlling access to my family and friends through manipulative complaints and value judgements (“I don’t like the way your brother looks at me,” “His/your friends are obnoxious”), pushing and blocking me, etc.

      Relationship violence is about people who feel powerless taking control of another to assert some kind of control over their own lives. I’m willing to bet that, in our culture, more women than men feel powerless. Vastly more women than men experience chemical changes on a regular basis that are literally associated with mental illness (fluctuations in serotonin levels associated with migraine, for example, and PMS, which a feminist professor of mine once actually denied existed), which definitely has an effect on mood and feelings of inadequacy and control.

      Sorry, sistah. Men who are emotionally and physically abused don’t deserve it. Nice try, though. Your misandy, like my wife’s (“Teenage boys are obnoxious. I don’t understand them. I’m so glad we had a girl and not a boy”) knows no bounds.

  • shivers

    To Stephen Page, I’m from South Australia, and your suggestion that a ‘fair hearing’ happens in the courts is a wonderful goal to try and achieve, but it just doesn’t happen. Out of the 100 or so cases that do go before the Family Court each year there’s only about 3 – 6 that have corresponding corroborative evidence. You see, it means that you either have to hang around in your relationship until your spouse actually puts you or your child in hospital to have that ‘corroborating evidence.’ So what happens is that the abused stays, with the children, knowing that the abuser will escalate if desertion of the relationship is detected. Nobody in their right caring mind would attempt to ‘force’ a confrontation, just so they could end up with a hospital visit for ‘corroborative’ evidence. So in essence, the traditional court system is not suited for the dynamics of personal family relationships. The Family Court also has an awful view of child psychology reports too. As an example, a mother flees with her 6 year old son (to Ireland, in this case) when she realises her sons father is sexually abusing him. In Ireland she receives ‘corroborating’ evidence of a child psychologists report that states the child has been sexually abused and is showing signs of distress and trauma, the Family Court will not accept the report into evidence because the mother obtained it and this apparently, in the Family Court’s view is a ‘biased’ report. The Family Court is currently seeking extradition for that mother to bring her son back, the Court will insist that her son undergo another psychological evaluation (which is distressing enough to an already traumatised 6 year old), the results of which are likely to be non-existent as the traumatised child goes into shock and refuses to talk, hence no evidence is found of abuse by the father, therefore 50/50 custody is awarded as per Australian Family Law. It’s a sad case indeed, for that fictitious family and for all families where abuse occurs.

  • Thanks for your article Mr. Yourell. You ask, “But why?” regarding derogatory stereotypes, downplaying or ignoring of domestic violence and related behaviors by women, funding for shelters and other services for men who are victims of domestic violence being affected and (the most disputed of all ) men ending up as victims of the justice system when it turns against them.
    As a woman and the founder of the nation’s first national toll free helpline that specializes in offering supportive services to men in relationships with abusive women I believe I can answer some of those questions. I have studied domestic violence, our support system for victims and the retribution system for perpetrators for the better part of a decade. In addition, I have answered thousands of calls from men in relationships with abusive women.
    Regarding the derogartory stereotypes…it was (and continues to be) a battered women’s movement that stemmed out of the anti rape and women’s movement in the 1960’s. It was not a battered “person’s” movement. Battered women’s advocates didn’t start the movement on behalf of victims, they started it on behalf of women abused by patriarchal men.
    Regarding the downplay or ignoring of dv and related behaviors by women, it just stands to reason that if women are always victims and men are always perpertrators (as the battered women’s movement has taught us) then how can women be abusers?
    Regarding battered women’s shelters, well we need to understand that those who worked so hard to create those refuges for women feel that they deserve to exclude male victims from them …they say things like, “if men want shelters they should go start their own like women did.” They neglect to mention that tax payer dollars support the over 2000 battered women’s “only” (other than maybe 5% of them that help victims regardless of gender or sexual orientation and I am being generous) shelters programs across the country.
    And what better way to keep a group down than to accuse them of being liars (aka abusers)? It worked at the Salem witch trials and it works against male victims who’s female abusers claim to be victims.
    Female victims of the 1960’s and 70’s had to contend with the police and courts not believing them or protecting them from their battering husbands. Men in relationships with abusive women have a great deal more to contend with. Along with police and courts not believing and supporting them, they also have the battered women’s shelter programs, the whole population of people who believe that only women are victims and the fact that their abuser can and most likely will accuse them of abuse and have it stick to contend with.
    As Kermit says, “It’s not easy being green.” For male victims, “It’s not easy being male in the 21st century.” As a man you are blamed and held accountable for what your fore fathers did or didn’t do. I don’t envy you at all. Jan

