In "soft" sciences like sociology, it's much more difficult to detect manipulation of research, than in "hard" sciences like physics. Soft science researchers who strive for objectivity deserve an extra measure of respect. Sadly, far too many researchers are more concerned with pushing an agenda than with objectivity. These same problems are not unknown in the world of journalism. Since the soft sciences and the media have a powerful influence on social policies in this country, this affects every family and every individual.

Breaking the Science is about the broken "science" that's being used to create law and drive social policy.


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Pure Male-On-Female Violence Accounts for Only 15% of Cases of Heterosexual Domestic Violence!

By Mark B. Rosenthal

March 31, 2008

Our nation's policies for dealing with the problem of domestic violence are based on the presumption that the vast majority of such violence is perpetrated by violent men against non-violent women. It turns out that cases of purely male-on-female violence actually account for only 15% of cases of heterosexual domestic violence. Fully 50% of cases involve violence perpetrated by both partners, and surprisingly, 35% of cases involve purely female-on-male violence. Furthermore the injury rates for men and women were far closer than most would expect. 45% of all DV injuries were suffered by men.

Yet organizations receiving government funding to treat battered women commonly promote the belief that 95% of cases of domestic violence are purely male-on-female. For example, the YWCA's webpage at http://www.ywca.org/site/pp.asp?c=djISI6PIKpG&b=297539 states that "In heterosexual relationships, 95 percent of all victims are female; and 95 percent of all perpetrators are male."

It is no surprise therefore, that every year domestic violence organizations report that the problem is worse than ever, and ask for more and more money. Throwing money at a problem to fund a solution that is based on such a profoundly incorrect diagnosis is bound to fail!

The study, by CDC researchers Daniel J. Whitaker, PhD, Tadesse Haileyesus, MS, Monica Swahn, PhD and Linda S. Saltzman, PhD, found that a surprising 70% of cases of non-reciprocal violence were perpetrated by women. (To obtain a copy of the study, go to http://www.ajph.org/cgi/content/abstract/97/5/941.)

The researchers studied 11,370 18- to 28-year-olds who had been in a total of 18,761 heterosexual relationships. They found that about 50% of cases of intimate partner violence were reciprocal, which they define as "perpetrated by both partners", and 50% were non-reciprocal. Cases of violent women and non-violent men accounted for 70% of non-reciprocal cases, whereas cases of violent men and non-violent women accounted for 30% of non-reciprocal cases. Thus:

  • 50% of all cases of intimate partner violence among heterosexuals involve violence by both partners
  • 35% of all cases involve a violent woman and an non-violent man
  • 15% of all cases involve a violent man and an non-violent woman

Table 3 in the journal article on this study provides data on injury rates. The following data has been excerpted to make it easier to compare male-on-female violence to female-on-male violence in both reciprocal and nonreciprocal cases:

TABLE 3—Weighted Estimates of Violence Frequency and Injury Occurrence
by Reciprocity Status and Perpetrator Gender:
Young Adults Aged 18-28 Years,
National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health,
United States, 2001

Gender by Reciprocity



Violence Frequency



Low
(n = 4447)
Medium
(n = 1549)
High
(n = 760)
Injury Injuries as % of total
injuries in category
(reciprocal or non-reciprocal)
Non-reciprocal Men against women 457 119 76 136 51%
Women against men 1264 294 91 130 49%
Reciprocal Men against women 1426 504 292 714 56%
Women against men 1300 632 301 557 44%
Reciprocal and non-reciprocal Men against women 1883 623 368 850 55%
Women against men 2564 926 392 687 45%
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