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Battered Men - The Hidden Side of Domestic Violence

Gender Polarization of a People Problem

Facts and Myths about Domestic Violence

© 2001 by Bert H. Hoff

 
     
Myth
90-95% of the domestic violence is by men against women

Fact
National Violence Against Women: Full Report. CoverThe National Institute of Justice and the Center for Disease Control estimates that 1.5 million women and 835,000 men are the victims of domestic violence each year. Get the details here

Family Violence in Canada: A Statistical Profile. CoverMen were the victims of DV 38-50% of the time according to major studies in Canada, the U.S. and Great Britain Get the details here


Myth
Every 10 or 12 seconds another woman is battered.

Fact
National Violence Against Women: Full Report. CoverThis factoid relies on inflated estimates of domestic violence. The National Institute of Justice and the Center for Disease Control estimates that 1.3 million women and 835,000 men are the victims of domestic violence each year.There are 31,536,000 seconds in a year. What does this mean? Every 21 seconds, somewhere in America a woman is battered. And every 38 seconds, somewhere in America a man is battered. Get the details here


Myth
1. 20-35% of women's emergency room visits are there because of domestic violence
2. battering is "the leading cause of injury to American women," or to women 15-44
3. domestic abuse causes more injuries to women than rape, auto accidents, and muggings combined

Fact
Bureau of Justice Statistics Report. CoverOnly 1.85% of women's emergency room visits are due to domestic violence—all forms of violence account for only 5% of ER visits. 647,396 women visit emergency rooms (5%) for any assault. 923,336 (7%) go because of animal bites/stings, 2,386,488 (18%) for transportation accidents, 1,461,168 (11%) for overexertion. Get the details here


Myth
Domestic violence by women against men is not serious

Fact
National Violence Against Women: Full Report. CoverAccording to the NIJ/CDC National Violence Against Women survey, 10.8% of the women but only 4.1% of the men used a knife on the victim. 21.6% of the male victims were threatened with a knife, while only 12.7% of the women were so threatened. 43.2% of the male victims were hit with a hard object capable of causing serious injury, while this was true of only 22.6% of the female victims. When all serious forms of domestic assault were added together, as many assaulted men as women were seriously assaulted. Get the details here


Myth
All or almost all domestic violence by women is in self-defense.

Fact
A survey 0f 1,000 women, perhaps the largest survey of its kind, found that 20% had initiated violence. The most common reasons for women initiating domestic violence were: "My partner wasn't sensitive to my needs," (46%), "I wished to gain my partner's attention," (44%) and "My partner was not listening to me" (43%). "My partner was being verbally abusive to me" (38%) was a distant fourth.

Source: Fiebert. M. and Gonzalez, D. (1997). College Women Who Initiate Assaults on their Male Partners and the Reasons Offered for Such Behavior. Psychological Reports, 80, 583-590 (1997)

Myth
Domestic violence is a "hate crime" against women as women.

Domestic violence is socially-condoned oppression of women

Fact
Domestic violence is not a "hate crime" against women or socially-condoned oppression of women

The myths are statements of ideology, not based on any scientific research. In fact, domestic violence is an issue of power and control in a relationship, and women can also be what Erin Pizzey, author of Prone to Violence, calls "family terrorists." In fact, domestic violence is committed by men and women with identifiable psychological pathologies, sometimes exacerbated by use of alcohol or drugs.

Domestic violence against women is not socially condoned. Men who do beat women typically feel shame and try to keep it a secret. Most men have little respect for a man who "beats his woman."

Source: Dutton, D. (1994). Patriarchy and Wife Assault: The ecological fallacy.
from Violence & Victims 1994,  Click here to see full article
Article © 1994 by Donald G. Dutton.
See also, Erin Pizzey, "Working With Violent Women."

     

Other Resources

Help for Battered Men Practical suggestions, Hotline numbers, on-line resources. Print it out and hand it to a man you think may be battered--your caring opens him up to talking about it.

Men's Stories Here are some personal stories by battered men, and links to sites with more of them. The more we talk about it, the more we tell our stories, the more we increase public awareness that men are battered and encourage battered men to get the help they need. Send us your story, so we can post it here (anonymously, of course, unless you tell us differently.)

What's Wrong with the Duluth Model? The "Duluth Model" is the approach most widely used for perpetrator treatment--but it gender polarizes the "people problem" of domestic violence.. What's wrong with the Duluth Model? It blames and shames men. It's based on ideology, not science. It ignores drinking, drugs and pathology. Only one cause, only one solution. There's no real evidence it works. It ignores domestic violence by women. Women who need help can't get it. It's taught by wounded healers.

Latest Research Findings National Violence Against Women survey shows 37.5% of victims each year are men. Men are at real risk of serious physical injury. Murray A. Straus looks at controversies in DV research. Martin Fiebert examines reasons women give for assaulting men. JAMA emergency room study shows equal number of men, woman victims.

 
     


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