July 10, 2014 by Robert Franklin, Esq.
This past Monday I posted a piece about a new study of domestic violence out of the United Kingdom. There’s not a lot new in it, but it certainly corroborates what we already know — that women are as likely or more likely to hit their intimate partners as are men. But the study itself is considerably more than that. For one thing it gives some of the history of feminism’s attempt to make DV a gendered issue, the frank dishonesty of that attempt and its utter failure.
Of course the write-up of the study is done by social scientists who are not given to passion or hyperbole, but their message is unmistakable. The science on domestic violence contradicts feminism’s view of that subject. For many years, there’s been no excuse for believing the feminist construct of intimate partner violence. (I’ve removed citations from quoted passages for the sake of brevity.)
Specifically, it (i.e. the gender perspective) holds that men's violence to women arises from patriarchal values, which motivate men to seek to control women's behavior, using violence if necessary. Two further assumptions are that such values produce attitudes supportive of men's violence to women, and that IPV should be studied independently of general aggression research, since general models of aggression do not characterize this form of violence. In particular, men's control is viewed as resulting from patriarchal values rather than as part of an interpersonal style that can exist in either sex.
That’s a fair summary of the feminist take on DV. To be blunt, every single assumption has been definitively proven to be false. This study is but one of many to debunk every aspect of gender feminism’s construction of domestic violence. First, in intimate relationships, women are the more likely to engage in controlling behavior either via verbal or physical aggression. Second, men in intimate relationships are more likely than women to withhold aggression. Third, that fact is explained by men’s socialization (never hit a girl). Fourth, women’s greater aggression in intimate relationships is also explained by their socialization, i.e. there are few or no social messages that girls shouldn’t hit boys and a fair number encouraging them to do so. Fifth, for both men and women, their violent behavior within intimate relationships does not mirror their violent behavior toward same-sex non-intimates, i.e. friends, co-workers, acquaintances, etc.
In contrast to these views of IPV that emphasize a separate cause from other forms of violence, and others have advocated studying IPV within the context of violence in general, which includes forms of violence that occur outside the home. Felson's analysis indicates the degree to which IPV is similar to other forms of violence and criminal behavior. Similarly, Hamel advocated a “gender-inclusive” approach to IPV, that is, avoiding any preconceptions that it must necessarily be primarily male-to-female, as the male control approaches do. Supporting these views are an extensive range of studies, originally undertaken from a family violence perspective, showing that women are as likely to be physically aggressive towards their partner as men are, if not more so. Furthermore, these studies usually report both victimization and perpetration, and typically show high correlations between the two measures, indicating a degree of mutuality in IPV. For this reason we used both measures of perpetration and victimization in the analysis of IPV.
A large number of studies on general patterns of physical aggression and crime statistics show that men are more physically aggressive than women to same-sex non-intimates… [M]en are more aggressive than women are to same-sex non-intimates, whereas women are as aggressive (or more so) to their male partners than men are to their female partners.
The contrasting pattern of sex differences found for aggression to same-sex non-intimates and to partners described above raises the question of whether men show a lower level of physical aggression to a partner than to same-sex non-intimates or whether women show a higher level to a partner than to same-sex non-intimates….Men were found to show less physical aggression to a partner than to a same-sex non-partner, and women to show more physical aggression to a partner than to a same-sex non-partner, but with a smaller difference….This supports the claim that norms of chivalry cause men to inhibit physical aggression towards partners, and that women do not owing to the lack of social sanctions associated with their aggression. There are also studies demonstrating more social acceptance of women's than men's physical aggression to partners: this raises the possibility of women's aggression to male partners being disinhibited compared to that towards other women.
In short, women are more aggressive toward their male partners and less so to their female associates; men are the opposite, being less aggressive toward their female partners and more so to other men. Both stem from patterns of socialization; boys are taught to inhibit their aggression toward girls, but girls don’t receive the same message about boys.
For many years, feminists had to contend with the rising tide of DV literature showing women to be as violent or more violent than their male partners. Obviously, that was a problem for their political views on the subject and more generally that women live their lives groaning under the jackboot of male power. So one researcher came up with the idea that perhaps, if DV motivations were broken down into coercive and non-coercive the data would demonstrate women to be non-controlling, thereby corroborating a cherished feminist claim.
Johnson argued that there were two qualitatively distinct forms of IPV: the first involves low levels by both sexes in the absence of the control motive (originally termed “common couple violence,” subsequently renamed as “situational couple violence”); the second involves coercive aggression by a man that is motivated by the need to maintain control over his partner (originally termed “patriarchal terrorism,” subsequently renamed as “intimate terrorism”).
So desperate was the feminist cause that Johnson rigged the game. Notice that he established two categories, neither of which included the concept of coercive aggression by women. In that way, he was able to conclude that there wasn’t any. But just to make sure he didn’t get the “wrong” data, he selected respondents who would be certain to support his assumptions. This is science?
Johnson found support for his original typology using samples selected for a high proportion of male-to-female aggression (e.g., women's shelter samples) and general surveys. This initial selection may well have produced the expected categories. The other sample Johnson used was a national violence against women survey that cannot be regarded as an unbiased sample of violence by both sexes. Other studies that have found broad support for the distinct sub-groups of intimate terrorism and situational couple violence have used shelter and general samples.
