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Food for thought: study findings on domestic abuse provocative

In the realm of domestic partnerships in the United States, it is hard to think of anything that spells more of a scourge and daunting social challenge than domestic violence.

The statistics that accompany family violence in Arkansas and nationally are immediately stark and disheartening. Myriad studies confirm that domestic abuse does not confine itself to any singular demographic; rather, it plays out in unfettered fashion across all groupings in American life, whether based on race, ethnicity, socio-economic status or other factors.

One persistent and unchallenged reality regarding domestic violence has always been that it is perpetrated most often by men, with females and children being victims in a disproportionate number of instances.

That would seem to be indisputable, with shelter groups, police agencies and domestic violence advocates across the country often confirming that victims are predominantly women and children.

Despite that reality, though, it is also indisputable that men, too, are victims of violence, including verbal and physical abuse. Some organizations -- including the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence -- state that males who are victimized do not come forward to report the violence against them to the same degree that females inform authorities. That disinclination to report can hinder attempts to develop an accurate picture regarding the dimensions of female-on-male violence in domestic relationships.

One recent study posits that perceived notions regarding such violence might be inaccurate. Researchers in a United Kingdom study cite findings indicating that women initiate violence in relationships at even a higher level than men do, and couple that with what a media article discussing the study terms a “higher prevalence of controlling behavior.”

A caveat needs to be inserted regarding the research, namely, that the study was limited to college students of a similar age and thus, arguably, not widely representative.

Nonetheless, the study does serve as a discussion board for the subject of male violence victims in domestic partnerships. Although conceding that females are far more often victims of abuse, violence against males is also a reality that needs to be openly acknowledged and addressed.

Source: Medical Daily, “Domestic violence against men: women more likely to be ‘intimate terrorists’ with controlling behavior in relationships,” Lizettte Borreli, June 30, 2014

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