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Abstract

Research on partner abuse has lagged in much of the world where attention has been on other problems (such as famine and war) and other crimes against women (e. g., honor killings, genital mutilation). We conducted a sweeping review of scholarly articles published in peer-reviewed journals and by government agencies outside of the United States and English-speaking developed nations that provided quantitative data on physical, psychological, and sexual abuse of intimate partners as well as consequences, risk factors, and attitudes. One hundred sixty-two articles reporting on more than 200 studies in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, and Europe met the inclusion criteria from various types of samples. Most of the studies reported on female victimization only, but 73 reported on both male and female victimization. We also conducted an analysis of data from our literature review, including 1 major cross-national study, to determine the relationship among prevalence of abuse, social factors, and women's empowerment. Results indicate that partner abuse is a widespread problem around the world, with multiple causes. Overall prevalence of abuse is higher in Third World countries compared to the United States, and rates for physical and psychological abuse are comparable across gender in most countries when all types of samples are considered. No significant association was found between rates of partner violence (PV) and a nation's level of human development. However, a significant relationship was found between a nation's level of gender empowerment and rates of PV by both males and females but only for university dating samples from the International Dating Violence Study (IDVS). In addition, an analysis of the IDVS indicates that efforts by 1 partner to dominate the other are positively correlated with physical abuse perpetration for women, but not for men. Among the limitations of this review was the relatively few numbers of large population studies that ask about both male and female perpetration and victimization and the consequences and context of PV. Implications of the findings include the need for a broader conceptualization of PV as not merely a gender problem but also (and perhaps primarily) a human problem.
Partner Abuse, Volume 4, Number 1, 2013
6 © 2013 Springer Publishing Company
http://dx.doi.org/10.1891/1946-6560.4.1.6
Partner Abuse Worldwide
Esteban Eugenio Esquivel-Santoveña, PhD
Centre for Forensic and Criminological Psychology
University of Birmingham, United Kingdom
Teri L. Lambert, MA
Intimate Partner Violence Educator and Consultant, Atlanta, GA
John Hamel, LCSW
Private Practice, San Francisco, CA
Research on partner abuse has lagged in much of the world where atten-
tion has been on other problems (such as famine and war) and other crimes
against women (e.g., honor killings, genital mutilation). We conducted a
sweeping review of scholarly articles published in peer-reviewed journals and
by government agencies outside of the United States and English-speaking
developed nations that provided quantitative data on physical, psychologi-
cal, and sexual abuse of intimate partners as well as consequences, risk fac-
tors, and attitudes. One hundred sixty-two articles reporting on more than
200 studies in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, and Europe
met the inclusion criteria from various types of samples. Most of the stud-
ies reported on female victimization only, but 73 reported on both male and
female victimization.
We also conducted an analysis of data from our literature review, in-
cluding 1 major cross-national study, to determine the relationship among
prevalence of abuse, social factors, and women’s empowerment. Results
indicate that partner abuse is a widespread problem around the world,
with multiple causes. Overall prevalence of abuse is higher in Third World
research
ONLINE TABLES: Detailed summaries of the 162 articles and 2001 studies reviewed in this
article can be found in six tables available online at http://www.springerpub.com/pa. Click on the
link to “The Partner Abuse State of Knowledge Project” and go to Topic 14 in the online document.
Partner Abuse Worldwide 7
countries compared to the United States, and rates for physical and psy-
chological abuse are comparable across gender in most countries when all
types of samples are considered. No significant association was found be-
tween rates of partner violence (PV) and a nation’s level of human devel-
opment. However, a significant relationship was found between a nation’s
level of gender empowerment and rates of PV by both males and females but
only for university dating samples from the International Dating Violence
Study (IDVS). In addition, an analysis of the IDVS indicates that efforts
by 1 partner to dominate the other are positively correlated with physical
abuse perpetration for women, but not for men. Among the limitations of
this review was the relatively few numbers of large population studies that
ask about both male and female perpetration and victimization and the con-
sequences and context of PV. Implications of the findings include the need
for a broader conceptualization of PV as not merely a gender problem but
also (and perhaps primarily) a human problem.
KEYWORDS: intimate partner abuse; domestic violence; worldwide IPV; underdeveloped nations;
third world
Partner abuse, more commonly known as domestic violence, consists of physical, psy-
chological, and sexual forms of abuse as well as controlling behaviors (including stalk-
ing) against an intimate partner. More recently, the terms intimate partner violence
(IPV) and partner violence (PV) have also been used.
Results from the Partner Abuse State of Knowledge Project (PASK)—the most
recent, comprehensive reviews of the empirical literature on partner abuse— indicate
that in the United States and other English-speaking western industrialized coun-
tries, across all types of samples (large population, community, dating students,
clinical, legal), 35.8% of women and 21.7% of men report to having been physically
assaulted by an intimate partner at some point in their lifetime and 18.8% of women
and 19.8% of men report assaults in the past year (Desmarais, Reeves, Nicholls,
Telford, & Fiebert, 2012a). Lifetime rates for physical assault perpetration are 31.5%
for women and 18.4% for men and past year rates are 28.6% and 22.3%, respectively
(Desmarais et al., 2012b). Thus, women report higher perpetration rates compared
to men regardless of the time, whereas higher female victimization is found among
lifetime rates, but not among past year reports.
Among dating university students and young adults, lifetime victimization
rates are 36.4% for women and 26.7% for men and 27.8% for women and 33.2%
for men in the past year (Desmarais et al., 2012a). Lifetime rates of perpetra-
tion are 30.0% for women and 18.0% for men and 27.5% and 20.9% for the pre-
vious year (Desmarais et al., 2012b). Compared to overall rates across samples,
physical assault rates among dating university students and young adults are
clearly higher for past year victimization and to approximately the same degree
for men and women. However, rates for lifetime victimization and all perpetration
8 Esquivel-Santoveña et al.
are comparable between university dating students and young adults and overall
rates reported across all samples.1
Most intimate partner abuse is bidirectional, perpetrated by both parties
(Langhinrichsen-Rohling, Misra, Selwyn, & Rohling, 2012), driven by similar motives
(Langhinrichsen-Rohling, McCullars, & Misra, 2012), and related to essentially
the same risk factors (Capaldi, Knoble, Shortt, & Kim, 2012). Compared to Whites,
rates of physical abuse in ethnic minority populations are both higher (e.g., African
Americans) and lower (e.g., Asians), and rates are comparable across gender. Among
lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) populations, rates of physical abuse
are somewhat higher than those for heterosexuals (West, 2012).
Lifetime rates of psychological abuse (e.g., making derogatory comments, shaming,
ridiculing) and controlling behavior perpetration (e.g., monitoring, isolating, threat-
ening, taking over finances) are 80%. Across studies, 40% of women and 32% of men
report psychological abuse, whereas 41% of women and 43% of men report controlling
behaviors (Carney & Barner, 2012). Between 4.1% of women and 0.5%–2% of men
report at least one incident of stalking during their lifetime; and according to large
population samples, 4.5% of women and 0.2% of men have been physically forced to en-
gage in sexual intercourse (raped) by an intimate partner (Carney & Barner, 2012).
THE IMPACT OF ABUSE
Partner abuse in its various forms takes an enormous toll on individuals, families, and
societies. In the United States and other industrialized English-speaking countries,
victims experience significantly more physical injuries, diminished physical function-
ing and health outcomes, and higher rates of mental health symptoms compared to
nonvictims. Emerging research suggests that the effects of psychological abuse may
be similar across gender; however, there is no question that female victims are signifi-
cantly more impacted by physical abuse than are males, especially in terms of physical
injuries requiring medical attention and rates of reported posttraumatic stress disor-
der (PTSD) and depression (Lawrence, Orengo, Langer, & Brock, 2012). Partner abuse
has also been correlated with both internalizing and externalizing symptoms among
child witnesses (MacDonnel, 2012; Sturge-Apple, Skibo, & Davies, 2012). According to
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other studies reported by
the organization, Advocates for Human Rights (2011), the overall costs of PV in the
United States range from $5.8 billion to $12.6 billion annually, $8.1 billion in Austra-
lia, and $4.2 billion in Canada. In the United States, just the cost alone of treating
victims in health care settings is more than $4 billion based on the 1995 figures.
THEORIES ON PARTNER ABUSE
Although a serious social and public health problem, partner abuse has only been
recognized as such since the late 1970s and early 1980s—beginning in the United
States and the United Kingdom. It was initially framed among policymakers, victim
Partner Abuse Worldwide 9
advocates, and, to a lesser extent, among treatment providers and even scholars as
a problem of men abusing women to maintain the privileges that go with being the
dominant sex in a patriarchal society (Kimmel, 2002; Pagelow, 1984; Walker, 1983;
Yllo, 1993), and the movement to protect women from violence in the home was sub-
sumed within the broader feminist cause of advancing the social, political, and eco-
nomic standing of women as a whole. Feminist-based research (e.g., Dobash & Dobash,
1979; Dobash, Dobash, Wilson, & Daly, 1992) delineated associations between societal
factors and the victimization of wives by their husbands, and some compelling data
from the National Family Violence Surveys, using socioeconomic measures, found
that states in the United States with the most patriarchal structures, in which men
as a whole had the greatest amount of power, also reported the highest rates of PV
against women (Yllo & Straus, 1990).
However, there have been limitations to feminist theory. Coleman and Straus
(1990), for example, found that although marriages characterized by a dominant hus-
band predicted higher rates of violence against wives, it was also the case that domi-
nance by wives was correlated with a higher incidence of husband abuse. In national
surveys, most respondents did not endorse the slapping of wives by husbands, and
to the extent that slapping was approved at all, it was for wives hitting husbands
(Straus, Kaufman-Kantor, & Moore, 1997). A meta-analysis of the research literature
by Sugarman and Frankel (1996) determined that although proviolent attitudes by
men are significantly correlated with the physical abuse of women, the correlation
between patriarchal beliefs and violence are minimal, if nonexistent.
Following these studies and pioneering research by Straus and his colleagues on
family violence and conflict at the Family Research Laboratory (Straus, 1993, 1999;
Straus & Gelles, 1990), research on personality factors (e.g., Dutton, 1994), and key
national studies and meta-analytical reviews of the literature (Archer, 2000; Tjaden &
Thoennes, 1998)—recently substantiated by the PASK body of research evidence—it
has become increasingly obvious to scholars that partner abuse in the United States
and industrialized English-speaking nations is primarily a human problem (Dutton
& Nicholls, 2005), best explained from a mental health and development perspec-
tive rather than an exclusively feminist analysis. Notwithstanding lingering dissent
by some feminist scholars (e.g, Dekeseredy, 2011; Johnson, 2006) regarding partner
abuse in the United States and developed English-speaking countries, results from
PASK would suggest that although partner abuse is, in some respects, asymmetrical
across gender (for rates of sexual coercion and physical stalking and the impact of
physical abuse on victims), it is, in many other respects, quite symmetrical (preva-
lence rates of physical and psychological abuse, motives and risk factors, and the
impact on child witnesses).
GENDER INEQUALITY AROUND THE WORLD
The empirical evidence presented so far has been limited to the United States,
Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand, where the standard of
10 Esquivel-Santoveña et al.
living is relatively high and women have considerably greater social, economic, and
political power than most other parts of the world. These five countries rank 37, 16,
32, 2, and 25, respectively, in their degree of development among 169 countries; and
they rank in the top 22% in the overall status of women, as measured by the Gender
Inequality Index (United Nations Development Programme, 2010). Given the signifi-
cant correlations found in the United States between PV and low income, it would
seem likely that PV would be higher in less developed countries. In addition, if an
association, however tenuous, has been found between patriarchal structures and
rates of IPV among married couples in the United States, would it not be reasonable
to expect even stronger associations between IPV and patriarchal structures in coun-
tries with less gender equality?
Partner abuse was finally recognized as a significant social problem in the United
States only within the past three decades despite the country’s enormous wealth
and academic resources. Therefore, it should not be surprising that underdeveloped
countries are just now exhibiting a concern for PV and the need for research on this
subject. In these areas of the world, there is a lack of scholars willing and devoted
to conducting research partly because of the sensitive task of infiltrating the tight
societal walls protecting culture and religious practice and belief (Lee, 1993) as well
as an even more glaring lack of research funding. It is also the case that in some
research where the lingua franca is not English, national publishing is preferred
because of local or regional research areas of interest; hence, researchers in non–
English-speaking countries tend to focus on consulting and publishing their work in
their regional languages in national forums or journals instead of accessing and pub-
lishing in more international English-published journals (Bordons & Gómez, 2004;
Rodríguez-Gallardo, 2010).
Furthermore, the problem of partner abuse in many countries is only one of many
crimes suffered by women, and a consensus has yet to be reached that women and
children should be awarded an innate right as human beings to be free from abuse.
