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Thirty Years of Denying the Evidence on Gender Symmetry in Partner Violence: Implications for Prevention and Treatment

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Abstract:

The first part of this article summarizes results from more than 200 studies that have found gender symmetry in perpetration and in risk factors and motives for physical violence in martial and dating relationships. It also summarizes research that has found that most partner violence is mutual and that self-defense explains only a small percentage of partner violence by either men or women. The second part of the article documents seven methods that have been used to deny, conceal, and distort the evidence on gender symmetry. The third part of the article suggests explanations for the denial of an overwhelming body of evidence by reputable scholars. The concluding section argues that ignoring the overwhelming evidence of gender symmetry has crippled prevention and treatment programs. It suggests ways in which prevention and treatment efforts might be improved by changing ideologically based programs to programs based on the evidence from the past 30 years of research.

Keywords: DATING; MARRIAGE; PREVENTION; SELF-DEFENSE; TREATMENT

Document Type: Short Communication

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1891/1946-6560.1.3.332

Publication date: 2010-07-01

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  • Partner Abuse, a peer-reviewed journal, recognizes that physical and emotional abuse among dating, cohabitating and married partners is as a major public health and social problem in North America and around the world. Its purpose is to advance knowledge, practice and policies through a commitment to rigorous, objective research and evidence-based solutions. In addition to original research papers and literature reviews, the journal welcomes viewpoints and commentaries on the topic of partner abuse, as well as clinical case studies, book reviews and letters to the editor.
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