Using four published articles this paper takes a look at gender differences in addressing intimate partner violence (IPV), the causes, who’s at risk and what can prevent revictimization. Not only will this paper explore intimate partner violence (IPV) and the motives behind it, it will also discuss the court system, public policies, and the gender bias’ it holds. A portion of the studies analyzed in this paper used the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) to gain research. This study is the largest annual crime victimization survey worldwide. The information used for analysis in these particular journals was gathered from 1987 to 2003, and participants in the study were interviewed once every six months for three years.
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This paper attempts to evaluate Intimate Partner Violence and compare the severity and frequency of male perpetrators and female perpetrators. IPV is defined by Cho and Wilke as “a violent crime, including rape, sexual assault, aggravated assault, and simple assault, committed by a current of former spouse or boy – or girl friend”. This topic is important to study in order to reduce the prevalence of IPV and to be able to better help victims of IPV.
In a 2004 study, Henning and Feder compared the demographic characteristics, severity of intimate partner violence and criminal histories of men and women arrested for assaulting an intimate partner in order to analyze the increase in female arrestees due to IPV. The study will evaluate if women offend as often and as seriously as men.
The study analyzed 16,200 men and women from 1997-2001 that were arrested for misdemeanor or felony domestic violence assaults. Henning and Feder (2004) found 16.8% of people arrested during the four year period were women. It was found that females that were arrested were younger than male arrestees and were also young than the victim. In addition to this, the majority of men and women were African American. Additionally, female offenders were more likely to get arrested with their partner and also more likely than men to be charged with a felony assault and to have used a weapon. Contrary to this however, women were not more like to have injured their partner during the dispute. Males in the study were more likely to have had the police involved in a previous domestic abuse incident and also more than twice as likely to have prior arrests.
The study shows that while women do have a fairly high level of intimate partner violence, it was concluded that risk assessments associated with men that were arrested were much greater than risk assessments associated with women that were arrested. Furthermore, the criminal history of men that had been arrested previously for domestic violence and nonviolence charges may be more likely to continually be arrested for domestic violence, while women in the study “appear to be at low risk to engage in continued aggression or criminality” (Henning and Feder, 2004).
A significant weakness in this study is that it fails to take into account self defense from women. For example, if a woman was using violence as a form of self defense, she would still be included in the study. A major limitation of this study is that it only analyzes men and women in Shelby County, TN and may not be an accurate representation of all men and women.
In research acquired by Muller, Desmarais & Hamel (2009) it shows that women initiate physical aggression as often, or more often than men, rarely in self defense, and motivated for similar reasons, typically for the purpose of expressing frustration, to communicate or to control, our out of desire to retaliate. Our public policy focuses primarily on male- perpetrated domestic violence and the needs of female victims and their children (Muller et al., 2009). There are close to 2,000 shelters nationwide and only a handful offer beds or services to battered men and their children (Muller et al, 2009).
Muller et al. (2009) research reveals that women are significantly more likely to have their abuse protection request granted than men, with an approval rate of 91% versus men at 66%. Currently there are 227,941 active restraining orders against adults; almost all of them are domestic violence cases (Muller et al.,2009) Approximately 72% were protecting a woman from a restrained man, 19% restrained a same-sex partner, and 9% restrained a woman from a protected man according to Muller et al (2009). Female defendants were much more likely to use a dangerous weapon when attacking their victims and were also more likely to scratch or gouge their victims (Muller et al., 2009)
In Hamby’s summary article she brings to light the fact that women perpetrate physical abuse against their children in roughly equal numbers, if not more than men. Along with Muller et al. (2009), Hamby research also complies that women report more victimization crimes with the police. Interestingly enough once the police were called they were more likely to arrest assailants of females (36%) versus males (12%) (Hamby, 2005).
The findings were parallel in both Muller et al. (2009) and Hamby (2005) articles, concluding that due to the size differential injury rates are much higher in assaults against women. Research demonstrates that men far more hesitant to report domestic violence than women, even in the more severe cases (Muller et al., 2009). Muller et al (2009) also showed that male plaintiffs are more likely to drop a case given the decreased likelihood that they will report their abuse. This can be due to prevailing norms regarding masculinity, men may be opposed to convey their fear or to call the police even when they have every reason to do so (Muller et al.., 2009).