In some countries, women are valued to a lesser extent than a man’s livestock and
are bought, sold, bartered for, and treated as slaves by their purchasers. Civil and
religious wars, genocide, and poverty plague these countries; such civil unrest tends
to overshadow an injustice that is still seen as either a “family matter” or simply not
a salient issue at all. Throughout the world and every minute of every day, there are
incidents of rape, sex trafficking, female genital mutilation (FGM), physical torture,
chemical assault, dowry murders, and many other inhumane forms of violence per-
petrated on women (Amnesty International, 2012; Ellsberg, Jansen, Heise, Watts, &
Garcia-Moreno, 2008; Rudd, 2001; World Health Organization [WHO], 2011).
In countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Sierra Leone in
Africa, the violent rapes of women and young girls are committed as a tool of war to
humiliate the families and tribes, bringing shame and despair on their communities
(Nanivazo, 2012). Although these rapes may be committed by an enemy outside of the
home, the impact is felt within the family because women are held responsible and
beaten or divorced for the violation committed against them, and girls are murdered
Partner Abuse Worldwide 11
by their own fathers for the shame their rape brought onto the family. In Egypt and
other countries, there is an expectation that the woman being purchased by the groom
is in a state of purity before marriage. This is often assured through FGM. Although
this practice was officially banned by the Egyptian government in 1997, the WHO
reports that 80% of young women are still being circumcised in this unhealthy and
brutal manner (WHO, 2005).
Throughout much of the world, patriarchy remains the prevailing social structure
of a country, extending to the home where husbands have the authority, elders enjoy
higher status over younger family members, and women mostly fall at the lower level
of the hierarchy. India is one such patriarchal country, also patrilineal and collectiv-
istic. Dowry murders, defined as “the killing of a woman, ostensibly for not bringing
sufficient dowry to the marriage” (Narayan, as cited in Rudd, 2001), have become
associated with India. Although not exclusively an Indian practice, dowries are most
specific to the Indian culture. Violence against women is so prevalent in India that
films from that country often romanticize this type of violence to their primary audi-
ence, who are young men. These films routinely include scenes of physical violence,
rape, and murder of women and portray these as acceptable behaviors as part of the
courtship process (Malley-Morrison, 2004).
Turkey is another highly patriarchal society. In one study (Kocacil, Kutlar, &
Erselcan, 2007), the reasons women gave about why they had been abused by their
husbands included failure to fulfill domestic duties, failure to fulfill husband’s sexual
will, women wanting to work, engaging in behaviors contrary to traditional percep-
tions of honor, or for no reason at all. In fact, a woman may be viewed as “ abusing”
her husband if she fails to obey him, does not gain his permission before going
somewhere, lies or does not provide him with emotional support, or requests to be
treated as an equal (Malley-Morrison, 2004). Likewise, in some parts of Europe where
patriarchal traditions are strong, “abuse” is not understood in the same way as it may
be in the United States. In a study on general maltreatment in Portugal, 67% of all
acts of maltreatment were committed against a spouse or significant other (Machado,
Goncalves, Matos, & Dias, 2007). When asked to define what it means for a woman to
be “abusive” toward a man, respondents were likely to mention infidelity, neglecting
her chores, not being a good housekeeper, or not preparing a dessert for every meal.
Infidelity is a one-way definition of abuse because it is not considered abusive in
many countries for a man to be unfaithful (Malley-Morrison, 2004).
Finally, machismo is a commonly accepted attitude for men in Latino cultures.
Although each culture seems to define the term differently, in some countries such
as Nicaragua, machismo suggests antagonism toward women because men perceive
themselves as being the opposite of their female counterparts in every way, and society
regards “violent attitudes and behaviors in men as evidence of masculinity” (Malley-
Morrison, 2004). Other research has also viewed machismo as a personality constel-
lation based on callous sex attitudes, a view of violence as manly, and a conception
of danger as something exciting to men in general that stem from the ideology of the
warrior and the social organization after combat or war (Mosher & Tomkins, 1988).
12 Esquivel-Santoveña et al.
PARTNER ABUSE, NORMATIVE BELIEFS ABOUT PARTNER
VIOLENCE, AND SOCIETAL CHANGE
Research documenting partner abuse and associated normative beliefs has been
mostly conducted in the United States (e.g., Simon et al., 2001; Sorenson & Taylor,
2005; Stewart-Williams, 2002). Beliefs about PV in the United States are more sup-
portive of female partner abuse than male partner abuse (Straus et al., 1997), and it
has been suggested that these findings may explain symmetry in rates of PV in the
United States (Straus, 2009). However, such research is almost nonexistent in less
developed countries with higher levels of gender inequality. One exception is a study
conducted with university students in Mexico (Esquivel-Santoveña, Dixon, Gurrola,
Balcázar, & Díaz, 2012), which found high female partner abuse perpetration and
victimization as well as attitudes supportive of female-perpetrated IPV at higher
rates than those supportive of male-perpetrated IPV. Such findings (also see Barajas
& Ramírez, 2007) suggest a cultural shift in normative beliefs about sex roles among
men and women among younger generations.
GENDER EMPOWERMENT MEASURE AND THE GENDER
INEQUALITY INDEX
A previous analysis by Archer (2006) found that a nation’s low score on the Gender
Empowerment Measure (GEM) is predictive of higher rates of female PV victimiza-
tion. Although more developed societies such as the United States and the United
Kingdom typically register lower levels of structural gender inequality and more
symmetry in rates of partner abuse, less industrialized nations show higher gender
inequality levels and asymmetry in rates of PV.
The GEM is no longer in favor by the United Nations and is replaced by the newer
Gender Inequality Index (GII; United Nations Development Programme, 2010),
which reports on the degree of gender inequality in three dimensions by means of
five indicators: women’s reproductive health (maternal mortality and adolescent
fertility), empowerment of women (women’s parliamentary representation and edu-
cational attainment), and labor market (women’s labor force participation). A higher
position in the GII ranking of the United Nations Development Programme (2010)
indicates a lower GII value, hence a lower level of gender inequality in a particular
country. A lower position in the GII ranking indicates a higher GII value and, conse-
quently, higher level of gender inequality.
HUMAN DEVELOPMENT INDEX
Lower income and socioeconomic status (SES) has been associated with partner
abuse in more developed societies (Capaldi et al., 2012). The Human Development
Index (HDI) has been deemed a strategic indicator of a society’s advancement in
three dimensions by means of four indicators: health (people’s life expectancy at
Partner Abuse Worldwide 13
birth), education (mean years of schooling and expected years of schooling), and living
standards (gross national income per capita). A higher positioning in the HDI rank-
ing indicates a higher HDI value and, consequently, higher development achieved in
the areas assessed by the HDI. A lower position in the United Nations HDI ranking
indicates more challenges in these areas assessed by the HDI in particular nation.
We thought it would be of theoretical interest to examine for any association
between GII as well as a broader societal-level variable of human development and
advancement (HDI) and partner abuse in less studied non–English-speaking coun-
tries and less developed societies.
METHOD
The purpose of this study is twofold. First, we sought to conduct an exhaustive litera-
ture review of studies concerned with partner abuse in countries outside of the United
States and industrialized English-speaking countries, as committed within the con-
fines of a current or previous marital or cohabitating relationship, dating violence
among students or other identified dating groups, and sexual violence of any nature
other than as defined as child abuse. We included only studies that reported on quan-
titative research, either peer-reviewed studies that has appeared in peer-reviewed
scholarly journals or studies based on large population samples sponsored by official
government agencies. Excluded studies were identified as being qualitative, explor-
atory or review articles, or articles focused primarily in countries not included within
the parameters of this review. There were also hits to the searches that referenced
violence but did not solely focus on PV or did not address prevalence or risk factors.
Articles were limited to those published in English, although the study itself could be,
and was expected to be conducted in any country specified within the parameters of
the identified regions. The continents and countries included in the research included
Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Europe (exclud-
ing the United Kingdom). International studies that were all inclusive of the identi-
fied countries were categorized separately.
Second, we conducted statistical analyses on data from studies conducted with
general population/large community and university student samples to determine
the relationships between IPV rates of prevalence, social factors, and women’s
empowerment, as previously discussed.
The keywords used to search for the studies included domestic violence, domes-
tic assault, partner violence, intimate partner violence, intimate partner abuse, dat-
ing violence, sexual assault, sexual abuse, sexual violence, interpersonal violence,
violence against women, spousal abuse, battered women, abused women, family vio-
lence, prevalence, listing specific continents, and countries as the target population.
The terms domestic violence, spouse abuse, and intimate partner violence yielded the
largest results.
Searches were conducted from two locations: Georgia Southwestern State Uni-
versity in Americus, Georgia, United States, including a complimentary trial use of
14 Esquivel-Santoveña et al.
EBSCO; and University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, United Kingdom.
The databases used were SocINDEX, SciVerse ScienceDirect, MEDLINE, BioMed
Central, Psychology & Behavioral Sciences Collection, Oxford Journals (Oxford
University Press), Oxford Journals of Education, Directory of Open Access Journals
(DOAJ), and PLOS ONE.2
Out of the more than 2,000 hits produced from the searches, we identified 162 arti-
cles that met our inclusion criteria and were subsequently summarized and included
in the online tables. Including several articles that reported on multiple countries,
we included data from more than 200 samples from 83 countries. This review was
initiated in November 2010 and redirected in March 2012, with final completion in
October 2012.
One challenge to finding adequate studies was locating those conducted in other
countries but published in English. Others included the vast number of countries con-
sidered undeveloped or underdeveloped and how to go about comparing studies that
incorporated multiple cultures within each identified continent. Within any given
continent, there are many common languages spoken, diverse cultures, various reli-
gious practices, and multiple country dynamics, which inherently cultivates fear and
apprehension from the sample population. Still, another challenge in comparing stud-
ies was the varied definitions of abuse when definitions were provided. Nonetheless,
this review represents the most inclusive collection of English-published quantitative
research accumulated on the topic of partner abuse worldwide.
We sought to answer a few basic questions, as suggested by the body of research
evidence, as well as current theories presented in the previous section:
1. What are the rates of physical, psychological, and sexual abuse and controlling
behaviors between intimate partners higher in countries outside of the United
States and other English-speaking developed nations?
2. How do these rates compare across gender?
3. What is the impact of partner abuse on victims and families?
4. What are the risk factors for partner abuse?
5. On a societal level, what is the association between a country’s rank order of
its level of human development and rates of partner abuse?
6. What is the association between the status of women and their rates of part-
ner abuse victimization?
7. On a relationship level, is dominance by one partner correlated with rates of PV
against the other partner in the rest of the world as it is in the United States?
Statistical Analyses
To examine and answer research questions 5, 6, and 7, standard linear regressions
were conducted using SPSS version 20. For research question 5, the positioning of
countries in the ranking of the HDI (United Nations Development Programme, 2010)
was treated as an independent variable and partner abuse perpetration rate as the
Partner Abuse Worldwide 15
dependent variable. For research question 6, the positioning of countries in the rank-
ing of the GII (United Nations Development Programme, 2010) was treated as the
independent variable and female partner abuse victimization as the dependent vari-
able. For the final research question, separate linear regression analyses were con-
ducted for male and female dominance mean scores provided by Straus (2008) as the
independent variable and rates of physical aggression as the dependent variable.3
RESULTS OF LITERATURE REVIEW
The research findings are organized first by the major world regions of Asia (includ-
ing one country in Oceania), Africa, the Middle East, Latin America (including the
Caribbean), and Europe, beginning with a brief overview of the major cultures and
languages as well as information on the level of human development and the status
of women. With the GEM no longer in favor by the United Nations, the newer GII
(United Nations Development Programme, 2010) was used to report on the degree of
gender inequality in three dimensions by means of five indicators: women’s reproduc-
tive health (maternal mortality and adolescent fertility), empowerment of women
(women’s parliamentary representation and educational attainment), and labor mar-
ket (women’s labor force participation). The index runs from 0 to 1. The closer the
index value is to 1, the higher the degree of gender inequality.
Given their greater usefulness (Esquivel-Santoveña & Dixon, 2012), the find-
ings are first presented for partner abuse prevalence rates from gender-inclusive
studies—that is, those that report on male victimization and/or female perpetration
in addition to female victimization. These are presented by country and then in the
order followed by other PASK manuscripts: large population, community, dating and
university, clinical and legal samples, as well as large representative samples. For
each section, a table is included for all studies using gender-inclusive samples, the
countries where the research was conducted, and the rates for the different forms of
abuse. Full summaries of all the studies included in this review can be found online
(one table for each of the five major world regions and an additional table containing
summaries of multicountry studies).
Following the gender-inclusive data, findings from research based on samples lim-
ited to female subjects are presented next, beginning with examples of the lowest and
highest prevalence rates of physical, psychological, and sexual abuse for that region.
Because data from virtually all gender-inclusive studies were limited to prevalence
rates, information on the impact of IPV, risk factors, and attitudes about IPV are
presented for female victimization only.
