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RADAR Media Fact Sheet

  1. Women are just as likely as men to engage in partner aggression.
    • The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, "In nonreciprocally violent relationships, women were the perpetrators in more than 70% of the cases. Reciprocity was associated with more frequent violence among women, but not men." [Source: Whitaker, Haileyesus, Swahn and Saltzman, Differences in Frequency of Violence and Reported Injury Between Relationships With Reciprocal and Nonreciprocal Intimate Partner Violence, American Journal of Public Health, May 2007, Vol 97, No. 5, pp. 941-947, http://www.ajph.org/cgi/content/abstract/97/5/941]
    • Psychologist John Archer reviewed hundreds of studies and concluded, “Women were slightly more likely than men to use one or more act of physical aggression and to use such acts more frequently.” [Source: John Archer: Sex differences in aggression between heterosexual partners: A meta-analytic review. Psychological Bulletin, Vol. 126, No. 5, pages 651-680]
    • Law professor Linda Kelly noted, "leading sociologists have repeatedly found that men and women commit violence at similar rates." [Source: Linda Kelly: Disabusing the definition of domestic abuse. Florida State University Law Review, Vol. 30, pages 791-855, 2003. Accessible at: http://www.law.fsu.edu/journals/lawreview/downloads/304/kelly.pdf ]
    • An international survey of violence between dating partners in 16 countries concluded: “Perhaps the most important similarity is the high rate of assault perpetrated by both male and female students in all the countries.” [Source: Murray Straus: Prevalence of violence against dating partners by male and female university students worldwide. Violence Against Women, Vol. 10, No. 7, 2001]
    • Cal State Psychology Professor Martin Fiebert has assembled a bibliography of 175 scholarly investigations: 139 empirical studies and 36 reviews and/or analyses, which demonstrate that women are as physically aggressive, or more aggressive, than men in their relationships with their spouses or male partners. http://www.csulb.edu/~mfiebert/assault.htm
    • An analysis of the data collected by the National Violence Against Women (NVAW) Survey found that more women than men engage in controlling behavior in their current marriages, but there was no statistically significant difference between men's and women's use of controlling behaviors in former marriages. Controlling husbands were not particularly likely to engage in frequent, injurious, or unprovoked violence. Husband and wives did not differ in their motivation to control. [Source: Sociology Professors Richard B. Felson (Penn State) and Maureen C. Outlaw (Providence College) "The Control Motive and Marital Violence," Violence and Victims, 2007, Vol. 22, Issue 4 http://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/ebm/record/17691548/full_citation/The_control_motive_and_marital_violence_

  2. Men experience over one-third of DV-related injuries.
    • Of all persons who suffer an injury from partner aggression, 38% are male. [Source: John Archer: Sex differences in aggression between heterosexual partners: A meta-analytic review. Psychological Bulletin, Vol. 126, No. 5, pages 651-680]
    • Of all persons who require medical treatment as the result of partner aggression, 35% are male. [Source: John Archer: Sex differences in aggression between heterosexual partners: A meta-analytic review. Psychological Bulletin, Vol. 126, No. 5, Table 5]
    • Men who are victims of severe domestic violence suffer other problems, as well [Source: Richard J. Gelles: Intimate Violence in Families, 1997]:
      • 30% experienced depression
      • 14% required bed rest to recuperate from the injuries
      • 10% needed to take time off from work

  3. Men are far less likely to report DV incidents than women.
    • According to the National Family Violence Survey, female victims of DV are nine times more likely to call the police than male DV victims. These are the percentages of victims who called the police in response to the assault:
      • Women: 8.5%
      • Men: 0.9%

    [Source: JE Stets and MA Straus: Gender differences in reporting marital violence and its medical and psychological consequences. In Straus and Gelles (editors): Physical violence in American families, 1990, Table 15.]

  4. The myths about domestic violence are numerous.
  5. These are some of the common myths about domestic violence:

    • According to the FBI, a woman is beaten every 15 seconds
    • 4,000 women each year are killed by their husbands, ex-husbands, or boyfriends
    • There are nearly three times as many animal shelters in the United states as there are shelters for women
    • Battering during pregnancy is the leading cause of birth defects and infant mortality
    • Women who kill their batterers receive longer prison sentences than men who kill their partners
    Richard Gelles, an internationally-recognized expert on domestic violence, refers to many of these claims as “factoids from nowhere.” [http://www.mincava.umn.edu/documents/factoid/factoid.html]

  6. Many of these myths are based on DV studies that use biased survey methods.
    • Some studies survey women but not men. Predictably, these studies yield one-sided findings.
    • The DOJ National Crime Victimization Survey is flawed because persons do not consider most forms of domestic violence, such as slapping, shoving, or throwing an object at a partner, to be a crime.
    • The DOJ National Violence Against Women survey prefaces the questions by repeatedly using the phrase “personal safety.” Those words bias the responses because women are more concerned about personal safety than men.
    • Some studies of domestic violence assess both physical and verbal abuse. That inflates and distorts the picture of physical violence.

    [Source: MA Straus: The controversy over domestic violence by women: A methodological, theoretical, and sociology of science analysis. In XB Arriaga and S Oskamp: Violence in intimate relationships. Sage Publishers, 1999. http://pubpages.unh.edu/~mas2/CTS21.pdf]