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Masculinities: Interdisciplinary Studies on Gender

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Violence against women, Spousal abuse -- Statistics, Family violence -- Analysis


The most recurrent backlash against women's safety is the myth that men are battered as often as women. Suzanne Steinmetz created this myth with her 1977 study of 57 couples, in which four wives were seriously beaten but no husbands were beaten. By a convoluted thought process she concluded that her finding of zero battered husbands implied that men just don't report abuse and therefore 250,000 American husbands are battered each year by their wives, a figure that exploded to 12 million in the subsequent media feeding frenzy.

Men have never before been shy in making their needs known, so it is peculiar that in 17 years, this supposedly huge contingent of "battered men" has never revealed itself in the flesh. Could it be that it simply does not exist? Indeed, a careful analysis of domestic violence, using everything from common experience to medical studies to U.S. National Crime Survey data, shows that only three to four percent of inter-spousal violence involves attacks on men by their female partners.


Originally appeared in Masculinities: Interdisciplinary Studies on Gender published by The National Organization for Men Against Sexism - NOMAS.

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