Asia
According to the United Nations (United Nations Statistics Division, 2011), there
are 30 countries in Asia, not including western Asia, more commonly known as
the Middle East, including Iran and Pakistan. The systematic search identified
16 Esquivel-Santoveña et al.
45 studies from 16 of the 30 Asian countries in three major regions: East Asia
(China and Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan), Southeast Asia (Cambo-
dia, East Timor, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam), South Asia (Ban-
gladesh, India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka), as well as one study in Samoa and one in
Papua New Guinea. There are eight major ethnic groups (Bengali, Chinese, Hindu,
Japanese, Khmer, Kinh, Persian, and Thai) and many other minority ethnic groups
in the different Asian nations. The main religious groups are Buddhists, Muslims,
Hindus, and Christians. There are 12 main languages spoken throughout Asia and
many other regional languages spoken in the various countries where studies were
conducted. Samoa has a varied ethnic composition (e.g., Samoan, Euronesian, and
European), and the main religion practiced is Christianity. Spoken languages are
Samoan and English.
From the participating studies in Asian countries, only four nations (Hong Kong,
Japan, South Korea, and Singapore) have achieved a high level of human develop-
ment, as measured by the HDI; eight countries have medium human development
(Cambodia, China, East Timor, India, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam);
and three countries have achieved a low level of human development (Bangladesh,
Nepal, and Papua New Guinea). HDI scores are not available for Samoa (United
Nations Development Programme, 2010).
Likewise, there is considerable variation in the degree of gender inequality
among the countries of Asia. The following are the latest GII figures reported in
2010 in the United Nations Human Development Reports (United Nations Devel-
opment Programme, 2010) along with their relative position among the 137 coun-
tries for which GII statistics are available (the higher figures indicating higher
inequality): East Asia—China: 0.405 (28th percentile), Japan: 0.273 (9th percen-
tile), South Korea: 0.310 (15th percentile); Southeast Asia—Cambodia: 0.672 (69th
percentile), Philippines: 0.623 (57th percentile), Singapore: 0.255 (7th percentile),
Thailand: 0.586 (50th percentile), Vietnam: 0.530 (42nd percentile); South Asia—
Bangladesh: 0.734 (85th percentile), India: 0.748 (89th percentile), Nepal: 0.716
(80th percentile), Sri Lanka: 0.599 (53rd percentile); and Papua New Guinea: 0.784
(97th percentile). There is no available data for East Timor, Hong Kong, Taiwan,
and Samoa.
Studies That Include Male-to-Female and Female-to-Male Intimate Partner
Violence. Thirteen studies (19 counting the individual studies of the IDVS; Straus,
2008) out of the 45 found in Asia and the Pacific reported prevalence rates on male
and female perpetration and victimization experiences or an overall rate of IPV by
both sexes (see Table 1). Rates for physical abuse were reported by nearly all of the
studies, whereas few studies reported on rates of psychological or sexual abuse. The
most common time frame used to measure rates of physical abuse was for the previ-
ous 12-month period. One study (Hou, Li, Siu-Man, Yee, & Xiaoyi, 2011) reported rates
for the previous 4 months, and the rest reported on lifetime rates or the length of the
relationship. There were 11 studies reporting 12-month prevalence rates, ranging
Partner Abuse Worldwide 17
TABLE 1. Rate of Physical, Psychological, and Sexual Abuse for Males and Females From 19 Studies in Asia
Country/
Reference N/ Type of Sample Physical
Psychological/
Control Sexual Any PV
China: So-Kum Tang
(1994)
382 university
students
14% witnessed physical PV;
same between parents
75% witnessed
verbal PV; more
by father
China: Straus (2008) 763 university
students (IDVS)
Past year perp.: 22% M, 42% F
Severe: 9% M, 20% F 61% bidirec-
tional 39% bidirectional severe
Dominance score:
2.22 M, 2.15 F
China: Wang et al.
(2009); Parish et al.
(2004)
1,658 men, 1,665
women (large
population)
Ever perp.: 19% M, 3% F 15%
bidirectional
Ever vict.: 5% M, 12% F
China: Hou et al.
(2011)
194 couples
(community)
Past 4 months perp.: 24.6% M,
29.4% F
Past 4 months vict.: 25.8% M,
22.0% F
Past 4 months
perp.: 42.2 % M,
44.4% F
Past 4 months
vict.: 45.4% M,
41.6% F
Past 4 months
perp.: 20.9%
M, 15.0% F
Past 4 months
vict.: 14.4% M,
23.0% F
China: Chiung-
Tao Shen et al.
(2012)
976 M and F (middle
school and high
school)
Physical IPV vict.: 39.4% M,
16.7% F; no gender differences
in perp.
No gender diffe-
rences in control-
ling behaviors
perp.
Vict.: 10.9% M,
3.8% F
Overall perp.:
27.3%
Overall vict.:
39.0% Bidirec-
tional 46.7%
Hong Kong: Chan
(2012)
1,870 couples
(community)
Ever perp.: 9.4% M, 10.5% F
Severe: 3.4% M, 3.5% F
Ever perp.: 53.9%
M, 54.4% F
Severe: 18.3% M,
19.7% F
Ever perp.:
7.8% M,
5.9% F
(continued)
18 Esquivel-Santoveña et al.
TABLE 1. (continued)
Country/
Reference N/ Type of Sample Physical
Psychological/
Control Sexual Any PV
Hong Kong: Straus
(2008)
521 university
students (IDVS)
Past year perp.: 23% M, 43% F
Severe: 7% M, 19% F 55% bidirec-
tional 47% bidirectional severe
Dominance score:
2.10 M, 2.16 F
India: Straus (2008) 84 university
students (IDVS)
Past year perp.: 35% M, 31% F
Severe: 7% M, 14% F 75% bidirec-
tional 62% bidirectional severe
Dominance score:
2.10 M, 2.18 F
Japan: Straus (2008) 120 university
students (IDVS)
Past year perp.: 25% M, 18% F
Severe: 7% M, 10% F 81% bidirec-
tional 80% bidirectional severe
Dominance score:
1.90 M, 1.97 F
Philippines: Ansara
& Hindin (2009)
1,861 women
(community)
Past year perp.: 5.9% man
only, 9.9% woman only 10.3%
bidirectional
Past year perp.:
4.2% man only
Frequent perp.:
9.8% woman
only 18.0%
bidirectional
Philippines: Fehringer
& Hindin (2009)
472 couples
(community)
Past year perp.: 55.8% F, 25.1% M
Past year vict.: 30.5% M, 27.7% F
Samoa: WHO (2005) Large population
(WHO
multicountry)
Ever/past year vict.: 40.5%, 17.9%
F; 2.0% M (no information on
questions for men or period
measured)
45.0% M Ever/past year
vict.: 19.5%,
11.5% F; 3.0%
M (no informa-
tion for men)
Ever/past year
vict.: combined
physical and
sexual: 46.1%,
22.4% F
Partner Abuse Worldwide 19
Singapore:
Straus (2008)
199 university
students (IDVS)
Past year perp.: 10% M, 28% F
Severe: 0% M, 7% F 58% bidirec-
tional 46% bidirectional severe
Dominance score:
1.96 M, 2.03 F
South Korea: Kim &
Emery (2003)
1,523 married/
cohabitating men
(large population)
Past year perp.: 27.8%
Vict.: 15.8%
South Korea:
Straus (2008)
183 university
students (IDVS)
Past year perp.: 24% M, 37% F
Severe: 8% M, 19% F 73% bidirec-
tional 71% bidirectional severe
Dominance score:
2.17 M, 2.25 F
Taiwan:
Straus (2008)
152 university
students (IDVS)
Past year perp.: 18% M, 42% F
Severe: 16% M, 26% F 68% bidirec-
tional 59% bidirectional severe
Dominance score:
2.23 M, 2.28 F
Thailand:
Pradubmook-Sherer
(2009)
1,296 M and F
(adolescents/
community)
Lifetime vict.: 42.9% M, 67% F Lifetime vict.:
49.2% M, 46.7%
F (threatened);
49.2% M, 46.7%
F (emotionally,
verbally abused)
Lifetime vict.:
43.2% M,
46.7% F
Thailand: Kerley
et al. (2010)
816 married women
(community)
Past year perp.: 39.6%
Past year vict.: 34.8%
Past year prep.:
66.0%
Past year vict.:
62.7%
Note. PV 5 partner violence; International Dating Violence Study; perp. 5 perpetration; ever perp. 5 ever perpetrated; M 5 male;
F 5 female; vict. 5 victimization; IPV 5 intimate partner violence; WHO 5 World Health Organization.
20 Esquivel-Santoveña et al.
between 5.9% and 35.0% for male-perpetrated IPV (Philippines [Ansara & Hindin,
2009]; India [Straus, 2008]) and between 3.0% and 55.8% for female-perpetrated IPV
(Philippines [Ansara & Hindin, 2009]; Fehringer & Hindin, 2009). Male-to-female
severe physical IPV perpetration ranged from no perpetration to 16.0%, whereas
female-to-male perpetration ranged between 7.0% and 26.0% in Singapore and
Taiwan (Straus, 2008). The four studies that provided data on both male and female
victimization (Fehringer & Hindin, 2009; Hou et al., 2011; Pradubmook-Sherer, 2009;
Wang, Parish, Laumann, & Luo, 2009) reported higher rates of male victimization
than female victimization. Male victimization ranged from 25.8% to 41.9% and female
victimization between 22% and 41.2%.
The next section highlights main findings of the aforementioned 11 studies as
well as some of their most important methodological features. Three studies were
conducted in China, two in the Philippines, one in South Korea, one in Thailand, and
one multicountry study exploring IPV in seven Asian countries.
China and Hong Kong. A large nationally representative survey of mainland China
focused on investigating different aspects and correlates of sexual behavior in men
and women from the community (Parish, Wang, Laumann, Pan, & Luo, 2004; Wang
et al., 2009). Data on lifetime experiences of physical IPV perpetration by themselves
and their partners were provided by 3,323 men and women in response to the ques-
tion, “For whatever reason has your partner ever hit you, and when did that happen?”
The same question was directed to respondents to determine the rates of perpetra-
tion. When rates of unilateral IPV were compared, male-to-female physical IPV (19%)
was higher than female-to-male physical IPV (3%). Rates of mutual physical IPV
were perpetrated by 15% of men and women. Twelve percent of women reported se-
vere IPV victimization in contrast to 5% of men. In general, perpetration reports were
higher than victimization reports.
A community survey of family violence of 1,270 men and women in Hong Kong
(So-Kum Tang, 1999) investigated marital power and aggression. It classified rela-
tionships as male dominant, female dominant, and equalitarian or divided power
based on who has the final decision on such issues as where to live or having chil-
dren. Most men and women were classified as having equalitarian relationships, and
these relationships were the least prone to marital aggression victimization. Mari-
tal aggression was linked to relationships dominated by one partner (either male
or female), with male-dominated relationships more prone to severe male physical
IPV perpetration. Men report a higher frequency of male-dominant relationship,
whereas women report symmetry in the prevalence of male- and female-dominated
relationships.
Another study (Hou et al., 2011) was based on a combination of 194 married
couples recruited from the community and from couples attending a family therapy
course. Physical, psychological, and sexual IPV experiences within the previous
4 months were assessed via the Revised Conflict Tactics Scale (CTS2). Unidirec-
tional female-perpetrated IPV (11.7%) was higher than unilateral male-perpetrated
Partner Abuse Worldwide 21
IPV (10.6%). Mutual IPV was reported by 31.8% of couples. Female physical per-
petration (29.4%) or male victimization (25.8%) was higher than male perpetra-
tion (24.6%) or female victimization (22.0%). A similar trend was observed with
rates of female psychological IPV perpetration (44.4%) and male victimization
(45.4%) higher than male psychological perpetration (42.2%) or female victimiza-
tion (41.6%). Experiences of male sexual IPV perpetration (20.9%) or female victim-
ization (23.0%) were more prevalent than sexual IPV perpetration (15.0%) or male
victimization (14.4%).
A study was conducted in Hong Kong with 1,870 young married or cohabiting cou-
ples from the community. Lifetime experiences of physical, psychological, and sexual
IPV were assessed via the CTS2. Findings follow the same trend found in the Hou
et al. (2011) study. Higher rates of overall (10.5%) and severe (3.5%) female physical
IPV perpetration were found in comparison with experiences of overall (9.4%) and
severe (3.4%) male physical IPV perpetration (severe violence defined as punching,
kicking, beating up, and use of weapons). Perpetration rates of overall (54.4%) and
severe (19.7%) psychological IPV by females was higher than overall (53.9%) and se-
vere (18.3%) psychological perpetration by men. Sexual coercion perpetrated by men
(7.8%) was higher than female perpetration (5.9%).