Cho and Wilke (2010) examined the effects an arrest has on a domestic violence offended and revictimization. Cho and Wilke analyzed men 18 and over who reported being a victim of IPV from a female perpetrator (female victims were also analyzed for sake of comparison).
In the study, Cho and Wilkes found, there are 8 times as many female IPV victims as male IPV victims, which highly contrasted with Hamby’s findings. Female victims in this study were younger than male victims. Similarly to Henning and Feder’s 2004 study, female victims reported more minor injuries while male victims endured more aggravated assaults (Cho and Wilkes, 2010). Also, as Henning and Feder reported, Cho and Wilke found “more female perpetrators used severe violence and weapons than did male perpetrators”. Male victims were revictimized less frequently than female victims; which may be in part due to what was suggested in Henning and Feder’s 2004 study, that women are less likely to be repeat offenders, and also with Hamby’s research that women report more victimization.
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In the study, there appeared to be no significant relationship between perpetrator arrest and reducing revictimization of males. However, perpetrator arrest reduced the odds of female revictimization by 45% (Cho and Wilkes, 2010). Also, while Cho and Wilke found there was no difference in revictimization in cases with or without weapons, it was found that victims of rape/sexual assault were three times more likely than victims of simple assault to be assaulted again. Like Henning and Feder, Cho and Wilke concluded that men are IPV victims much less frequently and they confirmed that IPV is mainly male violence.
A significant limitation in this study is that only 33 of the 298 men study were revictimized, and out of those 33 men, only 7 had perpetrators that were arrested (Cho and Wilkes, 2010). Since this number is so small, it would be hard to link arrests to the reduction of revictimization. Another limitation is that the study did not take into account the context of the violence, or what “type” of violence it was, much like Henning and Feder’s 2004 study.
A more conclusive study of IPV would provide a better insight to the understand of male vs. female perpetrators. However, based on the studies analyzed, one can assume that women are much more likely to be the victim of IPV than men. Muller et al. 2009 research deviates from these findings, but it is in the minority. This was the main concern in comparing the four studies, as it seemed like it would be very clear as to which were more likely to be perpetrators – men or women. For the reason that only one of the four studies found that women perpetrate more than men, it is safe to assume that women are more frequently victims of IPV.
As suggested, services and after care for victims of domestic violence is much more geared toward women. Research in the studies proposes men may be less apt to look for help after IPV as well as less likely to report IPV, which can be a severe factor in the skewing of information. Although research suggests that men are more capable of hurting women in IPV disputes, women and men both need to be held to the same standards when it comes to arrests and seriousness of the offenses. In order to more accurately assess the prevalence of IPV against men vs. against women the same action must be taken to each offender.
Cho, H, & Wilke, D. (2010). Gender differences in the nature of the intimate partner violence and effects of perpetrator arrest on revictimization. Journal of Family Violence, 25. Retrieved from http://www.springerlink.com.proxy.library.oregonstate.edu/content/g66p6m7l17h04783
Hamby, S. (2005). Measuring gender differences in partner violence: implications from research on other forms of violence and socially undesirable behavior. Sex Roles, 52(11), Retrieved from http://www.springerlink.com.proxy.library.oregonstate.edu/content/n73725h872gn7564/fulltext.pdf
Henning, K, & Feder, L. (2004). A Comparison of men and women arrested for domestic violence: who presents the greater threat?. Journal of Family Violence, 19(2), Retrieved from http://www.springerlink.com.proxy.library.oregonstate.edu/content/mju9703751346711
Muller, H, Desmarais, S, & Hamel, J. (2009). Do judicial responses to restraining order requests discriminate against male victims of domestic violence?. Journal of Family Violence, 24(8), Retrieved from http://www.springerlink.com.proxy.library.oregonstate.edu/content/r8j8u66319rl13j7/