Are Women More Violent Than Men?
Violence against men is ignored
By John Maguire, Massachusetts News
August 2, 1999--Women are just as violent to their spouses as men, and they are almost
three times more likely to initiate violence in a relationship, according to a new
Canadian study, as reported in the National Post.
Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the study, however, is the source of the data -- a 1987 survey of 705 Alberta men and women that reported how often males hit their spouses.
Although women were asked the same questions as men in 1987, their answers were never published until now. When the original study was published in the Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science in 1989, it was taken up by feminist groups as evidence of the epidemic of violence against women.
It was cited extensively in a 1990 House of Commons committee report "The War Against Women", which ultimately led Brian Mulroney, the former prime minister, to call a two-year $10-million national inquiry into violence against women, according to the National Post.
The inquiry's 460-page report made 494 recommendations aimed at changing attitudes in governments, police departments, courts, hospitals and churches. It also led to a torrent of lurid news features about battered women.
The current study, which appears again in the Canadian Journal on Behavioural Science,
says that while the need to stop violence against women is obvious, violence against men
is being ignored.
"Our society seems to harbour an implicit acceptance of women's violence as relatively harmless," writes Marilyn Kwong, the Simon Fraser University researcher who led this study.
"Furthermore, the failure to acknowledge the possibility of women's violence jeopardizes the credibility of all theory and research directed toward ending violence against women."
The study shows roughly that 10.8% of men in the survey pushed, grabbed or threw objects at their spouses in the previous year, while 2.5% committed more severe acts, such as choking, kicking or using a weapon.
By contrast, 12.4% of women committed acts of minor violence and 4.7% committed severe violence.
The violence is seldom one-sided. Of those surveyed, 52% of women and 62% of men reported that both partners were violent.
When questioned about who initiated the most severe conflicts, 67% of women
believed they had started it; only 26% believed it was their male spouse.
"It happens all the time. People only tell one half of the story," says
Eugen Lupri, a University of Calgary sociologist whose research shows similar patterns of
violence against men.
"Feminists themselves use our studies, but they only publish what they like."
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