John Hamel, LCSW, a court-certified batterer treatment provider and author of the book Gender-Inclusive Treatment of Intimate Partner Abuse, has just come out with The Context of Intimate Partner Violence: Three Common Myths–An Annotated Bibliography. In it, Hamel identifies three common myths about Intimate Partner/Domestic Violence:
MYTH #1: Mutual abuse is a rare phenomenon. Even if men and women assault each other at comparable rates, men are typically the initiators and the dominant partners.
THE FACTS: Most Intimate Partner Violence is mutual. Women initiate somewhat more often than men.
MYTH #2: Men use violence intentionally to control their partners, whereas women use violence in self-defense, or as a way to express frustration or to communicate.
THE FACTS: Self-defense is an equally unlikely motive for both genders. Male and female perpetrators are motivated to abuse their partners for various reasons, including a desire to retaliate or to communicate feelings, and there is no convincing evidence that men are significantly more motivated to control.
MYTH #3: Only men are controlling and engage in the combination of repeat emotional and physical abuse known as “battering’ or “intimate terrorism.’
THE FACTS: Although women are far more often the victims of sexual coercion, they are just as likely as men to be the perpetrators of most psychological abuse and controlling behaviors, and this includes stalking when broadly defined.
To read Hamel’s full paper, click here.
Hamel helped found the National Family Violence Legislative Resource Center and works with Michael Robinson and the California Alliance for Families and Children to reform California’s domestic violence policies. The pair are sponsoring the ground-breaking conference “From Ideology to Inclusion” early next year.
[Note: If you or someone you love is being abused, the Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men and Women provides crisis intervention and support services to victims of domestic violence and their families.]