Donald G. Dutton & Tonia L. Nicholls (2005): The gender paradigm in domestic violence research and theory: Part 1—The conflict of theory and data. Aggression and Violent Behavior 10, 680–714.

 

 

Abstract

Feminist theory of intimate violence is critically reviewed in the light of data from numerous incidence studies reporting levels of violence by female perpetrators higher than those reported for males, particularly in younger age samples. A critical analysis of the methodology of these studies is made with particular reference to the Conflict Tactics Scale developed and utilised by Straus and his colleagues. Results show that the gender disparity in injuries from domestic violence is less than originally portrayed by feminist theory. Studies are also reviewed indicating high levels of unilateral intimate violence by females to both males and females. Males appear to report their own victimization less than females do and to not view female violence against them as a crime. Hence, they differentially under-report being victimized by partners on crime victim surveys. It is concluded that feminist theory is contradicted by these findings and that the call for "qualitative" studies by feminists is really a means of avoiding this conclusion. A case is made for a paradigm having developed amongst family violence activists and researchers that precludes the notion of female violence, trivializes injuries to males and maintains a monolithic view of a complex social problem.

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