This groundbreaking paper “Intimate Terrorism by Women Towards Men: Does it Exist?” by Dr. Denise A. Hines and Emily M. Douglas (2010) sheds light on an often overlooked aspect of intimate partner violence (IPV) – male victims in domestic violence perpetrated by female partners – and serves as a crucial resource for alienated or targeted parents who may be grappling with this issue. By challenging traditional notions of IPV and exposing the reality that both men and women can be victims and perpetrators, this study emphasizes the importance of inclusivity and understanding in addressing family violence.
This study looks at whether women can also be guilty of a serious form of violence in relationships called intimate terrorism (IT), which is usually seen as something that men do to control women. The researchers studied 302 men who faced violence from their female partners and compared them to men in the community who didn’t seek help. They found that the men who asked for help were victims of IT, while the other men experienced a milder form of violence called common couple violence (CCV). The authors say that it’s important to recognize that women can also be violent and controlling in relationships, and this should be taken into account when making policies and providing help to victims.
The debate surrounding female-perpetrated IPV has been driven by different theoretical perspectives and methodological approaches. Some researchers argue that women’s violence against men is a result of self-defense, retaliation, or sociocultural context. However, empirical studies show that self-defense or retaliation is not the primary reason women cite for their use of IPV. Additionally, research has shown that men can experience fear, injury, and psychological distress as a result of women’s violence, challenging the argument that women’s violence is trivial or has no significant impact on men.
“Intimate Terrorism” and its effects on male victims in domestic violence
Johnson’s (1995) distinction between Common Couple Violence (CCV) and Intimate Terrorism (IT) attempted to reconcile these divergent viewpoints. He argued that IPV found in community and population-based samples is CCV, characterized by low-level, low-frequency violence, whereas violence found in shelter and other clinical samples is IT, characterized by a general pattern of control and more frequent and severe violence. Johnson further argued that IT is primarily perpetrated by men and can be explained by patriarchal theories, while violent resistance is predominantly by women.
However, Johnson’s conclusions have been challenged by research that shows women can perpetrate IPV and controlling behaviors at significant rates. The first larger-scale study of male victims of IPV (Hines et al., 2007) found patterns of victimization that might be consistent with IT victimization, including physical aggression, psychological aggression, and controlling behaviors. This evidence suggests that it is important to consider the experiences of male victims of IPV and controlling behaviors and to recognize that IPV is not exclusively perpetrated by men or explained by patriarchal theories alone.
This paper discusses a study conducted to understand the experiences of men who have faced intimate partner violence (IPV) from their female partners. The study expected to find common couple violence (CCV) mostly in the community sample of men and intimate terrorism (IT) in the help-seeking sample. The female partners of men in the help-seeking sample were expected to use more physical IPV, severe psychological IPV, and controlling behaviors than their male partners and the female partners of men in the community sample. The study involved two samples of male participants: a help-seeking sample and a community sample. All participants were required to speak English, live in the US, be between 18 and 59 years old, and have been involved in an intimate relationship with a woman for at least one month in the previous year. The help-seeking sample had experienced a physical assault from their female partner within the previous year and had sought help for it.
The study used the Revised Conflict Tactics Scales (CTS2) to measure the extent of aggression and injuries in the participants’ relationships. The psychological aggression items were supplemented with additional items from the Psychological Maltreatment of Women Inventory.
Result: Men confirmed to be victims of Intimate Terrorism
This study aimed to understand the experiences of male victims in domestic violence. The research compared a group of men seeking help for IPV with a community sample of men. It found that the women partners of men in the help-seeking group had significantly higher rates of all types of IPV.
The help-seeking men also had significantly higher rates of injuries than their female partners. They were injured twice as frequently as their female partners. Comparing the help-seeking group to the community group, the female partners in the help-seeking group were significantly more likely to use IPV, and the men in the help-seeking group were much more likely to sustain injuries.
The study also found that help-seeking men used violence at high rates, but their rates of IPV were lower than those of their female partners. The research suggests that the majority of IPV by help-seeking men was likely a reaction to their female partner’s violence, or violent resistance. This type of relationship, where the woman is the primary aggressor, exists, but the prevalence of such relationships is unknown.
This study has some limitations that should be considered in future research on male victims of violence from female partners. One limitation is that the study relies only on the men’s reports of their experiences, without external validation. This could lead to overestimation of the female partners’ violence or underestimation of their injuries. Additionally, the study only looked at men who sought help for their experiences, potentially excluding a large number of men who did not seek help.
Despite these limitations, the study found that men can be victims of severe violence from female partners. This challenges the idea that only men commit such violence and that it is based on patriarchal power dynamics. The study suggests that awareness campaigns, professional training, and research should be more inclusive of both male and female victims and perpetrators of partner violence. This would help to better understand and address the needs of all victims.