Skip to content

Finally Feminism 101 – But doesn’t evidence show that women are just as likely to batter their partners as men? PT.1

July 26, 2011

Catalogue- Tigtog at Finally Feminism 101 has published a tricky and misleading page on domestic violence. I’m going to go through it and try to root out all it’s incomplete, misleading and untrue claims. Tigtog of Finally Feminism is acknowledging that women commit DV as often as men but is setting the bar at “battery” (battery is a term no longer in common use in this context. Modern terminology for more serious domestic violence in domestic violence research literature includes “Intimate Terrorism” and “Severe PV”, but not battery). Tigtog of Finally feminism 101 is alleging that there is no evidence of symmetry in severe DV and that the experts agree with her.  Lets see how her claim and sources hold up.

Tigtog @ FF101 begins with..

FAQ : But doesn’t evidence show that women are just as likely to batter their partners as men?

A: No. This is an often repeated claim based on either faulty understanding or outright misrepresentation of a few studies made using the CONFLICT TACTICS SCALE (CTS) or similar self-report surveys. One of the authors of the original study, Richard Gelles, categorically rejects this interpretation of his research, and has done ever since these factoids began to be popularised.

Catalogue -Tigtog is trying to mislead us right out of the gate. First they claim that “this is an often repeated claim based on either faulty understanding or outright misrepresentation of a few studies” and then through sleight of hand reduces the number of studies from a vague “few“, down to just one when they say  “the original study”. The truth is that at the time this FF101 article was published, there were many studies that found that women “batter” or commit severe domestic violence against men at equal or higher rates than women do men. [1].[2],[3],[4],[5],[6],[7],[8],[9],[10],[11],[12],[13],[14],[15],[16],[17],[18],[19],[20],[21],[22],[23],[24],[25],[26],[27]

Tigtog goes on to refute the “few studies” and “the original study” with two quotes..

by Richard J. Gelles, University of Rhode Island Family Violence Research Program


“This factoid cites research by Murray Straus, Suzanne Steinmetz, and Richard Gelles, as well as a host of other self-report surveys. Those using this factoid tend to conveniently leave out the fact that Straus and his colleague’s surveys as well as data collected from the National Crime Victimization Survey (Bureau of Justice Statistics) consistently find that no matter what the rate of violence or who initiates the violence, women are 7 to 10 times more likely to be injured in acts of intimate violence than are men.”

By Richard J. Gelles

“[S]elf-described battered husbands, men’s rights group members and some scholars maintain that there are significant numbers of battered men, that battered men are indeed a social problem worthy of attention and that there are as many male victims of violence as female. The last claim is a significant distortion of well-grounded research data.

To even off the debate playing field it seems one piece of statistical evidence (that women and men hit one another in roughly equal numbers) is hauled out from my 1985 research – and distorted – to “prove” the position on violence against men. However, the critical rate of injury and homicide statistics provided in that same research are often eliminated altogether, or reduced to a parenthetical statement saying that “men typically do more damage.” The statement that men and women hit one another in roughly equal numbers is true, however, it cannot be made in a vacuum without the qualifiers that a) women are seriously injured at seven times the rate of men and b) that women are killed by partners at more than two times the rate of men.”

“[W]hen we look at injuries resulting from violence involving male and female partners, it is categorically false to imply that there are the same number of “battered” men as there are battered women. Research shows that nearly 90 percent of battering victims are women and only about ten percent are men…[T]here are very few women who stalk male partners or kill them and then their children in a cataclysmic act of familicide. The most brutal, terrorizing and continuing pattern of harmful intimate violence is carried out primarily by men.

Indeed, men are hit by their wives, they are injured, and some are killed. But, are all men hit by women “battered?” No. Men who beat their wives, who use emotional abuse and blackmail to control their wives, and are then hit or even harmed, cannot be considered battered men. A battered man is one who is physically injured by a wife or partner and has not physically struck or psychologically provoked her.

My estimate is that there are about 100,000 battered men in the United States each year – a much smaller number than the two to four million battered women – but hardly trivial.

Despite the fact that indeed, there are battered men too, it is misogynistic to paint the entire issue of domestic violence with a broad brush and make it appears as though men are victimized by their partners as much as women. It is not a simple case of simple numbers. The media, policy makers, and the public cannot simply ignore – or reduce to a parenthetical status the outcomes of violence, which leave more than 1,400 women dead each year and millions physically and/or psychologically scarred for life.”