Three studies were drawn from adolescent or university dating samples. The first
was conducted in China as part of the IDVS by the International Dating Violence
Research Consortium, which has conducted research on partner abuse in all major
geographical regions (Straus, 2008). Using the CTS2 and the dominance scale of the
Personal Relationships Profile (PRP), the research teams provided data about physi-
cal IPV and dominance from a convenience sample of university students in 68 uni-
versities spread out in 32 countries. Dominance was measured by items from the
PRP, for example, “I generally have the final say when my partner and I disagree”
and “My partner needs to remember that I am in charge.” For physical PV, questions
were added to the CTS2 at various sites to reflect issues of specific local or theoretical
interest. The global estimate of the IDVS for overall physical IPV perpetration was
24.4% for males and 31.6% for females, and the global estimate for severe physical
IPV perpetration was 7.6% for males and 10.6% for females. As in the United States,
most physical abuse was mutual or bidirectional, comprising 68.6% of all physical
abuse across countries, with mutual severe violence comprising 54.8% of this type
of violence.
The final sample in Asia is composed of 2,022 respondents, whereas 763 par-
ticipants constituted the final sample in China. Previous year prevalence of overall
physical IPV perpetration by females (42.3%) was higher than by males (22.4%).
Similarly, prevalence of severe physical IPV perpetration by women (20%) was
higher than by men (9%). Except for past year male reports, IPV perpetration in
China was higher than global prevalence rates in the IDVS. The violence was bi-
directional in 61% of overall physical violence and 39% of severe violence. A total
dominance mean score for all countries in the IDVS for males was 1.98 and 1.99 for
females. Dominance scores for men (M 5 2.22) were higher than women’s (M 5 2.15)
22 Esquivel-Santoveña et al.
in the Chinese sample. Both sexes reported higher dominance than the median for
all countries.
The IDVS also reported rates for their study conducted in Hong Kong with
521 male and female university students (Straus, 2008). Previous 12-month overall
physical IPV perpetration prevalence was higher for females (43%) than for males
(23%). Likewise, female severe physical IPV perpetration (19%) in the last 12 months
was higher than male perpetration (7%). Mutual overall (55%) and mutual severe
physical IPV (47%) perpetration prevalence is lower than the global estimate in the
IDVS. Dominance by female (2.16) was higher than the male dominance (2.10), and
both sexes scored higher than the global estimate in the IDVS.
A study conducted with 382 male and female students (So-Kum Tang, 1994) at a
Chinese university in Hong Kong found that 75% of male and female university stu-
dents in Hong Kong retrospectively reported verbal aggression between their parents
(at higher rates for fathers compared to mothers), whereas physical aggression was
reported at a 14% rate via the Cognitive Therapy Scale-Revised (CTS-R; at rates
comparable between parents).
Another study of 976 male and female middle and high school students in three
regions in China (Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Taiwan) by Chiung-Tao Shen, Yu-Lung
Chiu, and Gao (2012) reported higher victimization (39.0%) than perpetration (27.3%)
of overall violence (physical and sexual IPV and controlling behavior) using the Dating
Violence Scale. Almost half of the sample (46.7%) indicated being in mutually violent
relationships. Males (10.9%) reported a higher prevalence of sexual coercion perpe-
tration than females (3.8%); however, more male participants (39.4%) experienced
physical IPV victimization than females (16.7%). No significant sex differences were
found for physical violence perpetration. Interestingly, no significant sex differences
were found for sexual coercion and controlling behavior victimization.
India. The IDVS (Straus, 2008) was the only study conducted in India that provided
data on IPV prevalence of both sexes. In this study, 84 male and female university
students participated. Male overall physical IPV perpetration (35%) was higher than
female perpetration (31%); however, severe physical IPV perpetration by females
(14%) was higher than male perpetration (7%). Bidirectional overall IPV (75%) and
bidirectional severe physical IPV perpetration (62%) were higher in India than the
global estimates from the IDVS. Dominance by women (M 5 2.18) was higher than
dominance exerted by men (M 5 2.10). Dominance scores by both sexes were higher
than the overall score for all the IDVS.
Japan. A study of 274 female and male university students in Japan who were or
had been in a dating relationship assessed lifetime verbal/ psychological, sexual, and
physical IPV and coercive control within the global concept of harassment. Male se-
vere physical IPV perpetration (1.6%) and female victimization (0.7%) were higher
than female perpetration (0.7%). There was no male victimization reported. About
half of all female and male students had experienced at least 1 out of the 24 forms of
aggression.
Partner Abuse Worldwide 23
The IDVS (Straus, 2008) conducted in Japan (n 5 120) reported higher over-
all physical IPV perpetration by males (25%) than females (18%), whereas severe
physical IPV perpetration by females (10%) was higher than the one reported by
males (7%). The overall (81%) and severe (80%) rates of bidirectional physical IPV
perpetration were higher than the global estimates of the IDVS. Female dominance
(1.97) was slightly higher than male dominance (1.90). Men and women scored lower
on dominance than the overall dominance score for all the IDVS.
Philippines. One of the two studies conducted in the Philippines was carried out in
Cebu (Ansara & Hindin, 2009), and it was part of a longitudinal study of 1,861 mar-
ried or cohabiting women, most of whom were from rural communities in 2002. The
study inquired women on previous year physical and psychological IPV perpetrated
by them and by their partners using a modified version of the CTS-R. Women perpe-
trated more unidirectional physical (9.9%) and psychological (9.8%) IPV than men
(5.9% and 4.2%, respectively). Bidirectional psychological IPV (18.0%) was expect-
edly more prevalent than physical IPV (10.3%). A partner’s drinking and jealousies
were the most common motives for initiation of physical assault by men and women.
In addition, a male partner’s nagging was a common reason for male perpetration.
More women (7.3%) than men (3.4%) required medical attention for their injuries.
Male lifetime sexual coercion was considerably high (22.0%). Extreme acts of violence
such as threatening a partner with the use of a knife or a gun by a male partner was
importantly high (9.2%). Arguments led males (56.5%) to more frequently initiate a
violent episode than females (43.5%).
The second study reported in the Philippines (Fehringer & Hindin, 2009) corre-
sponds to an analysis conducted on a subset of 472 couples of the 2002 Cebu Longitu-
dinal Health and Nutrition Survey. Female participants in this study were pregnant,
married, or cohabiting women that provided data on physical IPV perpetration and
victimization experienced by them and their partners in the previous 12 months.
Perpetration reports indicate that women (55.8%) perpetrate more than twice IPV
than men (25.1%); however, victimization reports show that males (30.5%) were just
slightly more frequently victimized than females (27.7%). Witnessing parental vio-
lence was indicated by most men (50%) and women (45%).
Samoa. The one study conducted in Samoa was part of the WHO (2005) cross-national
study of 20,497 women in Bangladesh, Brazil, Ethiopia, Japan, Namibia, Peru, Samoa,
Serbia, Montenegro, Thailand, and Tanzania. The Samoan study was the only WHO
study that reported on male victimization or female perpetration. The physical abuse
victimization rates for females were 40.5% (lifetime) and 17.9% (past year). A 2.0%
rate of victimization was given for males, but no information was provided on ques-
tions asked or the period measured. Women reported a rate of 45% lifetime psychologi-
cal abuse. For sexual abuse, women reported victimization at rates of 19.5% (lifetime)
and 11.5% (past year). A rate of 3.0% was given for males, but again, no information
was provided regarding the questions used or the period measured. Combined physi-
cal and sexual abuse rates for women were 46.1% (lifetime) and 22.4% (past year.)
24 Esquivel-Santoveña et al.
Singapore. The IDVS was the only study conducted in Singapore (Straus, 2008) that
reported prevalence rates for men and women. A sample of 199 male and female
students reported higher overall (28%) and severe (7%) physical IPV perpetration
than male participants (10% and 0%, respectively). Prevalence of overall (58%)
and severe (46%) bidirectional physical IPV perpetration is lower than the global
rates of the IDVS. Female dominance (M 5 2.03) was higher than male dominance
(M 5 1.96). Female dominance in Singapore was higher than the overall rate for
women in the IDVS, whereas male dominance was slightly lower than the global
average of males in the IDVS.
South Korea. The South Korean study by Kim and Emery (2003) was a large rep-
resentative community survey of 1,523 married and cohabiting men. Unlike most
other surveys in this review, participants were asked via random-digit dialing (RDD)
to provide information on physical IPV perpetration against a female partner and
also their partner’s perpetration against them using the CTS-R. Male perpetration
(27.8%) was higher than female perpetration (15.8%). Relationships were catego-
rized in three types based on relationship power: male dominated, female dominated,
and equalitarian. The highest levels of male-to-female and female-to-male IPV were
reported in relationships in male-dominated dyads.
The IDVS (Straus, 2008) conducted in South Korea used a sample of 183 male and
female university students reporting higher female overall (37%) and severe (19%)
physical IPV perpetration than male participants (24% and 8%, overall and severe
IPV, respectively). Overall (73%) and severe (71%) bidirectional IPV perpetration was
higher than the global prevalence rate of the IDVS. Female dominance (M 5 2.25)
was higher than male dominance (M 5 2.17) in this sample. Dominance by both sexes
in South Korea was higher than the global levels of the IDVS.
Taiwan. The IDVS was the only study in Taiwan to obtain data on male and female
perpetration (Straus, 2008). A sample of 152 female and male university students
reported considerably higher female overall (42%) and severe (26%) physical IPV
perpetration than male perpetration (overall is 18% and severe is 16%). The rate of
overall bidirectional physical IPV (68%) was symmetrical with the global estimate of
the IDVS, whereas bidirectional severe physical IPV (59%) was higher than the over-
all rate of the IDVS. Female dominance (M 5 2.28) was higher than male dominance
(M 5 2.23). Similar to other Chinese territories, dominance levels were higher than
the global rates of the IDVS.
Thailand. A study of 816 married women from the community from five geographic
regions in Bangkok assessed perpetration and victimization experiences of physi-
cal and psychological IPV (Kerley, Xu, Sirisunyaluck, & Alley, 2010). Physical IPV
perpetration against a male partner in the previous 12 months (39.6%) was higher
than female victimization (34.8%). Participants reported female-to-male psycho-
logical perpetration (66.3%) more frequently than their victimization experiences
(62.7%).
Partner Abuse Worldwide 25
Pradubmook-Sherer (2009) reported on a study of 1,296 youths attending 10th and
11th grade classes in vocational school (n 5 613), high school (n 5 582), and out-of-
school adolescents (n 5 101) threats, physical, verbal, and sexual aggression victim-
ization experiences of male and female participants. Male youths experienced more
frequently threats, verbal, emotional, and physical aggression than females. Sexual
victimization was more prevalent in women than men, but only slightly (46.7% vs.
43.2%). In general, adolescents in this study reported having friends that used psy-
chological (58.8%) and sexual aggression (29.0%) against an intimate partner, and
these figures were, in particular, significantly higher for out-of-school adolescents.
Importantly, a considerable proportion of youths in this sample had been involved in
other forms of aggression such as getting into fights (42%), intentionally destroying
other people’s property (36%), or had been arrested for other criminal activities (10%).
Physical IPV victimization between the sexes was symmetrical (41.0%), whereas
verbal and emotional (49.2%) abuse experienced by males was slightly higher than
female victimization (verbal or emotional is 46.7%).
Studies Reporting Only Female Intimate Partner Violence Victimization.
Thirty-two (34 counting the individual studies of the WHO, 2005) studies assessed
male-to-female IPV. Twenty-six studies were conducted with community samples,
one study using young adults (aged 20- to 24-year-olds), five with clinical or selected
samples, and one study that used a combination of a selected sample and a sample
of university students. Physical IPV victimization in the previous 12 months ranged
from 3.1% in Japan (WHO, 2005) to 52.7% in East Timor. Lifetime physical IPV vic-
timization rates extended from 12.6% in Japan to 67.0% in Bangladesh.
Psychological IPV (including verbal aggression) female victimization in the pre-
vious year varied greatly from 12.0% in India (Chokkanathan, 2012) to as high as
98.7% in Thailand (Aekplakorn & Kongsakon, 2007). Lifetime psychological victim-
ization levels extended from 13.5% in Cambodia (Kishor & Johnson, 2004) to 68.0% in
China (Yanqiu, Yan, & Lin, 2011). Past year sexual coercion varied from 1.3% in Japan
(WHO, 2005) to 31.3% in Nepal (Lamichhane, Puri, Tamang, & Dulal, 2011). Lifetime
sexual coercion victimization ranged from 6.6% in Vietnam (Dang Vung, Ostergren,
& Krantz, 2008) to 16.0% in China (Xu et al., 2005). Lifetime overall male-to-female
perpetration/female victimization (physical and/or psychological and/or sexual) was
addressed by only three studies ranging from 15.4% in urban Japan (Garcia-Moreno,
Jansen, Ellsberg, Heise, & Watts, 2006; WHO, 2005) to 60.0% in urban Bangladesh
(Sambisa, Angeles, Lance, Naved, & Curtis, 2010). Previous year overall female vic-
timization was as low as 1.2% in Thailand (Aekplakorn & Kongsakon, 2007) up to
35.8% in Nepal (Lamichhane et al., 2011).
Impact on Victims. Eight studies across Asia provided information on the various
physical and mental health effects that IPV has on victims. For example, Bangladeshi
mothers who had experienced IPV also had more respiratory tract infections, and
their children experienced more problems with diarrhea compared to nonvictimized
women (Silverman et al., 2009). Sambisa et al. (2010) found that sexually transmitted
26 Esquivel-Santoveña et al.
diseases (STDs) were linked to higher male perpetration and female victimization in
women in Bangladesh, whereas Gaikwad, Madhukumar, and Sudeepa (2011) found
that STDs were linked to female IPV victimization in women living in rural com-
munities in India. Kishor and Johnson (2004) found that a considerable amount of
women who are abused in Cambodia sustained bruises and aches (36.5%), injury or
broken bones (6.5%), and had to get medical treatment (6.3%).
Parish et al. (2004) and Wang et al. (2009) showed in their nationally representa-
tive survey in China that male perpetration and female victimization was linked
to higher mental distress, sexual dissatisfaction, unwanted sexual behavior, and
recent genitourinary problems. In addition, female victimization was linked to poor
physical health. Pregnant women in India who had had a history of physical IPV
and sexual coercion victimization were more likely than nonabused women to expe-
rience PTSD symptomatology, depression, somatic symptoms, and reduction in their
levels of relationship satisfaction (Varma, Chandra, Thomas, & Carey, 2007). More
married or cohabiting women (7.3%) than men (3.4%) in Cebu, Philippines (Ansara
& Hindin, 2009) were found to require medical attention for injuries their partner
had inflicted during the entire relationship. Married South Korean female victims
of verbal and physical aggression experienced higher levels of depression, stress,
poor self-esteem, and aggressive tendencies than nonvictimized women (Kim, Park,
& Emery, 2009).
Risk Factors. The 10 most frequently cited risk factors for IPV in the studies
addressed are victim’s low education level (11 studies), perpetrator’s alcohol abuse
(8 studies), victim’s younger age (6 studies), victim’s low income (5 studies), living
in a rural versus urban location (4 studies), early/younger marriage (4 studies), low
SES (4 studies), childhood physical victimization (4 studies), witnessing parental ag-
gression (4 studies), and perpetrator’s low education level (4 studies). Forty-nine risk
factors were identified, most of them mentioned only once or twice.
Attitudes About Intimate Partner Violence. Attitudes about IPV as a risk factor for
IPV were found in five studies. Sambisa et al. (2010) found that wife-beating attitudes
were predictive of male physical and sexual IPV perpetration in Bangladeshi married
men. Another study found that gender-role beliefs and attitudes supportive of male-to-
female and female-to-male IPV are predictive of physical and sexual IPV, and control-
ling behavior in middle and high school students in Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Taiwan
(Chiung-Tao Shen et al., 2012). Specifically, attitudes justifying male-to-female and
female-to-male IPV were associated with women’s perpetration of controlling behavior,
whereas gender-role beliefs were associated with female sexual IPV perpetration. A large
survey with Indian women indicated that patriarchal ideology and positive attitudes
toward violence were predictive of female physical IPV victimization (Chokkanathan,
2012). Increased male-to-female IPV was linked to patriarchal beliefs that men should
take the leading role in sexual activity, whereas female-to-male IPV was negatively cor-
related with such beliefs (Parish et al., 2004; Wang et al., 2009). Finally, Archer’s, (2006)
meta-analysis that included several Asian nations (Bangladesh, Cambodia, China,
Partner Abuse Worldwide 27
India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, South Korea,
Sri Lanka, and Thailand) found that patriarchal beliefs (e.g., approval of a husband
slapping a wife) was related to higher female victimization.
The Middle East
Although many authoritative sources include the Middle East (e.g., United Nations
Statistics Division, 2011) as part of Asia (western Asia), it is nonetheless recog-
nized as a separate region. Including Turkey (which is sometimes grouped with
Europe), the Palestinian territories, and Pakistan (sometimes included as part of
South Asia), there are currently 16 countries in the Middle East. This section report
on 24 studies from 7 countries: Iraq, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Pakistan, and
Turkey.
Arabs comprise the largest ethnic group, but there are also large numbers of
Turks and Iranians and, to a lesser extent, Jews (mostly in Israel) and Kurds (scat-
tered largely in Turkey and Iraq), all with distinctive languages, cultures, and tribal
associations. Including the larger sects of Sunni and Shiite, Islam is by far the domi-
nant religion in the region. Judaism is the primary religion in Israel, and there are
Christian minorities in many Middle Eastern countries. The countries range on the
United Nations HDI from a low of 125 (out of 169 countries) for Pakistan to a high
of 15 for Israel, with the remaining countries falling somewhere between medium
and high compared to the rest of the world. However, in terms of women’s status,
as measured by the GII, the countries of the Middle East rate quite poorly (United
Nations Development Programme, 2010). Of the 137 countries for which statistics
are available, Israel is rated the highest in women’s status or the lowest in terms
of gender inequality at the 20th percentile, followed by increasing degree of gen-
der inequality—Jordan and Turkey at the 56th percentile, Iran (72nd percentile),
Pakistan (82nd percentile), and Iraq (90th percentile).
Studies That Include Male-to-Female and Female-to-Male Intimate Partner
Violence. We found six gender-inclusive studies (that reported on female perpetra-
tion and/or male victimization along with female victimization) from four countries:
one each from Iran, Jordan, and Pakistan and three from Israel (see Table 2).
Iran. The only study available from Iran was conducted as part of the IDVS, which
is already described in the section on “Asia” (Straus, 2008). The sample was drawn
from 91 university students. Past year physical abuse was reported at a rate of
95.5% for males and 71.4% for females—the highest past year rates for either gen-
der reported among the 32 IDVS countries. With respect to severe assaults, the past
year rates were 18.2% for males and 15.7% for females. The most common form
of physical abuse was bidirectional, reported by 94.6% of all violent couples and
64.8% of severely violent couples. Dominance scores were 1.81 for males and 1.86
for females.
28 Esquivel-Santoveña et al.
TABLE 2. Rates of Physical, Psychological, and Sexual Abuse for Males and Females From 6 Studies in the Middle East
Country/
Reference N/ Type of Sample Physical
Psychological/
Control Sexual Any PV
Iran: Straus
(2008)
91 university
students (IDVS)
Past year perp.: 96.0% M,
71.0% F
Severe: 7.6% M, 10.6% F
95.0% bidirectional
67% bidirectional severe
Dominance score:
1.81 M, 1.86 F
Israel: Haj-Yahia
& Dawud-Noursi
(1998)
832 Arab adolescents
(community)
Past year witnessed father
to mother: 23% moderate,
10% severe
Mother to father: 5% moderate,
2% severe
Past year witnessed
ridicule: 30% father
to mother, 24%
mother to father
Verbal/psychological
abuse: 76% father to
mother, 53% mother
to father
Israel: Straus
(2008)
287 university
students (IDVS)
Past year perp.: 21% M, 18.0% F
Severe: 8.9% M, 7.2% F
62.0% bidirectional
62.0% bidirectional severe
Dominance score:
2.27 M, 2.32 F
Israel: Sherer
(2009)
1,357 dating students
(middle school and
high school)
Vict.: 41.4% M, 32.8% F Vict.:
Threats: 42.3% M,
26.4% F
Verbal abuse:
88.9% M, 86.7% F
Vict.: 46.4%
M, 21.7% F
Partner Abuse Worldwide 29
Jordan: Araji &
Carlson (2001)
625 university
students
Ever witnessed
father on mother:
17% (M reports),
16% (F reports)
Mother on father:
13% (M reports),
10% (F reports)
Pakistan: Niaz et
al. (2002)
140 women/men
(clinical)
Vict. 36% M, 64% F
Note. PV 5 partner violence; IDVS 5 International Dating Violence Study; perp. 5 perpetration; M 5 male; F 5 female; vict. 5
victimization.
30 Esquivel-Santoveña et al.
Israel. None of the studies from Israel drew on adult samples. However, Haj-Yahia
and Dawud-Noursi (1998) surveyed high school Arab adolescents in the northern and
central regions of the country about partner abuse, which they may have witnessed
between their parents within the past year, using a modified version of the CTS. The
rates of father-to-mother physical PV were 23% for moderate violence and 10% for
severe violence. Rates of mother-to-father violence were considerably lower at 5% for
moderate violence and 2% for severe violence. Rates of witnessed psychological abuse
were more comparable across gender. Fathers were seen to have verbally or psycho-
logically abuse mothers at a rate of 76% and ridicule at a rate of 30%, whereas for
mothers, the rates were 53% and 24%, respectively.
The IDVS conducted in Israel (Straus, 2008) was based on a sample of 287 uni-
versity students. Overall, physical assaults were perpetrated by 21.4% of males and
18.0% of females; severe assault rates were perpetrated by 8.9% of males and 7.2%
of females. A very high percentage of violence was bidirectional (95%), and 66% of
severe violence was also bidirectional. Among all reported violence, 62% was bidirec-
tional. Sherer (2009) conducted a survey of Arab and Jewish students between 12 and
14 years of age from 16 junior and senior high schools. The students were asked about
abuse experiences with dating partners as well as questions regarding their families,
education achievements, self-esteem, and alcohol and drug use. Among students who
had dated, 42.3% of males and 26.0% of females had been threatened by a partner,
41.4% of males and 21.7% of females had been physically abused, 88.9% of males and
86.7% of females were verbally abused, and 46.4% of males and 21.7% of females
reported to have been sexually abused (sexual abuse rates based on answers to four
questions, such as, “I touched him/her sexually when he/she didn’t want me to”).
Jordan. Araji and Carlson (2001) administered a questionnaire on family violence
to 625 students enrolled at the University of Jordan and Philadelphia University,
Jordan. The respondents were not asked about dating violence but rather about
physical assaults they had witnessed by their parents on one another. Among the
males, 17% reported to having been exposed to father-on-mother violence and 13% to
mother-on-father violence. Among the females, 16% said they had witnessed father-
on-mother violence and 10% reported having witnessed mother-on-father violence.
Pakistan. The only study from Pakistan (Niaz, Hassan, & Tariq, 2002) drew on a sam-
ple of 140 men and women who had sought outpatient psychiatric counseling in two
hospitals in Karachi, most in the middle-age range, and who had been administered a
domestic violence questionnaire as well as standardized measures of depression and
anxiety. Of the total sample, 63% identified as victims of partner abuse (35% physical,
52% psychological, and 30% sexual). The percentage of females who are abused was
64%, and the percentage of males who are abused was 36%.
Studies Reporting Only Female Intimate Partner Violence Victimization.
There was a wide range of partner abuse reported across the 18 studies that focused
exclusively on female victimization. The highest rates of physical abuse were reported
Partner Abuse Worldwide 31
in Jordan and Pakistan. From a clinical sample of 523 women in Jordan (Clark,
Silverman, Shahrouri, Everson-Rose, & Groce, 2010), physical abuse was reported
by 52% of the respondents; and a community sample of 759 women from Karachi,
Pakistan, found lifetime and past year physical abuse victimization rates of 57.6%
and 56.3% (Ali, Asad, Mogren, & Krantz, 2011). The lowest rate, at 4.8%, was reported
by Abadi, Ghazinour, Nojomi, and Richter (2012) for a convenience sample of moth-
ers who had recently given birth in Tehran, Iran. The second lowest reported rate
of physical abuse came from a national probability sample of Israelis (Eisikovits,
Winstok, & Fishman, 2004), with 6% past year and 13% lifetime victimization.
At 82.6%, the prevalence rate of psychological abuse victimization was high-
est in a study of 702 women who had sought services for gynecological or family
planning issues in Kazeroon County, Iran (Vakili, Nadrian, Fathipoor, Boniadi, &
Morowatisharifabad, 2010), and the lowest rate (26%) was found in the Abadi et al.
(2012) study cited previously. Sexual abuse victimization was highest in the Ali et al.
(2011) study, whereas the lowest rate (4% past year, 7% lifetime) was reported by
Nur (2012), whose sample was drawn from a community survey of 1,844 women in
Sivia, Turkey.
Impact on Victims. Few studies reported on the impact of PV, and none provided
information on physical injuries. In the Abadi et al. (2012) study from Iran, the moth-
ers who reported PV victimization were more likely than nonvictims to also report
low self-esteem. The women surveyed in a large population survey in Lebanon (Usta,
Farver, & Pashayan, 2007) who reported PV victimization had the highest rates of
health problems. Poor reproductive health was reported by women who are abused
attending tertiary care hospitals in Pakistan regardless of the type of abuse experi-
enced (Zakar, Zakar, Mikolajczyk, & Krämer, 2012). Turkish women with infertility
issues (Yildizhan et al., 2008) were about twice as likely to report unsatisfactory sex
lives if they had been abused (29.20% of women who are abused were satisfied com-
pared to 56.87% of nonabused).
