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Overlooked Victims of Domestic Violence: Men

Forty years of research has documented the sometimes severe intimate partner violence (IPV) men can sustain from their female partners, yet research into these men's experiences has remained largely stagnant


The International Journal for Family Research and Policy has released a number of research papers. This new journal will examine and study contemporary society and pressing social questions. Using empirical research methods and various types of analysis that say they will develop scholarly research and public policy to study pressing social questions.

Their goal is to primarily focus on issues related to healthy parenting.


Develop balanced research regarding the structure and process of families.
Develop policies related to political, social, legal, and economic structures to support the needs of children and parents.
Develop educational programs and partnerships for the community that are inclusive and promote healthy families and parenting.

Here is one of the published research papers.
Forty years of research has documented the sometimes severe intimate partner violence (IPV) men can sustain from their female partners, yet research into these men’s experiences has remained largely stagnant, and policies and procedures for handling IPV have been based on a patriarchal model that assumes that perpetrators are men and victims are women. We conducted the first large-scale study of 302 men who sustained severe IPV from their female partners and sought help. In this paper, we address five questions: (1) Who are these men? (2) What types of and how much IPV are they experiencing? (3) What are the consequences of this IPV? (4) What prevents them from leaving? (5) What happens when they try to get help? We compare our findings with smaller-scale studies of male victims and research on female IPV victims. We conclude with a discussion of the policy and practice implications of this research.

Overlooked Victims of Domestic Violence: Men by Denise Hines
Findings of the Dunedin Study
Yes Women Can and do perpetrate Domestic Violence
They found that 40 per cent of male couple members in the study had perpetrated at least one of a list of 13 physically abusive acts, ranging from slapping and kicking to forcing sex and use of a weapon, while 50 per cent of women had.

The world's longest-running birth cohort data collection, the Dunedin Study, found women were just as likely to be domestic violence perpetrators as men.

Timaru Herald said

The findings of an in-depth domestic violence study, which showed violent conduct almost evenly split between the genders, are potentially cause for concern, a senior police officer says.

South Canterbury Family Violence Co-ordinator Senior Constable Steve Wills was reacting to the findings of an analysis forming part of the world-renowned Dunedin Study, which has focused closely on the lives of more than 1000 people born in Dunedin in the year ending March 1973.

"It presents a challenging picture. If the findings were a true reflection of our community, we should be concerned," he said.

Wills said recent 'mainstream' studies on the subject had shown about 80 per cent of the perpetrators of domestic violence were men.

However, in their paper "A couples analysis of partner abuse with implications for abuse-prevention policy", authors Terrie Moffitt, Richard Robins and Avshalom Caspi found a more even split between the genders when it came to violence in the home.

They found that 40 per cent of male couple members in the study had perpetrated at least one of a list of 13 physically abusive acts, ranging from slapping and kicking to forcing sex and use of a weapon, while 50 per cent of women had.

The data did not fit the male-dominance model, which attributes aggression mostly to men, the researchers concluded.

"[It] would suggest the need for policy that encourages development and evaluation of programmes to reduce physical abuse by women," the authors stated.

Wills said because the Dunedin Study participants had no concerns over privacy and their confidentiality was guaranteed, he believed the information they shared was likely to be less confused than that provided by respondents in mainstream studies. They also did not have to be concerned with outcomes.

"Other victims' (non-Dunedin Study) evidence resulted in interventions from agencies across the board," he said.

Wills has worked in anti-violence since 1999 and said he had seen female victims calling for assistance earlier than male victims in violent situations.

"Men will not ask for assistance because they feel shame being beaten or dominated. It's complex."

Anti-violence programmes for men in South Canterbury were meeting demand but there was a waiting list for education and support programmes around managing anger for women, he said.

He said traditionally women were seen as nurturers and supporters but there had been a shift away from those roles as women took up leadership positions and became primary money earners.

South Canterbury Women's Refuge manager Dawn Rangi-Smith had not seen the research but wanted to know if it included the context of the abuse and whether women who committed violent acts were reacting to abuse from men.

Though the refuge was gender-based, Rangi-Smith said it was important to look at violence as a whole and not separate it.


The world's largest domestic violence research data base, 2,657 pages, with summaries of 1700 peer-reviewed studies.

Murray Straus - 30 Years of Research on Partner Violence:
Denials and Distortions of the Evidence and What to do About it.

Running Time: 55 minutes.

In this presentation, one of the most significant and respected figures in the field debunks a number of established myths about intimate partner violence.

Part 1 summarizes results from many studies which show that: (1) Women perpetrate and initiate physical attacks on partners at the same or higher rate as men. (2) Most partner violence is mutual. (3) Partner violence has multiple causes, only one of which is to preserve a patriarchal societal and family system. (4) Motives for partner violence are parallel for men and women. (5) Self-defense explains only a small percent of partner violence by women. (6) Men cause more fear and injury, but about a third of the injuries and deaths are inflicted by female partners.

Part 2 provides empirical evidence that these research results are often denied, suppressed or misrepresented. This includes publications of the National Institute of Justice and scientific journals.

Part 3 argues that ignoring this overwhelming evidence has crippled prevention and treatment programs and suggests ways in which prevention and treatment efforts might be improved by changing ideologically-based programs to programs based on evidence from the past 30 years of research.

Erin Pizzey - A History of the Domestic Violence Movement in the Western World

Running Time: 54 minutes.

The presenter begins with the early history of the domestic violence movement, and her efforts to open the first shelter for women and their children in 1971. The early history of the feminist movement in England is discussed, and the ensuing battle between advocates who conceptualized domestic violence as a human and family issue rather than a gender issue, and those who used the movement as a means of funding and advancing a radical political ideology based on Marxist teaching.

This presentation describes in detail the importance of this ideological split, and how the needs and wishes of women have often been ignored. The presentation ends with a general description of where we are now and suggestions for the future.

Don Dutton - Biased Assimilation, Belief Perseverance Groupthink, and the Social Psychology of the Domestic Violence Movement

Running Time: 80 minutes.

Social psychological studies of groups and individuals reveal how both ward off ideas and data that disconfirm strongly held beliefs. Biased assimilation and belief perseverance refers to the differential processing of belief consonant and belief dissonant data. Groupthink refers to how social influence factors enhance this assimilation bias.

We examine, with several examples, this processing feature both in social science studies of domestic violence and in government responses to the problem. All bias exists in one direction and is not, therefore, simply random error. It exists in the direction of the “paradigm” of domestic violence (i.e. male = perpetrator, female= victim) which has its roots in Mackinnon’s Marxist notion of gender relations, and hence, associates maleness with oppression and domination and femaleness with victim-hood.

These broad associative complexes color all perceptions of intimate violence as being instrumental and dominating for males, and self defensive and acceptable for females. The numerous shortcomings of this view are discussed with examples.

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