Catalogue – Neither of these quotes can be verified at the original source at this time and both appear be out of date and often contradictory of newer perspectives and research on gender symmetry in severe domestic violence. The first quote is nestled in the middle of numerous quotes by Richard Gelles here that are taken from this paper. The quote that FF101 is using, in which Richard Gelles appears to be talking about himself in the third person is the only quote that cannot at this time, be connected to Richard Gelles at an original source.  In the second quote, he seems to be responding to comments about a study that he published in 1985.  We cannot verify this quote at an original source at this time either. That’s not to say that he did not say either of these things, he may well have. Our position is that if he did say these things, he said them some decades ago and that they are based on older and feminist perspectives on domestic violence and that it’s very unlikely that Tignog and Finally Feminism 101 don’t know that this is the case.

Next, Tigtog makes this claim but doesn’t provide a current citation.

“Murray Straus also rejects the factoid interpretation of the original CTS research. Women are self-reported to be just as likely to strike their partners as men are, but they are not just as likely to batter their partners as men are. That is a crucial distinction.”

Catalogue – Modern studies by Murray Straus find that women are equally or more likely than men to commit severe domestic violence. In terms of severe assaults a higher rate of perpetration by women occurred in a majority (18 of the 31) of the sites.)” [23] Results indicate that for minor violence the rates for both men and women are 22% and for severe violence rates are 10% for men and 11% for women.)”[24]. “Results indicate that there were no significant differences between males and females in either the overall prevalence of physical aggression or the prevalence of severe attacks.  However, when only one partner was violent it was twice as likely to be the female than the male <19.0% vs 9.8%>.  Moreover, in terms of severe aggression females were twice as likely to be violent than men <29.8% vs 13.7%>)[25]

[1] Arias, I., Samios, M., & O’Leary, K. D. (1987).  Prevalence and correlates of physical aggression during courtship. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 2, 82-90. (Used Conflict Tactics Scale with a sample of 270 undergraduates <95 men, 175 women> and found 30% of men and 49% of women reported using some form of  aggression in their dating histories with a greater percentage of women engaging in severe physical aggression.)

[2] Basile, S. (2004).  Comparison of abuse by same and opposite-gender litigants as cited in requests for abuse prevention orders.  Journal of Family Violence, 19, 59-68.  (Author examined court documents in Massachusetts for the year 1997 and found that, “male and female defendants, who were the subject of a complaint in domestic relations cases, while sometimes exhibiting different aggressive tendencies, measured almost equally abusive in terms of the overall level of psychological and physical aggression.)

[3] Caulfield, M. B., & Riggs, D. S. (1992). The assessment of dating aggression: Empirical evaluation of the Conflict Tactics Scale.  Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 4, 549-558. (Used CTS with a sample of 667 unmarried college students <268 men and 399 women> and found on a number of items significantly higher responses of physical violence on part of women.  For example, 19% of women slapped their male partner while 7% of men slapped their partners, 13% of women kicked, bit, or hit their partners with a fist while only 3.1% of men engaged in this activity.)

[4] Cercone, J. J., Beach, S. R. H., & Arias, I. (2005).  Gender Symmetry in Dating Intimate Partner Violence: Does Behavior Imply Similar Constructs?  Violence and Victims, 20 (2) 207-218.  (A sample of 414 college students <189 men, 225 women> responded to the CTS2.  Results reveal that male and female subjects were equally likely to be perpetrators of minor violence in intimate dating relationships, but women were twice as likely as men to perpetrate severe violence <15.11% vs 7.41%>).

[5] DeKeseredy, W. S. & Schwartz, M. D. (1998).  Woman abuse on campus.  Results from the Canadian National survey.  Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.  (A large sample <1,835 women; 1,307 men> of Canadian college students completed the Conflict Tactics Scale.  Results reveal that women report engaging in higher rates of violence than men.  Specifically, 46.1% of women reported engaging in some physical violence in intimate relationship since leaving high school.  With 38% employing “minor” violence and 19% employing “severe” violence.)

[6] Dutton, D. G. (2006).  Rethinking Domestic Violence.  Vancouver: UBC Press.  (A thoughtful and scholarly analysis of research and treatment in the area of Domestic Violence.  Offers much insight, particularly to therapists and policy makers with regard to Intimate Partner Violence <IPV>.  Concludes that men are as likely as women to be victims and both suffer similar physical and psychological consequences of IPV.)

