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"The study involved an analysis of data originally obtained through the National Violence Against Women Survey in the mid-90's. Felson and Outlaw looked at the 10,000 respondents (out of the total sample of 16,000) who were currently married, and found that adult women are just as controlling and jealous towards their male partners as the other way around. "They also found that the relationship between use of control and jealousy and physical violence existed equally for both male and female respondents, and that 'intimate terrorists' can be either male or female.... "It should be pointed out that the National Violence Against Women Survey was designed, conducted and analyzed by feminist researchers, whose intentions from start to finish were to make the case that violence against female intimate partners is serious social problem, and one that is much more serious than violence against male intimate partners. This, I believe, lends quite a bit of added credibility to Felson's findings." John Hamel, LCSW, a court-certified batterer treatment provider and author of the book Gender-Inclusive Treatment of Intimate Partner Abuse, sent me an interesting letter recently about a couple of new domestic violence studies. I find the one referenced above particularly interesting. Feminists often claim that men and only men "control" their partners through "intimate terrorism," and that only men abuse out of "jealousy." I've often thought this was one of their more unlikely claims. This study--which uses feminist data and research--contradicts this notion. From Hamel: "You might want to be aware of two very important recent papers that have only recently been published on the topic of gender similarities/differences in intimate partner abuse. For the past few years, I have been especially interested in new research that examines the context of intimate partner abuse. What the research tells us has significant implications not only clinically, but also in terms of public policy. "The first paper, by Daniel Whittaker and colleagues, appeared in the May, 2007 issue of American Journal of Public Health and reports on findings from the 2001 National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health with a sample of more than 11,000 young adults between the ages of 18 and 28. Among those findings: (1) 70.7% of nonreciprocal physical violence was perpetrated by females, and (2) in reciprocally-violent relationships, men incurred the majority of the physical injuries. Overall, women incurred more physical injuries, but the difference was quite small. You can find an abstract and a review of this paper at www.ajph.org/cgi/content/abstract/97/5/941. "The other paper is perhaps even more significant. It is titled, 'The Control Motive and Marital Violence,' written by Richard Felson and Maureen Outlaw, and published in Volume 22, Issue No. 4, 2007 of Violence and Victims. (pp. 387-407) "The study involved an analysis of data originally obtained through the National Violence Against Women Survey in the mid-90's. Felson and Outlaw looked at the 10,000 respondents (out of the total sample of 16,000) who were currently married, and found that adult women are just as controlling and jealous towards their male partners as the other way around. They also found that the relationship between use of control and jealousy and physical violence existed equally for both male and female respondents, and that "intimate terrorists" can be either male or female. Controlling and jealous behaviors were defined as follows: "Prevents you from knowing about or having access to family income even when you ask. Prevents you from working outside the home. Insists on knowing who you are with at all times. Insists on changing residences even when you don't want or need to. Tries to limit your contact with family and friends. "Here are some selected quotes from the article: "'For current marriages, the results reveal that husbands are less likely than wives to engage in controlling behavior and less likely to be jealous. In former marriages, on the other hand, we find that husbands are slightly more likely to have been controlling than the wives. However, the effect is not quite statistically significant...' (p. 394). "'Controlling husbands are not particularly likely to engage in verbal aggression or violence or generate fear. While controlling spouses in current marriages are more likely to act violently, there is no evidence that this relationship is gendered.' (p. 396; my italics) "'An examination of the predicted reveals that former husbands who were controlling were particularly likely to engage in verbal aggression and physical violence and to generate fear.' (p. 397) "Regarding the extent to which men and women engage in 'intimate terrorism,' a term coined by [feminist domestic violence researcher] Michael Johnson, the authors write: "'Both husbands and wives who are controlling are more likely to produce injury and engage in repeated violence. Similar effects are observed for jealousy, although not all are statistically significant. The seriousness of the violence is apparently associated with motive, although the relationship does not depend on gender.' (jp. 404) "It should be pointed out that the National Violence Against Women Survey was designed, conducted and analyzed by feminist researchers, whose intentions from start to finish were to make the case that violence against female intimate partners is a serious social problem, and one that is much more serious than violence against male intimate partners. This, I believe, lends quite a bit of added credibility to Felson's findings." Hamel helped found the National Family Violence Legislative Resource Center and works with Michael Robinson and the California Alliance for Families and Children to reform California's domestic violence policies. The pair are sponsoring the ground-breaking conference "From Ideology to Inclusion" early next year. [Note: If you or someone you love is being abused, the Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men and Women provides crisis intervention and support services to victims of domestic violence and their families.]

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