men, masculinities and gender politics


Domestic violence and gender - An XY collection

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There is a persistent debate, in both community and academic circles, regarding domestic violence and gender, and in particular, whether women's domestic violence against men is as common or as serious as men's domestic violence against women. The following articles are useful contributions to this debate. While they acknowledge women's domestic violence, they show that the claim of gender symmetry in domestic violence is not supported by the evidence.

The evidence is that:

  • The problem of domestic / family / intimate partner violence is largely a problem of violence by men, against women and children.
  • Comparing men’s violence against female partners and ex-partners and women’s violence against male partners and ex-partners, men’s violence:
    • Is far more common
    • Has much worse impacts
    • Is far less likely to be in self-defence
  • If we only ‘count violent acts’, men appear to be 1 in 3 or 4 of victims of intimate partner violence. But as soon as we look at impact, meaning, context, and history, we find profound gender contrasts, demonstrating that men are a far smaller proportion of victims.

Also see the academic references listed here: General introductions to men's violence against women are available here:

Update: Advocates of claims regarding gender symmetry in domestic violence, and critics of feminist perspectives, include people such as Dutton and Straus. Recent critiques of Dutton's and Straus's work are made for example by DeKeseredy, Gondolf, Johnson, and Stark, and samples of their work are now available below.

Kimmel, Gender symmetry in dom.pdf126.17 KB
Belknap, Are heterosexual men also.pdf72.82 KB
Dobash, Women's violence.pdf1.67 MB
Saunders, Are physical assaults.pdf128.72 KB
DeKeseredy, Understanding the Complexities of Feminist 08.pdf88.84 KB
Flood, Violence against women PSS.pdf487.73 KB
Flood, Husband Battering.pdf559.14 KB
Bagshaw, Women, men and domestic violence.pdf184.94 KB
Hester, Who Does What to Whom Gender and Domestic Violence Perpetrators 09.pdf256.92 KB
Nixon, The Power to Name - Conceptualizing Domestic Violence as Violence Against Women 07.pdf211.93 KB
DeKeseredy, Understanding the Complexities of Feminist 08.pdf88.84 KB
DeKeseredy, Feminist contributions-to-understanding-woman-abuse-Myths,-controversies,-and-realities_2011.pdf191.1 KB
Johnson, Gender and types of intimate-partner-violence-A-response-to-an-anti-feminist-literature-review_2011.pdf194.32 KB
Stark, Do Violent Acts Equal Abuse 10.pdf195.44 KB
Gondolf, Theoretical and research support - Dutton 07.pdf232.8 KB
Burgess-Proctor, Review of Dutton Rethinking.pdf70.3 KB
DeKeseredy, Review of Dutton Rethinking.pdf107.57 KB
Allen, Is there gender symmetry in intimate partner violence 2011.pdf94.23 KB
Dragiewicz, Claims about women's non-fatal use of force 2012.pdf683.37 KB
Braaf, The gender debate in domestic violence 2013.pdf898.04 KB
Hamberger, Men’s and Women’s Experience of Intimate Partner Violence Review 2015.pdf413.49 KB