Unfortunately for the feminist narrative, other scientists more scrupulous than Johnson also studied the matter of coercive aggression among intimate partners and, like every other claim by gender feminists about DV, proved his to be wrong.
The assumptions Johnson made about sex differences in the intimate terrorist category are questioned by findings from other studies using non-selected samples, and those of male victims of IPV. Bates and Graham-Kevan found that men and women were equally likely to be categorized as intimate terrorists. Other studies indicate that control and controlling aggression are characteristic of both sexes.
So much for history, now to the study at hand by Bates, Graham-Kevan and Archer.
We tested three further predictions from male control theory: (1) that men would show more controlling behavior to their partners than women would; (2) that controlling behavior to a partner would be linked to IPV for men but not for women; and (3) that men's controlling behavior to a partner would be unrelated to their physical aggression to a same-sex non-intimate. We then tested some of Johnson's assumptions about IPV, control (perpetration and victimization) and gender…
And the findings in brief are:
Table I shows that women were significantly more physically and verbally aggressive to their partners than men were. Table I further shows that men used significantly more physical and verbal aggression towards non-intimate members of the same sex than women did. Table I further shows that women reported perpetrating significantly more controlling behavior overall than men did. However, men and women reported that their partners used controlling behavior at a similar rate. These findings do not support the hypothesis (from male control theory) that men would seek to control their partners to a greater extent than women would.
In short, nothing of the feminist paradigm of domestic violence remains.
The findings from the present study did not support the male control view of IPV, in the following ways. First, we found, as in many previous studies using unselected samples, that men were not more physically aggressive to their partners than women were. Indeed, we found the opposite, that women reported being more physically (and verbally) aggressive to their partners than men were. We also found, again consistent with many previous studies, that in the same sample men reported more physical aggression to same-sex non-intimates than women did.
Examining within-sex trends indicated that men showed lower levels of physical aggression to partners than to other men, whereas women showed higher levels of physical aggression to partners than to other women. The first trend supports the “chivalry” theory, that men are in general more inhibited in physically aggressing to a female partner than they are to another man. The findings for women would suggest that they are less inhibited in physically aggressing to a male partner than they are to another woman, perhaps because they know that chivalry will tend to prevent retaliation by a partner. This is consistent with studies showing a degree of social acceptance of women's physical aggression to partners. It also partially supports the findings of Felson, Ackerman, and Yeon who found that men are more inhibited about using violence against their wives whereas women do not have such inhibitions about violence towards their husbands.
And it turns out that, once again contrary to the gender feminist perspective, those who are violent within an intimate relationship tend to be violent generally.
Felson has been critical of feminist analyses that claim IPV has a different etiology from other types of aggression. Such perspectives would predict no or low associations between IPV and aggression to same-sex non-intimates. In contrast to this, there was a moderate correlation between these two measures in the current study, which was stronger for men than for women, although in both sexes aggression to same-sex non-intimates was a significant predictor of IPV in the regression analysis.
That conclusion is supported by many previous studies, for example,
In their longitudinal study of a birth cohort in New Zealand, Moffitt et al. found that the strongest predictor for both men and women who had perpetrated IPV was their record of physically abusive delinquent behavior. Felson and Lane also observed that offenders who perpetrated IPV were similar to other offenders in terms of their criminal convictions, alcohol use and experiences of previous abuse. Other studies demonstrate that IPV and aggression to same-sex non-intimates share similar risk factors.
It’s astonishing how long it’s taken us to get out from under the anti-science of gender feminism. People, both men and women, who’ve learned domestic violence commit domestic violence. Those who haven’t, both men and women, overwhelmingly tend not to. People, both men and women, learn violence from their parents. Erin Pizzey said the same thing over 40 years ago and is still saying it today. Forty years ago, radical gender feminists ran her out of the U.K. with death threats.
If we’d intervene with parents, teach them not to hit each other or their children, we’d go a long way toward achieving what we’ve long claimed to desire — an end to domestic violence. But under the influence of gender feminist ideology, our public policy refuses to admit what we’ve long known. So we continue to force abusive men into Duluth Model programs that have been proven to not work. And, since the domestic violence industry still widely ignores violent women, it provides no services for them. Meanwhile, massive amounts of money continue to fund domestic violence programs that have no effect on levels of violence.
Feminism’s claim that men commit domestic violence out of a need to control their female partners has been stood on its head. Now we know that far fewer men commit DV for that reason than do women. The silence on the subject from gender feminists is as deafening as were their threats of violence against Erin Pizzey for daring to tell the truth.
National Parents Organization is a Shared Parenting Organization
National Parents Organization is a non-profit that educates the public, families, educators, and legislators about the importance of shared parenting and how it can reduce conflict in children, parents, and extended families. Along with Shared Parenting we advocate for fair Child Support and Alimony Legislation. Want to get involved? Here’s how:
Together, we can drive home the family, child development, social and national benefits of shared parenting, and fair child support and alimony. Thank you for your activism.
#domesticviolence, #genderfeminism, #socialscience, #Dr.ElizabethBates