  • Anonymous

    To Shivers:
    Read all that you posted. Whenever an argument explains female violence as….the abuser threw objects “out of frustration” the proponet of that position is excusing the behavior. One NEVER accepts this argument when the abuser is male and the female has a contusion on her forehead..

    All humans experience frustration, fear, grief, disappointment, anger…however…we should be raising our children, both male and females, that feelings do not justify or excuse behavior. And there should be the SAME consequence to both offenders when they are young…not sympathy and understanding afforded girls and punishment given to boys.

    Even if past abuse were the case, assaultive behavior in the here and now can’t be justified because of past incidents. This arguement is used in court to defend women who kill their spouses, but there are rare cases when it has actually been proven that the woman had suffered years of severe abuse (battered woman syndrome). What is intetreseting is that these women often are not convicted whether there had been historic abuse or not. The same is not true for men. Juries have a hard time believing that a woman would pull out a shot gun and shoot her sleeping husband unless there was a justifiable reason. It is hard to believe that woman kill for the same reasons as men., but they do. Men and women are far more alike than different. Men and women suffer the same mental illnesses and character disorders.

    Any “yeah but…” or “thats because” arguments offered to explain female violence tells me there is significasnt denial going on by those who make these statements “explaining” female violence. And no amount of hard evidence will dissuade those individuals. They simply don’t want to believe it. It is that very denial that lead to the genocide of 6 million jews in WWII….the world didn’t WANT to believe it

    Jan Brown is correct. The majority of shelters do not allow male victims, as I also so stated earlier. Both Jan and I work in this field. Citizens tax dollars pay for those shelters. This is about protecting turf and money. The argument is often that if we divide up the domestic violence treatment resources (money) to include men, then it will take away services for women. A similar argument was put forth in poor communities in the South over extending services to blacks….”well, after we take care of all the poor white folks then we’ll take care of the poor black folks.” If it hadn’t been for civil rights movement blacks would still be waiting.
    Discrimination is discrimination no matter how it is presented.

    AS to RO or FAPA orders, SAFE has proposed some changes to the system that would preserve the protection aspect while reducing the number of illegitimate restraining orders. (too lengthy to include here) These could also work in Australia’s courts.

    Stop Abuse For Everyone (SAFE)

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  • This guy Hamel sounds like a male supremacist. His idea of being equal is to cast blame onto women who are the victims 90% of the time.

    I hear and read this BS 90% on a regular basis, but and this is a big but, whenever these types of people are asked to produce anything the slightly resembles the 90% number they back off and call people names;
    this 90% is bogus and the people that support it are a threat to children.


  • shivers

    To anonymous of June 13th.

    “the abuser threw objects “out of frustration” the proponet of that position is excusing the behavior. One NEVER accepts this argument when the abuser is male and the female has a contusion on her forehead..” You’ve not understood what I was writing about. With this I meant that women display their frustration more readily than men and will throw something to control a situation. Men, on the other hand, are more likely to throw and smash something in an effort to control a woman. I did not offer any form of ‘excusability’ of that action. But the point was to show the different motivation, and the different effects it has.

    “It is hard to believe that woman kill for the same reasons as men., but they do. Men and women are far more alike than different. Men and women suffer the same mental illnesses and character disorders”

    In regards to the reasons – but they don’t. And women and men, generally, don’t share the same personality disorders either. I thought I’d made that clear in my post, although you say you read it all.

    And for you to continue along this line of women and men being more alike than we care to admit, tells me you’re not up to date with reading research reports on women’s use of violence and men’s. The motivations and effects are glaringly dissimiliar.

    And as for anyone who dispels the 90% (BS? figure of women being victims of men’s domestic violence) then I suggest you take a look at the reports to the Canadian Coroners Office, by the Domestic Homicide Review Team, Province of Ontario 2006 Report. Then come back and refute the 90% figure, because you will, because in their statistics of domestic homicide over the 3 year period women are victims 95% of the time.

  • Shivers 90% is wrong and research is clearly showing it when it comes to DV. It is much closer to 50% for BOTH genders. Not to mention the fact that according to the CDC more women (58%) than men (42%) are perpetrators of all forms of child maltreatment.

    To quote Dr. Christine Hatchard:

    In our society, mothers are automatically given special status, and certain characteristics, such as “nurturing, caring, protective” are attributed to them. The truth is, at her core, a mother is a woman and a human being, and like any other human being, is capable of the same range of violence, hate and autonomous behavior. To view women or mothers any differently, is to not realize their full potential as human beings, for better or for worse.

    So maybe in Aus thing are different than here, I don’t know. What I do know is that the 90% of DV is committed by men has been and continues to be debunked. In California they just recently had a case where the Appellate Court ruled that excluding men from DV shelters that receive state funding was unconstitutional. Numerous experts testified that Domestic Violence against men is a serious but hidden problem and they explained that although men report it less than women, empirical survey data consistently shows women are at least as violent as men in relationships, and that men suffer one-third of injuries. Guess some folks here have kept up on their readings

  • And another tidbit for you shivers from Child Maltreatment 2006, a report by the Federal Administration for Children & Families:

    Leaving aside killings by nonparents or by mothers and fathers acting together, mothers committed almost three-quarters of the parental murders of children. If one includes murders by mothers and fathers acting together, the ratio is 2 to 1 committed by mothers.

    I would post the little graph (its figure 4-2 if you get the report) but I dont think it would post here. And if you look at figure 3-5 of the same report you would see that leaving aside abuse by nonparents or by mothers and fathers acting together, mothers committed almost three-quarters of child abuse.

  • And I will leave you with this one Shivers – From a study of more than 17,000 California residents that appeared in the June 2005 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine that found that One in six adult men reported being sexually molested as children, and — in a surprise finding — nearly 40 percent of the perpetrators were female…

    Yes 40% were female. And out of 1,000 men who disclosed being sexually abused by a woman (at a center in Canada, not the study) only 4 ever officially reported it. If my math is right that is less than 1/2 a percent. The same under reporting rate goes for women sexually abused by other women.

  • ally

    Regarding the police officer who called a hotline for a battered women’s progam and asked about services for men, only to be dismissed by the hotline worker: As it was a hotline for battered women the hotline worker would have presumably been trained to deal only with battered women. I don’t find it surprising that such a worker would interpret a call from a man complaining of abuse by a woman as being harrassment.

    Regarding the surveys of students where male students reported that their female partners tried to control their behaviours: In a culture where young men take pride in bedding as many women as possible, maintaining emotional distance from others, and building a self-image of macho invulnerability, is this really surprising that women are actually trying to do something to remedy the situation and try to make their male partners realise that they are human beings with feelings? While their techniques may not be ideal, it is far from surprising that assertive females are at least making an effort to try to make their male partner a bit more of an aware, thinking, feeling human being. What the male students in these studies reported as ‘abuse’ was more likely just incidents where their female partner actually tried to voice her thoughts and feelings and the male partner took offence.

    As for the ‘stalking’ subtypes, isn’t a male making an unwanted visit to your home a hell of a lot more intimidating than an woman leaving an unwanted phone message? Most incidents of the latter that I’ve ever heard of involve a woman calling a guy who previously pursued her single-mindly, eventually wooed her into bed, and then, with the conquest over, refused to acknowledge her again.