[7] Dutton, D. G. (2007).  Female intimate partner violence and developmental trajectories of abusive families.  International Journal of Men’s Health, 6, 54-71.  (A review article which concludes that female violence towards intimate male partners is just as severe and has similar consequences as male violence towards women.  However, most criminal justice interventions and custody evaluations assume that males are more likely to be IPV perpetrators.)

[8] Fergusson, D. M., Horwood, L. J., & Ridder, E. M. (2005).  Partner violence and mental health outcomes in a New Zealand birth cohort.  Journal of Marriage and Family, 67, 1103-1119.  (Examined extent of domestic violence experience and perpetration in a sample of 828 <437 women, 391 men> young adults who were 25 years old.  Subjects were part of a long term longitudinal study and were administered the CTS2.  Results reveal that “there were more men exposed to severe domestic violence than women” and that mild and moderate rates were similar for men and women.  Overall, 39.4% of women and 30.9% of men reported perpetration scores of 3 or higher.  Authors report that men and women reported similar rates of injury <3.9% for women vs. 3.3% for men>.  In terms of initiation of partner assaults, 34% of women and 12% of men reported initiating physical assaults.)

[9] George, M. J. (1999). A victimization survey of female perpetrated assaults in the United Kingdom.  Aggressive Behavior, 25, 67-79. (A representative sample of 718 men and 737 women completed the CTS and reported their experience as victims of physical assaults by women during a five year period. Men reported greater victimization and more severe assaults than did women.  Specifically, 14% of men compared to 7% of women reported being assaulted by women. Highest risk group were single men.  The majority (55%) of assaults on men were perpetrated by spouses, partners, or former partners.)

[10] Hoff, B. H. (1999).  The risk of serious physical injury from assault by a woman intimate.  A re-examination of National Violence against women survey data on type of assault by an intimate.  (A re-examination of the data from the most recent National violence against women survey (Tjaden & Thoennes, 1998) shows that “assaulted men are more likely than assaulted women to experience serious attacks by being hit with an object, beat up, threatened with a knife or being knifed.”)

[11] Katz, J., Carino, A., & Hilton, A. (2002).  Perceived verbal conflict behaviors associated with physical aggression and sexual coercion in dating relationships: a gender-sensitive analysis.  Violence & Victims, 17, 93-109.  (A sample of 223 <115 males, 108 females> heterosexual dating undergraduates completed the CTS2.  Results indicate that there were no differences for men and women in the perpetration of physical aggression toward partners.)

[12] Laroche, D. (2005).  Aspects of the context and consequences of domestic violence-Situational couple violence and intimate terrorism in Canada in 1999.  Table 8.  Quebec City: Government of Quebec.  (Author presents a reanalysis of Canadian General Social Survey <see Brown, 2004> and reports great similarity in male and female victimization.  Specifically, 83% of men and 77% of women feared for their lives because they were unilaterally terrorized by their partners.  A similar percentage <84%> of men and women who were terrorized by their partners received medical attention.  Reports 8% of women and 7% of men report being physically abused within last 5 years.)

[13] Magdol, L., Moffitt, T. E., Caspi, A., Fagan, J., Newman, D. L., & Silva, P. A. (1997).  Gender differences in partner violence in a birth cohort of 21 year Olds: bridging the gap between clinical and epidemiological approaches.  Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 65, 68-78.  (Used CTS with a sample of 861  21 year Olds <436 men, 425 women> in New Zealand.  Physical violence perpetration was reported during the previous 12 months by 37.2% of women and 21.8% of men, with severe violence perpetration by women at 18.6% and men at 5.7%.)

[14] Makepeace, J. M. (1986).  Gender differences in courtship violence victimization.  Family Relations, 35, 383-388. (A sample of 2,338 students <1,059 men, 1,279 women> from seven colleges were surveyed regarding their experience of dating violence.  Courtship violence was experienced by 16.7 % of respondents.  Authors report that “rates of commission of acts and initiation of violence were similar across gender.”  In term of injury, both men (98%) and women (92%) reported “none or mild” effects of violence.)

