Extensive Research: Women Initiate Domestic Violence More than Men, Men Under-report It.

Ali Shahrestani, Esq.
6 min readMar 24, 2017

Domestic violence against men is often under-reported. Further, multiple studies demonstrate that in Intimate Partner Violence (“IPV”), women are more often the initiators of physical violence. Expert testimony that provides such crucial information is necessary to overcome the bias against men in domestic violence cases and related restraining order matters, especially where men are claiming self-defense or filing for protective orders against abusive women. Social workers and judges are often skeptical of such claims by men, and it’s time we bring science into the courtroom to end such systemic gender-based discrimination against men.

1. “Analyzing data gathered from 11,370 respondents, researchers found that “half of [violent relationships] were reciprocally violent. In non-reciprocally violent relationships, women were the perpetrators in more that 70% of the cases.” Out of all the respondents, a quarter of the women admitted to perpetrating the domestic violence and, when the violence was reciprocal, women were often the ones to have been the first to strike. In addition, an analytic view of 552 domestic violence studies published in the Psychological Bulletin found that 38% of the physical injuries suffered in domestic violence disputes were suffered by men.” See: http://bust.com/general/9702-women-more-often-the-aggressors-in-domestic-violence.html, based on a 2007 report in the American Journal of Public Health published here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1854883/, which states:

“Methods. We analyzed data on young US adults aged 18 to 28 years from the 2001 National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, which contained information about partner violence and injury reported by 11 370 respondents on 18761 heterosexual relationships.

Results. Almost 24% of all relationships had some violence, and half (49.7%) of those were reciprocally violent. In nonreciprocally violent relationships, women were the perpetrators in more than 70% of the cases.” Id.

2. “”Domestic violence is often seen as a female victim/male perpetrator problem, but the evidence demonstrates that this is a false picture.”

Data from Home Office statistical bulletins and the British Crime Survey show that men made up about 40% of domestic violence victims each year between 2004–05 and 2008–09, the last year for which figures are available. In 2006–07 men made up 43.4% of all those who had suffered partner abuse in the previous year, which rose to 45.5% in 2007–08 but fell to 37.7% in 2008–09.

Similar or slightly larger numbers of men were subjected to severe force in an incident with their partner, according to the same documents. The figure stood at 48.6% in 2006–07, 48.3% the next year and 37.5% in 2008–09, Home Office statistics show.” See: https://amp.theguardian.com/society/2010/sep/05/men-victims-domestic-violence. Also see the original 2010 report from the UK non-profit, Parity, here: http://www.parity-uk.org/RSMDVConfPresentation-version3A.pdf.

3. “Sophie Goodchild reported in a 2000 Guardian piece on a study showing that women were actually more likely to initiate violence in relationships, writing:

The study … is based on an analysis of 34,000 men and women by a British academic. Women lash out more frequently than their husbands or boyfriends, concludes John Archer, professor of psychology at the University of Central Lancashire and president of the International Society for Research on Aggression.

… Professor Archer analysed data from 82 US and UK studies on relationship violence, dating back to 1972. He also looked at 17 studies based on victim reports from 1,140 men and women…. [H]e said that female aggression was greater in westernised women because they were “economically emancipated” and therefore not afraid of ending a relationship.” See: https://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/crime/item/19133-women-more-likely-to-commit-domestic-violence-studies-show.

4. “When people see a woman being abused in public, they tend to be quick to react. People will even put their own safety at risk to try to protect a vulnerable victim. Unfortunately, when the victim is a man, people not only do not react — they often find it humorous.

About 40 percent of domestic violence is suffered by men, but the issues has never gotten the attention it deserves, for various reasons.” See: http://www.liberalamerica.org/2014/05/29/watch-what-happens-when-a-woman-abuses-a-man-in-public-video/

Video: https://youtu.be/u3PgH86OyEM

5. “As a general rule, men tend to underreport [sic] both their violence against their female partners and their female partners’ violence against them. By contrast, women tend to over-report both the men’s violence against them and their own violence. The couples in the study were also given tasks by the study’s monitors, such as planning a party or discussing a problem with their partner, and were filmed and observed by the OYS [Oregon Youth Study] during those tasks.

As in many studies of IPV [i.e., Intimate Partner Violence], the OYS found that much IPV is bidirectional (meaning both are violent), and in unidirectional abusive relationships, the women were more likely to be abusive than the men.” See: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/glenn-sacks/researcher-says-womens-in_b_222746.html, which reports on the 2009 research report of Dr. Deborah Capaldi, Ph.D., who is based in Oregon, entitled “From Ideology to Inclusion 2009: New Directions in Domestic Violence Research and Intervention,” “presented by the California Alliance for Families & Children and co-sponsored by The Family Violence Treatment & Education Association” at “an IPV conference in Los Angeles June 26–28 [2009]”. Id.

6. “Research showing that women are often aggressors in domestic violence has been causing controversy for almost 40 years, ever since the 1975 National Family Violence Survey by sociologists Murray Straus and Richard Gelles of the Family Research Laboratory at the University of New Hampshire found that women were just as likely as men to report hitting a spouse and men were just as likely as women to report getting hit. The researchers initially assumed that, at least in cases of mutual violence, the women were defending themselves or retaliating. But when subsequent surveys asked who struck first, it turned out that women were as likely as men to initiate violence — a finding confirmed by more than 200 studies of intimate violence. In a 2010 review essay in the journal Partner Abuse, Straus concludes that women’s motives for domestic violence are often similar to men’s, ranging from anger to coercive control.” See: http://time.com/2921491/hope-solo-women-violence/.

“Violence by women causes less harm due to obvious differences in size and strength, but it is by no means harmless. Women may use weapons, from knives to household objects — including highly dangerous ones such as boiling water — to neutralize their disadvantage, and men may be held back by cultural prohibitions on using force toward a woman even in self-defense. In his 2010 review, Straus concludes that in various studies, men account for 12% to 40% of those injured in heterosexual couple violence. Men also make up about 30% of intimate homicide victims — not counting cases in which women kill in self-defense. And women are at least as likely as men to kill their children — more so if one counts killings of newborns — and account for more than half of child maltreatment perpetrators.” Id.

“For the most part, feminists’ reactions to reports of female violence toward men have ranged from dismissal to outright hostility. Straus chronicles a troubling history of attempts to suppress research on the subject, including intimidation of heretical scholars of both sexes and tendentious interpretation of the data to portray women’s violence as defensive. In the early 1990s, when laws mandating arrest in domestic violence resulted in a spike of dual arrests and arrests of women, battered women’s advocates complained that the laws were “backfiring on victims,” claiming that women were being punished for lashing back at their abusers. Several years ago in Maryland, the director and several staffers of a local domestic violence crisis center walked out of a meeting in protest of the showing of a news segment about male victims of family violence. Women who have written about female violence, such as Patricia Pearson, author of the 1997 book When She Was Bad: Violent Women and the Myth of Innocence, have often been accused of colluding with an anti-female backlash.” Id.

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Ali Shahrestani, Esq.

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