In one of the few studies that examined the impact of female-perpetrated as well
as male-perpetrated abuse, the Haj-Yahia and Dawud-Noursi (1998) Israeli study of
Jewish and Arab adolescents found that the more that fathers or mothers abuse one
another, the more likely they were to abuse the children. In the clinical study by Niaz
et al. (2002), previously cited in the section on gender-inclusive samples, approxi-
mately 60% of Pakistani men and women reported depression as a consequence of
their victimization, and 67% reported symptoms of anxiety. Men and women suffered
equally from these mental health symptoms.
Risk Factors. Across the 24 studies found in this region, the most prevalent risk factor
for female IPV victimization was economic hardship—cited in 6 studies. This included
low family income, the woman not having her own income or being unemployed, or
the man not earning an income. Woman’s low education and man’s low education,
cited by 5 studies for each, were the next most prevalent risk factors. Having had an
unplanned pregnancy was cited in 3 studies. A woman’s younger age was reported
32 Esquivel-Santoveña et al.
as a risk factor in 3 studies, and several risk factors were cited in 2 studies: woman
previously married, woman married for a short time, woman having three or more
children, woman having only a girl or pressured to have a son, woman exposed to
family violence in childhood, woman smoking or using drugs during pregnancy, man
having a mental illness, man having a drug or alcohol problem, and man having a low
religious commitment. Another 30 risk factors were mentioned only once each.
Attitudes About Intimate Partner Violence. Several of the studies that we located for
this section on the Middle East reported on attitudes about partner abuse. In Iraq,
Lafta, Al-Saffar, Eissa, and Al-Nuaimi (2009) conducted a random sample survey of
1,100 married and single women from rural and urban areas around Baghdad as
well as a smaller sample of 100 men. Almost three quarters of the women (70%) said
they rejected or hated PV, and 21% thought it uncivilized. Among the men, half were
“strongly” against the use of PV, but 25% did say that it is sometimes necessary. Simi-
lar views were expressed by the Arab men surveyed in Israel by Haj-Yahia (2003), 58%
of whom said there is no excuse for a man to beat his wife, yet 28% said it was some-
times necessary. Reasons given that might justify a beating included being unfaithful
to her husband, insulting him in front of his friends, or constantly disobeying him. In
the Eisikovits et al. (2004) Israeli study mentioned previously, many of the men and
women surveyed said that violence against wives might be justified in cases when
she is either unfaithful or has abused her husband, and about half thought that the
men should not be held solely responsible for violence between them. About a third of
the 356 women surveyed by Al-Nsour, Khawaja, and Al-Kayyali (2009) in Jordanian
health centers justified beatings from their husband as a form of discipline. Although
59% did not agree with any justification for wife beating, women who are abused sur-
veyed in a large random sample study in Turkey gave several reasons to justify the
abuse perpetrated against them, including arguing with husband (endorsed by 29%),
wasting money (28%), and refusing sex (17%).
More than half of the women surveyed by Lafta et al. (2009), cited previously, said
that the solution was for men to be better educated about the problem, compared to
only 10% who thought it should be solved by the legal system and 12% who said there
is no solution. In Iran, 71.0% of women who are illiterate and 57.4% of housewives
surveyed by Ghazizadeh (2005) in the city of Sanandaj said that remaining silent is
the best way to cope with PV. More university students surveyed by Araji and Carlson
(2001) viewed father-on-mother PV as “very much of a problem” (70.0%) compared to
mother-on-father PV (59.6%).
Africa
There are 58 countries in Africa, a continent that consists of five regions: eastern,
middle, northern, southern, and western. For this review, we were able to locate
49 studies in 21 countries, including 10 multicountry studies that included more than
one country in its data collection. The eastern region yielded the most number of
Partner Abuse Worldwide 33
studies (32), but South Africa (southern region) and Nigeria (western region) were
the countries from which we obtained the most number of studies (7 each). Among the
five regions, there are numerous cultures and tribes and an estimated 1,500–2,000
spoken languages (Nations Online, n.d.). English is included as being the official
language of many African countries, along with French, Arabic, and Portuguese.
African countries rank among the lowest in the United Nations 2010 HDI. Only
Mauritius and Algeria are classified in the high human development category, with
Mali, Niger, and the DRC at the bottom of the low human development classification
on the HDI (United Nations Development Programme, 2010). These three countries
also rate as the three lowest countries in the world on the United Nations GII and
among the lowest in education beyond the secondary level. In fact, most African coun-
tries rank among the highest in gender inequality.
Studies That Include Male-to-Female and Female-to-Male Intimate Partner
Violence. We found 13 articles reporting on 20 studies in 14 countries that included
prevalence rates for both male- and female-perpetrated partner abuse (see Table 3).
Botswana. Jankey, Prospero, and Fawson (2011) administered several questionnaires
to 562 students from Botswana University who were in a dating relationship—the
CTS2, Revised Controlling Behavior Scale, Revised EXPAGG, and the Mental Health
Symptom Questionnaire—to measure violence, mental and emotional abuse, atti-
tude toward abuse, and mental health relating to PTSD and depression. Although
males reported significantly higher rates of sexual perpetration and proviolent at-
titudes, there was no significant difference among the sexes regarding the use of
physical perpetration and controlling behaviors. Females reported a significantly
higher rate of mental health symptoms, correlating with their partners’ coercive
and abusive sexual behavior and proviolent attitudes. Andersson, Ho-Foster, Mitch-
ell, Scheepers, and Goldstein (2007) conducted a multicountry, large representative
sample study of 20,639 adults in eight countries. Their questionnaire, written in
29 different languages, included questions about demographics, HIV status, atti-
tudes toward PV, and PV victimization prevalence. In their Botswana sample, 19%
of females and 21% of males reported to have been physically victimized by their
partners in the past year.
Ghana. In Ghana, a study was conducted with 358 college students, similar to the
Jankey et al. (2011) study in Botswana, that examined violent attitudes and men-
tal health symptoms using the same survey tools (Próspero, Dwumah, & Ofori-Dua,
2009). No significant differences were found across gender regarding physical and
sexual victimization, controlling behaviors, or attitudes justifying violence. However,
the males reported significantly greater physical or sexual perpetration. For female
perpetrators, predictors of violence included attitudes justifying violence, coercion,
and alcohol abuse, whereas for males, the predictors were attitudes justifying vio-
lence and conduct disorders. For both males and females, mental health symptoms
correlated with their partner’s proviolent attitudes and their own childhood abuse.
34 Esquivel-Santoveña et al.
TABLE 3. Rates of Physical, Psychological, and Sexual Abuse for Males and Females From 20 Studies in Africa
Country/
Reference N/ Type of Sample Physical
Psychological/
Control Sexual Any PV
Botswana:
Andersson
et al. (2007)
20,639 total (eight
countries; large
population)
Past year vict.: 21% M, 19% F
Botswana: Jankey
et al. (2011)
562 university students Perp.: No significant gender
differences
Perp.: No significant
gender differences
Perp.: Higher M
rates over F
Ghana: Próspero
et al. (2009)
358 university students Perp.: Higher M rates over F
Vict.: No significant gender
differences
Perp.: Higher M
rates over F
Vict.: No sig-
nificant gender
differences
Kenya: Simister
(2010)
17,262 (large population) Combined perp./vict.:
Slap: 33% M, 37% F
Beating: 34% M, 37% F
Combined perp./vict.:
Verbal abuse: 46%
M, 48% F
Deny conjugal rights:
25% M, 24% F;
Cold war: 46% M, and
46% F; Humiliation
in front of others:
23% M, 29% F Chas-
ing spouse from
home: 27% M, and
46% F
Ever vict.:
47% married
women, 36%
married men
Lesotho: Andersson
et al. (2007)
20,639 total (eight coun-
tries; large population)
Past year vict.: 12% M, 16% F
Partner Abuse Worldwide 35
Malawi:
Andersson
et al. (2007)
20,639 total (eight coun-
tries; large population
Past year vict.: 6% M, 11% F
Mozambique:
Andersson
et al. (2007)
20,639 total (eight coun-
tries; large population)
Past year vict.: 8% M, 11% F
Namibia:
Andersson
et al. (2007)
20,639 total (eight coun-
tries; large population)
Past year vict.: 15% M, 17% F
Nigeria: Obi &
Ozumba (2007)
600 married men
(health clinic)
Ever vict.:
70%; F 92%
of total
Nigeria: Brisibe
et al. (2012)
346 men and women
(community)
Past year vict.:
83.42% F,
23.70% M
South Africa:
Mwamwenda
(1998)
219 university students Witnessed: Fathers beaten by
mothers: 2%; male relative
beaten by wife: 18%; neighbor
husband
beaten by wife: 26%
South Africa:
Swart et al.
(2002)
928 middle and high
school students
Any perp.: 35.3% M, 43.5% F
Any vict.: 37.8% M, 41.7% F
South Africa:
Straus (2008)
85 university students
(IDVS)
Past year perp.: 43% M, 39% F
Severe: 43% M, 14% F
82% bidirectional
56% bidirectional severe
(continued)
36 Esquivel-Santoveña et al.
TABLE 3. (continued)
Country/
Reference N/Type of Sample Physical
Psychological/
Control Sexual Any PV
South Africa:
Kaminer et al.
(2008)
4,351 (large population) Ever vict.:
Severe: 3.5% M, 14.0% F
South Africa: Gass
et al. (2010)
1,715 (large population) Ever vict.: 20.9% M, 29.3% F
Ever perp.: 26.5% M, 25.2% F
Swaziland:
Andersson et al.
(2007)
20,639 total (eight coun-
tries; large population)
Past year vict.: 21% M, 21% F
Tanzania: Straus
(2008)
130 university students
(IDVS)
Past year perp.: 32% M, 44% F
Severe: 15% M, 26% F
91% bidirectional
67% bidirectional severe
Dominance score:
2.38% M, 2.38% F
Uganda: Uganda
Bureau of
Statistics (2007)
3,931 (large population) Ever vict.: 20% M, 48% F 33%
M, 43% F victims injured
Ever vict.: 35% M,
49% F
Ever vict.: 7% M,
36% F
Ever perp.:
41% M, 7% F
Zambia:
Andersson et al.
(2007)
20,639 total (eight coun-
tries; large population)
Past year vict.: 27% M, 36% F
Zimbabwe:
Andersson et al.
(2007)
20,639 total (eight
countries; large
population)
Past year vict.: 17% M, 17% F
Note. PV 5 partner violence; vict. 5 victimization; M 5 male; F 5 female; perp. 5 perpetration; ever perp. 5 ever perpetrated.
Partner Abuse Worldwide 37
Kenya. A much larger study in Kenya looked at domestic violence and FGM. Three
different surveys—the Demographic and Health Survey (DHS); Work, Attitudes,
and Spending Survey (WAS); and Afrobarometer Survey—were conducted among 10
of the most prominent ethnic groups (Simister, 2010) of 17,262 single, married, or
cohabitating males and females, and the data analyzed. The WAS results included
reports of respondents who had “experienced” different forms of abuse but did not
specifically clarify whether they experienced it as a victim or as a perpetrator. Most of
the percentages between the men and women were very similar, except that females
had a 7% higher reporting rate of nonprovision of financial support and a 6% higher
reporting rate of humiliation in front of others. However, when respondents were
asked, “Have you been a victim of domestic violence?” 47% of married women and
36% of married men replied “Yes.”
Lesotho. Lesotho was included in the multicountry study conducted by Andersson
et al. (2007). Details of this study are described previously. The prevalence of past year
physical victimization reported in Lesotho was 16% for females and 12% for males.
Malawi. Only the Andersson et al. (2007) study, described previously, provided data
on both male and female victimization—11% past year physical abuse victimization
for females and 6% for males.
Mozambique. The Andersson et al. (2007) study from Mozambique reported past year
prevalence of physical victimization rates of 11% for females and 8% for males.
Namibia. As with Mozambique, the only gender-inclusive study from Namibia was
part of the Andersson et al. study (2007). The prevalence of past year physical victim-
ization was 17% for females and 15% for males.
Nigeria. We found two gender-inclusive studies from Nigeria, and both indicated sig-
nificantly greater victimization rates for women compared to men. Of the 600 mar-
ried men surveyed at various outpatient health clinics in the southern part of the
country, 70% reported a history of abuse in their marriage. The men were the victims
in 8% of the cases, and their female partners were the victims in 92% of the cases.