[15] McLeod, M.  (1984).  Women against men: An examination of domestic violence based on an analysis of official data and national victimization data.  Justice Quarterly, 1, 171-193.  (From a data set of 6,200 cases of spousal abuse in the Detroit area in 1978-79 found that men used weapons 25% of the time while female assailants used weapons 86% of the time, 74% of men sustained injury and of these 84% required medical care.  Concludes that male victims are injured more often and more seriously than female victims.)

[16] Morse, B. J. (1995).  Beyond the Conflict Tactics Scale: Assessing gender differences in partner violence.  Violence and Victims, 10 (4), 251-272.  (Data was analyzed from the National Youth Survey, a longitudinal study begun in 1976 with 1,725 subjects who were  drawn from a probability sample of households in the United States and who, in 1976, were between the ages of 11-17.  This study focused on violence as assessed by the CTS between male and female married or cohabiting respondents during survey years 1983 <n=1,496>, 1986 <n=1,384>, 1989 <n=1,436>, and 1992 <n=1,340>.  For each survey year the prevalence rates of any violence and severe violence were significantly higher for female to male than for male to female.  For example, in 1983 the rate of any violence male to female was 36.7, while the rate of any violence female to male was 48; in 1986, the rate of severe violence male to female was 9.5, while the rate of severe violence female to male was 22.8.  In 1992, the rate of any violence male to female was 20.2, with a severe violence rate male to female of 5.7; while the rate of any violence female to male was 27.9, with a severe violence rate female to male of 13.8.  Author notes that the decline in violence over time is attributed to the increase in age of the subjects.  Results reveal <p. 163> that over twice as many women as men reported assaulting a partner who had not assaulted them during the study year.”  In 1986 about 20% of both men and women reported that assaults resulted in physical injuries.  In other years women were more likely to self report personal injuries.)

[17]  Murphy, J. E. (1988).  Date abuse and forced intercourse among college students.  In G. P. Hotaling, D. Finkelhor, J. T. Kirkpatrick, & M. A. Straus (Eds.)  Family Abuse and its Consequences: New Directions in Research (pp. 285-296).  Beverly Hills, CA: Sage. (A sample of 485 single college students <230 men, 255 women> completed the CTS.  Overall men reported greater victimization than women.  For example, 20.7% of men compared to 12.8% of women reported being kicked, bit or hit with a fist and 6% of men compared to 3.6% of women reported being beaten up by their heterosexual partner.)

[18] Rollins, B. C., & Oheneba-Sakyi, Y. (1990).  Physical violence in Utah households.  Journal of Family Violence, 5, 301-309.  (In a random sample of 1,471 Utah households, using the Conflict Tactics Scale, it was found that women’s rate of severe violence was 5.3% compared to a male rate of 3.4%.)

[19] Sommer, R. (1994).  Male and female partner abuse: Testing a diathesis-stress model.  Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada.  (The study was in two waves: the first was from 1989-1990 and included a random sample of 452 married or cohabiting women and 447 married or cohabiting men from Winnipeg, Canada; the second was from 1991-1992 and included 368 women and 369 men all of whom participated in the first wave. Subjects completed the CTS & other assessment instruments. 39.1% of women reported being physically aggressive  (16.2% reporting having perpetrated severe violence) at some point in their relationship with their male partner.  While 26.3% of men reported being physically aggressive (with 7.6% reporting perpetrating severe violence) at some point in their relationship with their female partner. Among the perpetrators of partner abuse, 34.8% of men and 40.1% of women reported observing their mothers hitting their fathers.  Results indicate that 21% of “males’ and 13% of females’ partners required medical attention as a result of a partner abuse incident.” Results also indicate that “10% of women and 15% of men perpetrated partner abuse in self defense.”)

[20] Steinmetz, S. K. (1981).  A cross cultural comparison of marital abuse.  Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare, 8, 404-414.  (Using a modified version of the CTS, examined marital violence in small samples from six societies: Finland, United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, Belize, and Israel <total n=630>.  Found that “in each society the percentage of husbands who used violence was similar to the percentage of violent wives.”  The major exception was Puerto Rico where men were more violent.  Author also reports that, “Wives who used violence… tended to use greater amounts.”)