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  • Kate Mason

    Okay. I think this article does not cover the true statistics here. i’m NOT saying that men are not abused by women or cannot be so. I think men CAN and ARE abused by women but this study doesn’t go far enough. It says here that women are more likely to use a weapon than men, for instance…umm. DUH! There’s a VERY physical difference between men and women and women are less likely to physically attack men. Now I DON’T think ANYONE should be hung up on when they call a domestic abuse hotline, whether they are men OR women!

    People don’t seem to get this small fact: ABUSE IS NOT A MALE CRIME BUT AN ATTITUDE CRIME! It doesn’t MATTER what the statistics say how many women vs. men are abused. THIS guy who wrote this article, while he seems to be attempting to point out that men as JUST as likely to be abused as women, ignores the idea that women as WELL as men should be protected from abuse. Give me a BREAK! With stuff like THIS out, I fear for the PEOPLE who turn to anyone for help!

    When I left my abusive ex husband, my own CASEWORKER told me “why don’t you just go back to your husband?” This was a FEMALE! She was ABUSIVE with her power because she felt she HAD NONE! I pointed to my twins, a boy and a girl, and said, “Because I will be godDAMNED if my son grows up and thinks it’s okay to abuse a woman and my daughter thinks it’s okay to be abused OR VICE VERSA! You learn your first relationships FROM YOUR PARENTS!”

    Statistics don’t matter. STOPPING IT DOES! This guy is trying to make women look like less victims than they are and men look better than they are. And yes, I think it’s fast becoming a time when just BEING a man is a CRIME and I DON’T THINK THAT’S RIGHT!

    This is scary to have someone like this spout the bs he’s spouting.

  • Kate Mason

    It’s about control and power hunger and it’s an ATTITUDE crime, NOT A GENDER THING! Yes, men HAVE been and CAN be perpetrated upon them by women but that DOESN’T negate the crimes against women perpetrated by men! NO ONE DESERVES TO BE ABUSED!

  • Lomax

    @Stephen Page:

    The stats, at least in Australia, clearly demonstrate that there are much higher male to female rates of domestic violence than the reverse.

    Could you share those stats? Because the only ones I could find point to exactly the point that’s being made in the article. Some findings:

    Our first hypothesis is that men are significantly more likely to physically assault their partners than vice-versa.

    Results: Men and women report approximately equal rates of being assaulted by their partner, for all three types of assault we asked about. These results are in line with American data, which also show no significant differences.

    (by the way, the use of the word “approximately” there is because women were actually more violent than men, but just not in a statistically significant percentage for this study)

    Our second hypothesis is that male assailants inflict more serious injuries than female assailants.

    Results: Men are at least as likely as women to be victims of domestic assaults that lead to injury and pain. Consistent with victimization rates, the results here suggest that women inflict serious injuries at least as frequently as men.

    1. Men were just as likely to report being physically assaulted by their partners as women. Further, women and men were about equally likely to admit being violent themselves.
    2. Men and women report experiencing about the same levels of pain and need for medical attention resulting from domestic violence.
    3. Violence runs in couples. In over 50% of partnerships in which violence occurred both partners struck each other.
    4. People who had violent parents were significantly more likely than others to be violent to their own partners and to be victims of violence themselves. On the other hand, a huge majority of people whose parents were violent do not assault their own partners. Moreover, the vast majority of those who are violent did not have violent parents.

    So I would like to know what your basis is.

  • yes this is true , in the past I have seen many situations with
    domestic violence that was caused by females and this can lead to lots of legal issues

Robert A. Yourell, MA

Robert A. Yourell, MA, has extensive experience in the mental health and social services dating back to 1975. His training includes Ericksonian communication and hypnosis with John Grinder, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing with Francine Shapiro, PhD, Body Integrative Psychotherapy with Jack Rosenberg, PhD, and solution-focused psychotherapy. He provides free audio experiences on his site that include bilateral sound and Shimmering.

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