A smaller study of married or cohabitating men (N 5 187) and women (N 5 159) was
conducted by Brisibe, Ordinioha, and Dienye (2012) over a 12-month period, with a
questionnaire based loosely on the CTS. The prevalence rates of this study resulted
in 55.78% overall victimization, of which 83.42% was male-on-female violence and
23.70% was female-on-male violence.
South Africa. There were five studies in South Africa that included both men and
women, two of which (Gass, Stein, Williams, & Seedat, 2010; Kaminer, Grimsrud,
Myer, Stein, & Williams, 2008) reported on large representative samples acquired
from the South African Stress and Health (SASH) study. Kaminer et al. (2008), draw-
ing on a sample of 4,351 men and women, reported severe physical violence lifetime
victimization rates of 14.0% for women and 3.5% for men. The Gass et al. (2010) study
38 Esquivel-Santoveña et al.
drew on a sample of 1,715 respondents. For past year physical violence rates, higher
victimization was found for women compared to men (29.3% vs. 20.9%), and perpetra-
tion rates were higher for men, although by a much lesser margin (26.5% vs. 25.2%).
Mwamwenda (1998) conducted a study of 138 female and 81 male undergraduate
students at the University of Transkei in Umtata, South Africa regarding women
who abuse their husbands. Respondents were given the choice of answering “Yes” or
“No” regarding witnessing abuse by women on their husbands, whether the husband
was their fathers or any other men (relatives or neighbors). Only 2% of these students
said that their mothers beat their fathers. A higher prevalence of husband beating
was found when the students reported on witnessing relatives (18%) or neighbors
(26%) being beaten. The author of the study suggests that the low reporting of the
mother-on-father abuse may have been caused by their reluctance to having their
families embarrassed or insulted.
Two studies focused on abuse among dating students. Swart, Seedat, Stevens, and
Ricardo (2002) drew on a younger student population of 9th–12th graders (N 5 928),
whereas the Straus (2008) study sample consisted of 85 university students (94.1%
female) who had been in a relationship for at least 1 month. In the Swart et al. (2002)
study, 35.3% of males and 43.5% of females reported having committed at least one
incident of physical violence (the actual breakdown of the number of female vs. male
was not defined). Physical victimization was reported by 37.8% of males and 41.7% of
females. The Straus (2008) study, part of the larger National Development Volunteers
Service (NDVS) multicountry study of university students, surveyed 85 students and
found past year physical perpetration rates of 43% for males and 39% for females.
The same percentage of males reported severe assaults, whereas only 14% of the
females reported severe assaults. Most of all physical violence perpetration was bidi-
rectional (82%) and 56% of severe violence was also bidirectional.
Swaziland. There was one gender-inclusive study from Swaziland by Andersson et al.
(2007). Past year victimization rates were the same for males and females at 21%.
Tanzania. We found no other gender-inclusive studies from Tanzania other than the
one conducted by Straus (2008) as part of the IDVS. This particular sample consisted
of 130 students, of which 32% (n 5 23) of males and 44% (n 5 26) of females reported
to have physically assaulted a dating partner in the past year. Of these assaults, 15%
were perpetrated by males, and 26% of females admitted to the same. Overall bidirec-
tional violence rates were 91%, among the highest found in any of the IDVS studies,
and about two thirds of severe violence was bidirectional.
Uganda. In a large population survey, ever-married females (N 5 2,087) and males
(N 5 1,844) were asked about experiences with spousal violence after the age of
15 years. The prevalence reported for women was 48% ever physically victimized,
36% sexually victimized, and 49% emotionally abused. Sixty-eight percent reported
experiencing any kind of partner abuse. In contrast, the rates for men were 20%
physically victimized, 7% sexually victimized, and 35% emotionally abused. With
Partner Abuse Worldwide 39
respect to perpetration, 41% of men acknowledged having ever perpetrated physical
violence against an intimate partner compared to only 7% of women.
Zambia. The study conducted in Zambia by Andersson et al. (2007) reported past
year victimization rates of 36% for females and 27% for males.
Zimbabwe. The Andersson et al. (2007) study in Zimbabwe found a prevalence rate of
17% past year victimization for males and the same rate for females.
Studies Reporting Only Female Intimate Partner Violence Victimization.
There were 27 studies that reported only on female victimization or male perpetra-
tion. The prevalence of PV against women in Africa ranges vastly from region to region
and even within a single country, depending on the study. Nigeria, for example, yields
the highest range of lifetime physical PV but also some of the lowest. For example,
Okenwa, Lawoko, and Jansson (2009) surveyed 934 women attending obstetrics and
gynecological clinics at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital and found an 8.6%
past year rate of physical abuse victimization. Owoaje and Ol (2006), drawing from a
sample of 400 women living in a southern Nigeria migrant community, reported life-
time minor physical PV rates of 3.3% and severe PV at 2.0% (while also reporting any
lifetime PV at a rate of 87%).4 Using key informants, focus groups, and a question-
naire administered to 648 women from the urban town of Gboko and the rural town of
Gwer, Odimegwu, Okemgbo, and Ayila (2010) reported lifetime physical abuse victim-
ization at a rate of 75.9%. A larger study by Antai (2011), which was part of the 2008
Nigeria Department of Health Services survey of 2,877 women, resulted in a much
different outcome, with only 15% respondents reporting lifetime physical violence.
The eastern region of Africa produced the highest results of past year physical vio-
lence. In Ethiopia, 72.5% of a large urban and rural sample of 1,540 women said that
they had been victimized (Abeya, Afework, & Yalew, 2011). The lowest report of past
year physical violence (9.5%) came from a study of 1,279 women living in the Eastern
Cape, Mpumalanga, and the northern province of South Africa.
Compared to physical violence, data on emotional or psychological abuse were not
as available in the African studies. The highest lifetime rates come from the Nigerian
study by Owoaje and Ol (2006), reported at 75.5% for verbal abuse, followed by verbal
threats reported by 26.0% of the women. Lifetime rates were 30.7% in Cameroon
(Alio et al., 2011), 22.0% in Rwanda, and 18.9% in Ethiopia (Deyessa et al., 2009).
In Kenya, 22% of respondents from a sample of 5,729 women who had been tested
for HIV reported psychological abuse victimization in their current relationship and
49% in former relationships (Abuya, Onsomu, Moore, & Piper, 2012). Higher rates
were found in South Africa (42.2% emotional abuse, 55.0% verbal abuse) as reported
by male offenders living in Cape Town (Abrahams, Jewkes, Laubscher, & Hoffman,
2006).
Women in Ethiopia experience more sexual abuse victimization than in any other
country on the African continent, with lifetime prevalence rates ranging from 52%
40 Esquivel-Santoveña et al.
to 68% as well as the two highest rates reported for the past year (Abeya et al.,
2011; Belachew Bekele, van Aken, & Dubas, 2011; Deyessa et al., 2009; WHO, 2005).
In the Belachew Bekele et al. (2011) study, a random sampling of 764 secondary
school females were administered a “Yes” or “No” questionnaire of 21 items regard-
ing multiple forms of sexual violence victimization: sexual assault, coercion, offense,
and aggression. Qualitative data was collected as a follow-up through focus groups.
Respondents reported to have experienced a minimum of one event of sexual violence
and several responding to more than one. Overall, 55.8% had experienced sexual as-
sault, 25.0% sexual coercion, 52.0% sexual offense, and 14.7% sexual aggression.
Impact on Victims. Consequences of PV were mentioned in only 13 of the studies. In
Uganda, the large population (N 5 3,931) study reported by the Uganda Bureau of
Statistics (2007) determined that 33% of men who are physically victimized and 43%
of women who are victimized suffered physical injuries. Mental health symptoms
were mentioned the most, including symptoms common to individuals suffering with
PTSD. In the Malawi study by Pelser et al. (2005), women reporting victimization
by their partners were more likely to be financially dependent on that partner or on
friends and family. Depression was reported by 73% of victims of economic abuse,
whereas 54% of all victims reported irritability and slightly less reported sleep distur-
bances. Emotional abuse (mostly public humiliation) also had a large impact on the
victims, because 80% reported experiencing flashbacks and 69% depression. Fifty-two
percent of victims of physical violence reported irritability and 45% reported dis-
turbed sleeping patterns. However, victims of sexual abuse reported a large percent-
age of flashbacks (74%), changes in eating patterns (73%), and depression (62%).
A study in Botswana (Jankey et al., 2011) broadly mentioned general mental
health symptoms indicating that women had significantly more mental health symp-
toms than men, and that these symptoms correlated with sexual abuse and proviolent
attitudes by their partners. In Cameroon, Alio et al. (2011) found that physical and
sexual PV increased risk for induced abortion. In Rwanda, examined the relationship
between HIV status and PV. They found that there was a significant relationship be-
tween the two but did not report on which was more often a consequence of the other.
The Uganda study by Karamagi, Tumwine, Tylleskar, and Heggenhougen (2003)
found a correlation between experienced PV and infant illnesses, such as diarrhea,
fever, and cough. Kaminer et al.’s (2008) South Africa study, mentioned previously,
found that for women, severe PV victimization was the second most strongly associ-
ated type of violence with PTSD after rape; and for men, PTSD was most strongly
associated with childhood abuse and criminal assault.
Risk Factors. One hundred seventy-nine risk factors for PV were cited throughout the
African studies (mostly in the eastern section), including 52 risk factors associated
with victimization and 33 associated with perpetration. Victimization risk factors
ranged from personal characteristics (7 risks factors), education and employment
status (4 risk factors), history and tolerance of abuse (6 risk factors), sexual history
Partner Abuse Worldwide 41
(7 risk factors), marital situations and dynamics (17 risk factors), to social back-
grounds and perceptions (11 risk factors). One prominent risk factor for victimization
was limited or no education, cited in 10 studies, and another was unemployment,
cited in 6 studies. Both of these risk factors make a victim dependent on their abuser,
a risk factor mentioned separately in 2 studies. Among the other frequently cited risk
factors was being younger than 34 years of age, cited in 7 studies; substance and/or
alcohol use, cited in 6 studies (and especially correlated sexual violence); living in a
rural area, cited in 5 studies; tolerance toward abuse, cited in 4 studies; and being
HIV positive, cited in 4 studies. Quality of parental relationships, including abuse,
were found to also be risk factors, cited in 7 studies.
Perpetrator risk factors included personal characteristics (3 risks factors), educa-
tion and employment status (7 risks factors), history and tolerance of abuse (6 risk
factors), mental health disorders (4 risk factors), marital situations and dynamics
(5 risk factors), and social backgrounds and perceptions (8 risk factors). Substance
use or abuse was the most common risk factor as cited by 15 studies (cigarette smok-
ing was cited in 4 studies). Other frequently cited perpetrator risk factors were as
follows: less education and unemployment or underemployment (12 studies); having
experienced abuse as a child, such as witnessing parental violence or violence by
their friends (10 studies); and having a proviolence attitude (7 studies). An additional
21 risk factors were less frequently cited.
A few studies did report on risk factors for both male and female perpetration. For
example, in the Gass et al. (2010) South Africa study, PV perpetration by males was
correlated with being in a cohabitating relationship, having been physically abused
or witnessed interparental violence as children, and having showed signs of inter-
mittent explosive disorder as children or having a mood disorder or abusing alcohol
in adulthood. Male victimization was associated with younger age, earning a low
income, having experienced abuse as a child (hit by parents or witnessed interpa-
rental violence), and having a poor attachment to primary female caregiver. Women
who reported PV perpetration were more likely to have an Indian heritage, be in a co-
habitating relationship, had experienced abuse as a child (hit by parent or witnessed
interparental violence), had been poorly attached to their primary female caregiver,
and to be abusing alcohol or have an anxiety disorder as adults. Risk factors for
female victimization were being of Indian descent or in a cohabitating relationship,
having a minimal education, economic hardship, experienced childhood direct or wit-
nessed abuse, poor attachment to primary male caregiver, and having an anxiety
disorder in adulthood.
Attitudes About Intimate Partner Violence. A general response among the men in the
Andersson et al. (2007) study, reported by 47%, was that “Women do not have the right
to refuse to have sex with their husbands or boyfriends.” In addition, 41% agreed that
“Women sometimes deserve to be beaten,” and 34% agreed that “Forcing your partner
to have sex is not rape.” A study by Lawoko (2008) found that Zambian men were
more likely to justify beating their wives for going out without informing them or
42 Esquivel-Santoveña et al.
for burning the food, whereas in Kenya, men were more likely to justify abuse of the
wives for arguing with them or for neglecting the children. In Nigeria, where some
of the greatest differences have been found in PV perpetration across gender, 79% of
women (mostly those who did not cohabitate with their partner) said that wife beat-
ing is sometimes justified (Owoaje & Ol, 2006); and in another, 94% agreed that men
should hold the final say in the home (Odimegwu et al., 2010).