[21] Stets, J. E. & Henderson, D. A. (1991).  Contextual factors surrounding conflict resolution while dating: results from a national study.  Family Relations, 40, 29-40.  (Drawn from a random national telephone survey, daters <n=277; men=149, women=128> between the ages of 18 and 30, who were single, never married and in a relationship during the past year which lasted at least two months with at least six dates were examined with the Conflict Tactics Scale.  Findings reveal that over 30% of subjects used physical aggression in their relationships, with 22% of the men and 40% of the women reported using some form of physical aggression.  Women were “6 times more likely than men to use severe aggression <19.2% vs. 3.4%>…Men were twice as likely as women to report receiving severe aggression <15.7% vs. 8%>.”  Also found that younger subjects and those of lower socioeconomic status <SES> were more likely to use physical aggression.)

[22] Stets, J. E., & Pirog-Good, M. A. (1990).  Interpersonal Control and Courtship Aggression, Journal of Personal and Social Relations, 7, 371-394.  (A random sample of white heterosexual college students <335 men, 448 women> were assessed with the CTS.  Findings reveal that women compared to men perpetrated significantly more mild and severe aggression toward their dating partners and men compared to women sustained significantly more mild and severe aggression from their dating partners.)

[23] Straus, M. A. (2001).  Prevalence of violence against dating partners by male and female university students worldwide.  Violence Against Women, 10, 790-811.  (Dating aggression was studied at 31 universities in 16 countries worldwide.  Responding to the revised Conflict Tactics Scale were 8666 students <5919 women, 2747 men>.  Results reveal that overall 25% of men and 28% of women assaulted their dating partner in the past year.  At 21 of the 31 universities studied a larger percentage of women than men assaulted their dating partner.  In terms of severe assaults a higher rate of perpetration by women occurred in a majority (18 of the 31) of the sites.)

[24] Straus, M. A., & Medeiros, R. A. (2002, November).  Gender differences in risk factors for physical violence between dating partners by university students.  Paper presented at annual meeting of the American Society for Criminology, Chicago, Illinois.  (A sample of 232 men and 334 women responded to revised CTS.  Results indicate that for minor violence the rates for both men and women are 22% and for severe violence rates are 10% for men and 11% for women.)

[25] Straus, M. A., & Ramirez, I. L. (2002, July).  Gender symmetry in prevalence, severity, and chronicity of physical aggression against dating partners by university students in Mexico and USA.  Aggressive Behavior, 33, 281-290.  Available at:  (Reports findings from four samples of university students in Juarez, Mexico, El Paso and Lubbock, Texas, and New Hampshire.  Subjects (N=1,554) responded to the revised Conflict Tactics Scale.  Results indicate that there were no significant differences between males and females in either the overall prevalence of physical aggression or the prevalence of severe attacks.  However, when only one partner was violent it was twice as likely to be the female than the male <19.0% vs 9.8%>.  Moreover, in terms of severe aggression females were twice as likely to be violent than men <29.8% vs 13.7%>).

[26] Williams, S. L., & Frieze, I.  (2005a).  Courtship behaviors, relationship violence, and breakup persistence in college men and women.  Psychology of Women Quarterly, 29, 248-257.  (A sample of college students <215 women and 85 men; 77% Caucasian, 13% African-American, 5% Asian & the rest mixed or other> responded to the revised Conflict Tactics Scale, CTS2.  Results revealed that women were significantly more likely than men to engage in mild (40% vs 23%) and severe (14% vs 4%) acts of violence with their partners.)

[27] Williams, S. L., & Frieze, I. H. (2005b).  Patterns of violent relationships, psychological distress, and marital satisfaction in a national sample of men and women.  Sex Roles, 52 (11/12), 771-784.  (Data from a National Comorbidity Survey was examined.  In a sample of 3,519 men and women it was found that 18.4% were involved in a violent relationship.  Most violence, both mild and severe, was mutual.  However, women were more likely than men to initiate both mild and severe violence.)

  1. Anon permalink

    I think everyone knows that male on female violence has more damage potential… does that make female on male violence a non-issue? Don’t you think that this at least deserves a place at the table… don’t you think that we should reduce both?

    • Of course, The point is that feminism has been lying about abuse rates and monopolized the resources to the exclusion of men and children that are abused by women since they aggressively took control of the DV movement in the 1970s. What FF101 are doing here is trying to refute the truth about domestic violence to maintain that it is really a male on female problem. The truth is that women commit at least half of it, and most of the child abuse and policy and PSAs need to reflect that truth, instead of the feminist lies.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: