Straus blames Battered-Womens Shelter Movement for Denying Husband-Battering

It has often been claimed that the DV researchers, even those who have documented female-on-male battery, say that women still are the real victims. For instance, (Kate Orman) writes:

The researchers [Straus, Gelles and Steinmetz] themselves, while acknowledging that husband battering does occur, did not conclude that women and men are equally the victims of domestic violence.

It is misleading to say that this study shows that men and women are equally responsible for domestic violence - and that feminists are therefore lying, or that DV programs which concentrate on women victims are sexist.

Here's what they do say.

Report is a reminder men are battered too

The Washington Times, Jan 31, 1994, Section A, Joyce Price

Murray A. Straus, a sociologist and co-director for the Family Research Laboratory at the University of New Hampshire, blames "women in the battered [women's] shelter movement" for denying that women physically abuse husbands, ex-husbands and boyfriends, or playing down such abuse.

"There's this fiction in the shelter movement that in all cases, it's him, not her" who's responsible for domestic assaults, Mr. Straus said in a recent interview.

Mr. Straus said at least 30 studies of domestic violence - including some he's conducted - have shown both sexes to be equally culpable. But he said some of the research, such as a recent Canadian national survey, "left out data on women abusing men ... because it's politically embarrassing."

Women and men "are almost identical" in terms of the frequency of attacks such as slapping, shoving, and kicking, Mr. Straus said.

Using information on married couples obtained from 2.994 women in the 1985 National Family Violence Survey, Mr. Straus said he found a rate for assaults by wives of 124 per 1,000 couples, compared with 122 per 1,000 for assaults by husbands.

The rate of minor assaults by wives was 78 per 1,000 couples, and the rate of minor assaults by husbands was 72 per 1,000, he said. For the category of severe assaults, he said, the rate was 46 per 1,000 couples for assaults by wives and 50 per 1,000 for assaults by husbands.

"Neither difference is statistically different," Mr. Straus wrote in the journal Issues in Definition and Measurement. "As these rates are based exclusively on information provided by women respondents, the near equality in assault rates cannot be attributed to a gender bias in reporting."