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What Can We Learn From the Controversy Over the Role of Gender in Partner Violence?

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The aim of this article is to reexamine the controversy over gender differences in partner violence perpetration and victimization through the following questions:

• What is the controversy about?

• What interests researchers from both sides of the controversy, and how do they perceive partner violence?

• What are the implications of the parties' different perspectives on how they study and understand partner violence?

• How is the controversy on gender symmetry in partner violence reflected in the discourse of researchers from both sides of the controversy?

• How many sides to the controversy are there?

• Who's who in which groups? To which group should I assign myself?

Answers to these questions indicate that the controversy over gender differences in partner violence perpetration and victimization cannot be resolved by empirical means. Moreover, it is suggested that the controversy cannot be resolved at all because of its paradigmatic nature. It stems from differing and competing paradigmatic outlooks, which disagree over the identification, definition, and understanding of partner violence. As such, the controversy cannot be mediated, resolved, or settled. Moreover, it does not have to be resolved, for it provides an opportunity to broaden and deepen our knowledge and understanding of the field.
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Keywords: FEMINISM; GENDER DIFFERENCES; GENDER SYMMETRY; PARADIGMATIC CLEAVAGE; PARTNER VIOLENCE; VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

Document Type: Short Communication

Publication date: 01 July 2013

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