Wednesday, February 19, 2014

NZ women more violent than men in relationships?

Wendy McElroy is familiar to me. She is one of those rare women who question the pervasive bias towards females as the overwhelming victims of domestic violence.Through an Independent Newsletter she has drawn my attention to this 2006 paper :

Paper presented at conference on Trends In Intimate Violence Intervention, sponsored by theUniversity of Haifa and New York University. New York University, May 23, 2006.
Murray A. Straus
Family Research Laboratory, University of New Hampshire
Durham, NH 03824 603-862-2594
The study investigated the widely held belief that violence against partners in marital,
cohabiting, and dating relationships is almost entirely perpetrated by men, and that when
women assault their partners, it has a different etiology than assaults by men. The empirical data on these issues were provided by 13,601 university students who participated in the International Dating Violence Study in 32 nations. The results in the first part of this papers how that almost a third of the female as well as male students physically assaulted a dating partner in the 12 month study period, and that the most frequent pattern was mutuality in violence, i.e. both were violent, followed by “fem
ale-only” violence. Violence by only the male partner was the least frequent pattern according to both male and female participants.
Yes, New Zealand participated.

Regarding physical violence, the reported assault rate was 27.9% (18th out of 32 rankings)

Male-Only 8.7%
Female-Only 28.2%

Of 32 nations NZ was 6th highest for Female-Only assault and 16th for Male-Only assault.The NZ sample was 132, 78 percent were female.

When it comes to "severe violence" the findings look subject to sampling shortfall,  but I provide them anyway:

Male-Only 0%
Female-Only 60%
Both violent 40%

The male result is bottom of the rankings and the female result top.

Here is a further extract from the paper:

This paper reports the results of an empirical investigation of two of the most
controversial and important issues in understanding physical violence between partners in a marital, cohabiting, or dating relationships. The answers to these questions can have profound implications for prevention and treatment of partner violence.
1. Is partner violence primarily perpetrated by men, as compared to women, and as
compared to both partners engaging in violence?
2. To what extent is dominance by the male partner associated with partner violence,
as compared to dominance by the female partner? In short is the issue one of male
dominance or one of inequality between partners?
Just mentioning these two issues as topics for empirical investigation is often regarded
as undermining the efforts to end partner violence. This is because these questions implicitly challenge two core principles that underlie most efforts to prevent and treat partner violence.
The first principle, that partner violence is primarily perpetrated by men. In relation to
thee first principle, in an article on “Sexual Inequality, Cultural Norms, and Wife-Beating”
published 30 years ago (Straus, 1976) I stated that “wives are much more often the victim of violence by their husbands than the reverse.” The second principle asserted in that article was to attribute male partner violence to “the hierarchical and male-dominant nature of society...” A correlated principle is that when men are violent the purpose is to coerce and dominate, whereas when women are violent it is almost always an act of self-defense or a response to unbearably humiliating and dominating behavior by the male partner. The idea that women are motivated to hit in order to coerce a male partner, or out of rage and anger over misbehavior by a male partner (such as sexual infidelity), is regarded as outrageous, and is taken as a sign of sexism and misogyny.
In the 35 years since I began research on partner violence, bit by bit, I have seen my
assumptions about prevalence and etiology contradicted by a mass of empirical evidence from my own research and from research by many others. Consequently, I have gradually come to a much more multi-faceted view of partner violence. This view recognizes the overwhelming evidence that women assault their partners at about the same rate as men, and that the motives for violence by both males and females are diverse. However, few others have reached the same conclusion, and some of those few will not publicly express their position for fear of the type of ostracism that I have experienced (partly described in Straus and Gelles (Straus & Gelles, 1990). Instead, the evidence on gender symmetry in prevalence and etiology is typically disregarded and often explicitly denied (Straus
& Scott, In press). As will be suggested in the conclusion, this denial has crippled prevention and treatment efforts.

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