“Male” violence (NOT)

Stets and Straus - 825 respondents:
49% reported reciprocal violence

28% reported that only the wife was violent

23% reported that only the husband was violent.

The men reported:

men struck the first blow 43.7% of the time...they reported women hitting first 44.1% of the time

The women reported:

women striking first 52.7% of the time...men hitting first 42.6% of the time.

Women are more likely to hit back (24.4% vs. 15%)

Stets and Straus (1992) combined the 1985 US National Family Violence Resurvey (N = 5,005) with a sample of 526 dating couples to generate a large and representative sample of male-female relationships, in which they reported incidence of intimate violence by gender. Using a subset of 825 respondents who reported experiencing at least one or more assaults the authors found that in ½ (49%) of the incidents the couples reported reciprocal violence, in 1/4 (23%) of the cases the couples reported that the husband alone was violent and 1/4 (28%) reported the wife alone was violent. Men (n = 297) reported striking the first blow in 43.7% of cases and that their partner struck the first blow in 44.1% of the cases. The women (n = 428) reported striking the first blow in 52.7% of the cases and that their partner struck first in 42.6% of the cases. Stets and Straus (1992) concluded that not only do women engage in a comparable amount of violence, they are “at least as likely” to instigate violence. The results also indicated that women were more likely to hit back (24.4%) than men (15%) in response to violent provocation by a partner (Straus & Gelles, 1992). This latter result is difficult to explain from the patriarchal view that women are more afraid of male violence than the reverse. Stets and Straus also analyzed for level of violence x gender. They concluded that equal levels of violence by both men and women were the most common form of violence (40% of married couples). The second most frequent form was women using severe violence against men who were either completely non-violent or who used only minor violence (about 16 % of married couples). The stereotypical pattern (male severe, female none or minor) was found for only 8% of married couples. (emphasis mine) (Donald G. Dutton)

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13 thoughts on ““Male” violence (NOT)

  1. Sue

    Here is a review of Dutton's book. He has also had a fairly dubious personal record.

    "As a psychologist who has spent two years leading domestic violence abatement groups, I must disagree with much of what Dr. Dutton reports in his book. He describes batterers as full of self-loathing, yet in two years I have never met one who remotely fit that description. Most of them seemed ashamed of their actions, but consoled themselves by saying the abuse was an isolated incident. The rest denied that they had done anything wrong while simultaneously and smugly declaring that their abuse was justified, and that the only reason they were convicted was because the system is corrupt and they weren't adequately defended in court. If that sounds like typical criminal thought processes, well, it is.

    Dr. Dutton falls into the same trap that the courts do when they refer all batterers carte-blanche to treatment. They assume that chronic batterers are somehow different from other violent offenders simply because their chosen victim is someone they supposedly love. They ignore a very simple fact that applies to all forms of criminal behavior; many criminals enjoy what they do and feel no "self-loathing" at all. Treating such criminals as if they are sick and need treatment only emboldens them further.

    Dr. Dutton's recommendations for treatment are particuarly niave. He recommends asking the participants in the group about their abusive behavior during the previous week. This is akin to asking a chronic thief if he has stolen anything recently; it puts them on their defensive high-horse, regardless of the objective truth. In addition it makes the asker look like a fool for expecting to get anything other than the "right" answer.

    Dr. Dutton also recommends regular contact with the abuser's partner. This is not only foolish, but dangerous. If questionnaires are sent to the partner, make no mistake that the abuser will be filling them out. If the partner is interviewed with the abuser you will only hear what the abuser wants you to hear. If you interview the partner alone the abuser is likely to hit her to make her tell him what she said, hit her again to get what she "really" said, then hit her again to make sure she doesn't forget.

    The book gets two stars because Dr. Dutton does acknolwedge that not all men who hit are chronic batterers. In addition, he wisely rejects neurological hypotheses that remove responsibility from the abuser. However, no progress can be made in the field of batterer treatment until therapists and the courts start acknolwedging chronic batterers as the criminals they are. The "you need treatment, you don't belong in jail" approach is ineffective because that is what criminals themselves believe. "

    Personally, I would never recommend a book by Dutton. I have read it. I know a fair bit about Dutton. Just be warned, some of it is irregular.

    And from OISE where I went to school,

    ... in a current political economic climate characterized by an intense right-wing
    assault on feminism, there is an enormous audience for this book and it undoubtedly will be used to justify erroneous claims such as “women are as violent as men” and to challenge feminist efforts to reduce all forms of gender inequality.

