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Battered Men - The Hidden Side of Domestic Violence

Latest Research Findings

Quotes from Studies and Reports

regarding battered men and the domestic violence controversy

Copyright © 1999 by Bert H. Hoff
meaning: I'm the only one responsible, or to blame, for this selection

Gelles & Straus, Intimate Violence
Gelles, Richard J. and Straus, Murray A. Intimate Violence: The causes and consequences of abuse in the American Family, Simon & Schuster Inc, New York, 1988

"Unfortunately, the scarcity of resources has not led to agencies and institutions banding together to lobby and demand more resources for the prevention and treatment of family violence. Instead, as is often the case when the need is great and the resources are small, there has been fierce competition for the limited resources that are available.

We have spent the better part of our professional careers watching those concerned with child abuse compete against those who wanted to provide services for spouse abuse and vice versa. And example of this kind of competition is the radical feminist argument that there is no such thing as a battered husband. This concept flies in the face of logic and empirical data. Yet, radical feminists believe that if we acknowledge the existence of battered husbands, then the funding designated for programs to assist battered women will be cut further because monies will be directed at programs for battered men. Thus, many radical feminists have fought for years to keep battered husbands closeted so that the small amount of money that was available for wife abuse would not be jeopardized. Battered men have been kept closeted, but the funding has been cut nonetheless.

We have listened to very intelligent physicians claim that spouse abuse is not a major problem, and that the real problem is child abuse. On the other hand, those concerned with wife abuse maintain that wife abuse is the real problem and that if it could be prevented we would not need to spend money on child abuse. The rationale (such as it is) behind these arguments is that the resource pie for domestic violence is only so big, and "we need all of it that we can get."

Current Controversies on Family Violence Richard Gelles, Donileen R. Loseke, editors Sage Publications, 1993 ISBN 0803946732

From: (Ted W.)
Subject: Current Controversies on Family Violence
Date: 15 Sep 1995 20:40:30 GMT

This book is a series of back to back chapters each arguing opposite sides of each issue in family violence. Part II covers violence between adult women and men.

Part I is about how to conceptualize the topics of interest. In Gelles' chapter 2 he writes on perspectives in analyzing spousal violence.

Those who use the feminist perspective argue that females are vastly disproportional victims of adult intimate violence. Their point of view is supported by data on wife abuse derived from shelters and other helping agencies. On the other hand, Murray Straus, among others, argues that there are far more women using violence toward men than shelter data indicate. Although I cannot resolve this issue in this chapter, the data do suggest that males are the more likely offenders...

In introducing Part II Gelles and Loseke summarize the controversies surrounding the issue of spousal violence, and show how perspective effects the analysis:

Murray Straus argues that violence by women against men should be morally condemned and responded to as a social problem; Demie Kurz believes that Straus misdirects our attention and that only violence *against* women should be evaluated as a social problem requiring concern and social intervention. [emphasis in the original]

...Straus, for example uses a wide sociological conceptual lens that makes visible violence by women against their spouses. Although he maintains that his analysis is also feminist, Kurz labels Straus's framework as 'irreconcilable with feminism." She believes the sociological lens distorts rather than clarifies, and that only the feminist lens correctly shows that we should be exclusively concerned with violence against women.

In this section readers can begin to see why conceptual frameworks matter. The particular disagreements throughout this volume are about specific issues, but difference in conceptual frameworks fuel the specific controversies....


Return to 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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