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Myth That Women Are as Violent as Men: A Reply to Its Supporters

NCJ Number
Family Violence & Sexual Assault Bulletin Volume: 21 Issue: 2/3 Dated: Summer/Fall 2005 Pages: 28-31
Ila Schonberg MSW
Date Published
4 pages
This article argues that current efforts to equate the nature and motives for women's perpetration of violence in an intimate relationship with those of men is a myth, and the author discusses the dynamics of male-female relationships to show that any violence by women against male partners is typically defensive and retaliatory.
In male-female intimate relationships, men who are abusive to their partners typically use violence and psychological intimidation to control the woman. This male behavior becomes the context of the relationship to which women respond in adaptive ways, depending on their personalities and coping mechanisms. Women's abusive behaviors toward their male partners are not typically an effort to control the partner through physical violence, but rather to reclaim self-respect, fend off the man's assault, protect children and others, or to try and end the partner's repetitive abuse. Promoting the myth that women are as violent as men in intimate relationships is to continue the tactic of blaming the victim. Women can only be compared to men as perpetrators of domestic violence when they initiate physical and psychological aggression as a means of controlling men who have no agenda of violent domination. Such violence by women is rare. Most often women engage in violence as victims who are attempting to cope and survive under the violent attempts of the male to dominate and control the woman's behavior and feelings. 22 references