    Believe me, you do not want to quote Dutton. I;ll tell you more in email if you like but he is a bit of an embarrassment to my neighbourhood.

  2. That certainly makes Stets and Straus wrong also, rignt?

    Sue doesn't agree with something that falls outside the tunnel.

  3. I have two books and 6 tabs open (only one of them by Dutton.

    It is unfortunate that you put such a small value on the men who are abused, in order to further your own political agenda.

    Very, very sad.

  4. Sue, your first comment is a book review that you do not place a citation on.

    The second to last paragraph says it all...anybody who threatens the feminist agenda is to be discredited at all costs.

    Again, very, very sad that it places such a low value on men who are abused.

  5. tiro

    As an older woman in her sixties, and a Christian for 38+ years, I can tell you that this idea that women are equally abusers and men equally victims of abuse is a new rumor that has little support in real life.

    I've known many many women who have been victims of marital or partner abuse. These women often end up in the hospital for their physical wounds. The emotional wounds continue on for many years. Young girls who have been victims of both physical and emotional/mental abuse (sometimes from either parent) suffer the results in their psychological make up sometimes for the rest of their lives.

    While young boys suffer physical and sexual abuse in large numbers it still doesn't equal the percentages of young women abused.

    More women have throughout history been prevented, coerced, scared, etc. into not reporting their abuses than men. I know personally of so many. 🙁 Men reporting aabuse is a new thing and it has been used as a counter argument to make male abusers less radical. But the truth is for what small percentage of real women abusers there are, even they cannot hold a candle to what male abusers do to their victims. Men are stronger, hold higher social positions, even supported in male dominance to those who hold to patriarchal beliefs. Women have been taught throughout history that in order to get what they want in life they must please men. I grew up under that teaching. And when these stronger more socially powerful men abuse they have so much supporting them, that they can get grossly more damaging to their partners than most woman could to a male.

    You have to consider also how some of these studies have been conducted. A slap on the arm or a slap in the face (much rarer) by the woman to the man is considered equal to a slap, punch, etc. by a man to a woman. The woman's slap or even punch just doesn't do that much damage if any, while the man's punch will break a jaw or rib, and his slap have the woman at the chiropractor for a strained neck. Also, blows in self defense by the woman are considered equal to blows in attack from the male. These studies are done for a purpose. That purpose is to downgrade the truth about male abuses to women in society.

    The smart person just isn't going to believe that women abuse as much as men, because it really isn't true from any angle.

  6. Sue

    It is unfortunate that you put such a small value on the men who are abused, in order to further your own political agenda.

    I hope lying makes you feel good.

  7. The smart person just isn't going to believe that women abuse as much
    as men, because it really isn't true from any angle.

    Thank you so much for that personal observation about those who disagree with you.

    Sue, when you start presenting non-biased information, and stop dismissing information that disagrees with you, that will be fruit that you are not biased against male victims. As long as you dismiss the research, you make it more difficult for them to get help.

  8. Tiro...you should read "violent partners". What we think we know (especially about the current generation that is college now) is wrong.

    Your opinion, of course, is as valuable as mine. There is a lot of research out there that has been done without a bias against men.

    You should read some.

  9. While Ellen and I don’t agree most of the time on several issues I agree that men have also been in abusive relationships. I’m saying this as a woman who watched two roommates put their lives in danger with men and I myself am working on a divorce from a man who is verbally and mentally abusive. I understand how easy it is to want to hate and how easy it might be to allow ourselves to not want to believe that a woman could do the things that we women loathe but they can. The stats might be wrong but the truth is that people hurt people.

  10. sue, my opinion is:

    if a person is concerned with ending all abuse, their attitude is "golly, yes. A woman can be violent toward their intimate partner. What can we do to stop that cycle?"

    An attitude that is basically that one target (complementarianism) is the way to go is missing the boat (in my opinion)

  11. tiro

    While I agree that yes, women can be abusive too, the new rumors that women are just as abusive (specifically physically) as men and maybe even more so is just a bad rumor.... which I explained further in post #6.

    And I don't know why Sue is getting picked on here, but Sue also is quite aware that women can be abusive.

    There is no sin that is reserved for one gender. Just like there is no gift of the Spirit that is reserved for one gender. We are all human and prone to the same errors and the same blessings.

  12. As far as the "rumors" go...Sorry, but we disagree. The feminist agenda (as far as female violence goes) is powerful. Disagreement is not well tolerated and I (for one) will not help.

    Females get hurt more because of their smaller size. But unbiased research shows that at least half of the time they strike out first and they strike out more often.

    And it all needs to stop.

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