Latin America and the Caribbean
Latin America is made up of Central and South America as well as Mexico. Although,
historically, Mexico is considered to be the southern section of North America, the
United Nations has classified it as a part of Central America (United Nations Sta-
tistics Division, 2011). Including Mexico, Central America consists of 8 countries,
and South America consists of 14 countries. The Caribbean is made up of multiple
countries and islands—28 according to the United Nations. We found 22 articles yield-
ing 31 studies from 14 countries. The most studied country was Brazil (5 s tudies),
followed by Peru (4 studies).
Most Latin American countries fall in the medium human development category
in the United Nations 2010 HDI (United Nations Development Programme, 2010).
Notable exceptions would be Haiti, which is ranked among the least developed coun-
tries of the world, at number 145 out of 169 countries, in the 86th percentile; and
Barbados, the only country that ranked in the very high human development category,
at 42 (25th percentile). With respect to gender inequality, Haiti once again ranked
at the lowest on the scale, at 119 out of 137 countries (87th percentile), whereas
Barbados was the highest at 42 (31st percentile). On the whole, the countries of Latin
America and the Caribbean can be found in the medium and high human develop-
ment categories (United Nations Development Programme, 2010).
By far, the most commonly spoken language in Latin America is Spanish, although
there are multiple dialects unique to each region. A major exception is Brazil, where
the primary language is Portuguese. English and French are the primary languages
in several Caribbean countries, while in many of the South American regions,
indigenous languages are also spoken. Chile and Argentina, for instance, have large
Mapuche Indian communities who speak Mapudungun. Most Latin Americans are
Christians and primarily Roman Catholic.
Studies That Include Male-to-Female and Female-to-Male Intimate Partner
Violence. Of the 31 countries that yielded studies for this region, seven articles
reporting on 11 separate samples provided data on prevalence rates of IPV for both
men and women (see Table 4).
Barbados. Using a stratified cross-sectional sampling procedure, Le Franc, Samms-
Vaughan, Hambleton, Fox, and Brown (2008) conducted face-to-face interviews with men
and women between the ages of 15 and 30 years in the countries of Barbados, Jamaica,
Partner Abuse Worldwide 43
TABLE 4. Rates of Physical, Psychological, and Sexual Abuse for Males and Females From 11 Studies in Latin America/
Caribbean
Country/
Reference
N/ Type of
Sample Physical
Psychological/
Control Sexual Any PV
Barbados:
Le Franc et al.
(2008)
3,401 men and
women (large
population)
Ever perp.: 48.8% M, 53.9% F
Ever vict.: 44.7% M, 50.0% F
Ever perp.: 76.5%
M, 74.6% F
Ever vict.: 76.1%
M, 70.7% F
Ever perp.: 42.1%
M, 47.4% F
Ever vict.: 39.6%
M, e52.8% F
Brazil:
Reichenheim
et al. (2006)
26,003 women
(large
population)
Past year perp.: 14.60% M,
19.70% F
Ave. no. of assaults: 2.31 M, 1.70 F
75% overall perp.
Brazil: Straus
(2008)
236 university
students (IDVS)
Past year perp.: 22% M, 23% F
Severe: 7% M, 6%F
71% bidirectional
71% bidirectional severe
Dominance score:
1.96 M, 1.94 F
Brazil: Gomez
et al. (2011)
438 young adult
men and women
aged 15–24 years
(community)
Perp.: 40%
Vict.: 32%
Both: 22%
Chile: Lehrer
et al. (2009)
950 university
students
Past year vict.: 26.6% M, 15.1% F
Since the age of 14 years: 37.9%
M, 25.4% F
Past year vict.:
79.9% M,
67.3% F
Guatemala:
Straus (2008)
168 university
students (IDVS)
Past year perp.: 17% M, 32% F
Severe: 6% M, 9% F
67% bidirectional
56% bidirectional severe
Dominance score:
1.97 M, 1.98 F
(continued)
44 Esquivel-Santoveña et al.
TABLE 4. (continued)
Country/
Reference
N/ Type of
Sample Physical
Psychological/
Control Sexual Any PV
Jamaica: Le
Franc et al.
(2008)
950 men and
women (large
population)
Ever perp.: 39.9% M, 52.4% F
Ever vict.: 40.4% M, 45.3% F
Ever perp.: 69.8%
M, 76.6% F
Ever vict.: 66.5%
M, 69.4% F
Ever perp.: 60.0%
M, 67.9% F
Ever vict.: 57.2%
M, 72.6% F
Mexico: Straus
(2008)
190 univ. students
(IDVS)
Past year perp.: 27% M, 47% F
Severe: 13% M, 17% F
78% bidirectional
65% bidirectional severe
Dominance score:
2.03 M, 2.10 F
Mexico:
Rivera-Rivera
et al. (2007)
7,960 large popu-
lation students
(junior high to
college)
Ever perp.: 19.54% M, 20.99% F
Ever vict.: 22.71% M, 9.88% F
Ever perp.: 4.33%
M, 4.21% F
Ever vict. 8.57%
M, 9.37% F
Physical 1
psychological
perp.: 5.51% M,
7.48% F
Vict.: 15.15% M,
8.60% F
Trinidad and
Tobago: Le Franc
et al. (2008)
996 men and
women (large
population)
Ever perp.: 45.0% M, 48.2% F
Ever vict.: 47.7% M, 45.2% F
Ever perp.: 70.5%
M, 77.4% F
Ever vict.: 66.6%
M, 69.3% F
Ever perp.: 52.9%
M, 49.9% F
Ever vict. 52.5%
M, 51.6% F
Venezuela: Straus
(2008)
209 university
students (IDVS)
Past year perp.: 25% M, 24% F
Severe: 15% M, 10% F
63% bidirectional
63% bidirectional severe
Dominance score:
2.03 M, 1.93 F
Note. PV 5 partner violence; ever perp. 5 ever perpetrated; vict. 5 victimization; perp. 5 perpetration; IDVS 5 International Dating
Violence Study.
Partner Abuse Worldwide 45
and Trinidad and Tobago. The CTS2 was used to collect information on lifetime rates of
physical, psychological, and sexual abuse perpetration and victimization. In Barbados,
the study sample consisted of 1,003 respondents. Physical violence perpetration was
reported by 53.9% of women and 48.8% of men. Psychological abuse perpetration was
reported by 74.6% of women and 76.5% of men, whereas sexual abuse perpetration,
surprisingly, was reported by a slightly larger percentage of women (47.4%) than men
(42.1%). In contrast, higher rates of victimization were reported by women compared to
men for physical (50.0% vs. 44.7%) and sexual abuse (52.8% vs. 39.6%). Psychological
victimization was reported by 70.7% of women and 76.1% of men.
Brazil. There were three gender-inclusive studies in Brazil. The largest of these was
conducted with a national sample of 26,003 women who reported on rates of physi-
cal and psychological IPV in the past year (Reichenheim et al., 2006). The women
reported to have perpetrated physical assaults at a higher rate than men (19.7% vs.
14.6%); however, they also indicated that the average number of assaults perpetrated
by the male partners was 2.31, whereas they reported an average of 1.70 for them-
selves. The authors reported an overall rate for psychological abuse perpetration at
75%, without specifying the rates across gender.
As part of the IDVS, Straus and his colleagues (2008) surveyed 236 university stu-
dents, 67.4% of whom were female. Among this sample, 23% (n 5 37) of the females
and 22% of the males (n 5 17) reported perpetrating physical violence on their part-
ners. Bidirectional violence was the most common form of violence in 71.1% of the
sample (with bidirectional severe violence at 70.5%). Dominance scores were virtu-
ally identical across gender, at 1.96 for males and 1.94 for females.
Gomez, Speizer, and Moracco (2011) also examined both perpetration and vic-
timization among young adult men (N 5 240) and women (N 5 198) between 15
and 24 years of age living in Rio de Janeiro, with a particular focus on the associa-
tion between PV and gender equality. Overall, 32% reported any victimization, 40%
reported any perpetration, and 22% reported both being victims and perpetrators.
Recent perpetration was reported by 18% of the males (no data was provided on
female perpetration). Females reported jealousy as the most common motivation for
being violent, whereas for males, the primary motive was retaliation. For females, the
most common response to being abused was to leave and later return.
Chile. The one gender-inclusive study from Chile was conducted at a university study
in Santiago (Lehrer, Lehrer, & Zhao, 2009), with a sample of 484 women and 466 men
(median age 5 20 years). Respondents were administered the 2005 Survey of Student
Well-Being and asked about physical and psychological dating violence victimiza-
tion in the last 12 months and since the age of 14 years. Questions also addressed
the severity of the abuse and subsequent injury. Physical violence victimization was
reported by 15.1% of women and 26.6% of men for the previous 12-month period and
by 25.4% of women and 37.9% of men since the age of 14 years. Most of the physical
violence was mild to moderate. Psychological abuse victimization was experienced by
46 Esquivel-Santoveña et al.
67.3% of women and 79.9% of men in the last 12 months of the study. Although rates
of physical and psychological victimization were higher for the men, women incurred
physical injuries at a higher rate (15.9% vs. 6.9% in the last 12 months and 19.5% vs.
13.3% since the age of 14 years).
Guatemala. The Guatemala sample from the IDVS (Straus, 2008) consisted of 168
students. Females reported much higher overall past year physical assault rates
compared to the males (32% vs. 17%) and higher rates of severe assaults (9% vs.
6%). About two thirds (66.6%) of overall physical IPV reported was bidirectional, and
bidirectional severe rates were somewhat lower at 55.5%. Dominance scores were
very close to those found in Brazil at 1.98 for females and 1.97 for males.
Jamaica. Jamaica was included in the Le Franc et al. (2008) study described previ-
ously. From a large national sample of 1,402 respondents, the authors reported lifetime
physical IPV perpetration rates of 52.4% for women and 39.9% for men; psychological
perpetration rates of 76.6% for women and 69.8% for men; and sexual abuse rates of
67.9% for women and 60.0% for men. However, victimization was reported at higher
rates by females for all three types of abuse: 45.3% versus 40.4%, physical; 69.4%
versus 66.5%, psychological; and 72.6% versus 57.2%, sexual. No information was
provided regarding the percentage of males and females included in the survey.
Mexico. We identified two gender-inclusive studies in Mexico, both drawing from
student samples. Rivera-Rivera, Allen-Leigh, Rodriquez-Ortega, Chavez-Ayala, and
Lazcano-Ponce (2007) conducted a random sample survey of 7,960 junior high, senior
high, and college students from urban, suburban, and rural areas of Mexico. The
age range of the respondents was 11–24 years, with males making up 42% of the
study samples. Respondents were given a written questionnaire in their classrooms,
consisting of various questions on demographic characteristics as well as a modified
CTS to obtain data on family and dating abuse. Lifetime physical IPV was found to
be perpetrated by 20.99% of the females and 19.54% of the males, whereas 9.88% of
the females and 22.71% of the males said they had been victimized at least once by a
dating partner. More males than females reported psychological abuse perpetration,
although by a slim margin (4.33% vs. 4.21%), and a greater number of females said
they had been psychologically victimized (9.37% vs. 8.57%).
The IDVS sample from Mexico (Straus, 2008) consisted of 190 students. A much
higher rate of past year overall perpetration was reported by females (47%) in com-
parison to males (27%), and severe assaults were reported by 13% of males and 17% of
females. About three quarters (77.7%) of the violence was bidirectional (64.8% mutu-
ally severe). Average dominance scores were 2.10 for females and 2.03 for males.
Trinidad and Tobago. The third of the Le Franc et al. (2008) multicountry studies was
carried out in Trinidad and Tobago, with a sample of 996 adults. As with the other
two surveys, rates for all types of abuse were reported at high rates. Lifetime physical
abuse perpetration was reported by 48.2% of women and 45.0% of men, psychological
Partner Abuse Worldwide 47
perpetration was reported by 77.4% of women and 70.5% of men, and 49.9% of women
and 52.9% of men admitted to having perpetrated sexual abuse on their partner. With
respect to victimization, the physical abuse rates were 45.2% for women and 47.7%
for men, rates of psychological abuse were 69.3% for women and 66.6% for men, and
sexual victimization was reported by 51.6% of women and 52.5% of men.
Venezuela. The IDVS study by Straus (2008) conducted in Venezuela provided data on
past year physical perpetration rates and dominance among 209 university students.
Overall assault perpetration was reported by 25% of males and 24% females, with
severe assaults reported at rates of 15% and 10%, respectively. Overall bidirectional
physical violence was found in 63.4% of the sample, and severe physical mutual vio-
lence was found to only a slighter extent in 62.5% of the sample. Males scored higher
for dominance than females, with scores of 2.03 versus 1.93, respectively.
Studies Reporting Only Female Intimate Partner Violence Victimization. The
prevalence of partner abuse in Latin America and the Caribbean among female-only
samples ranges widely. We found the lowest lifetime rates of physical abuse victim-
ization from the DHS conducted in Haiti at 11.9% (Harling, Msisha, & Subramanian,
2010). The lowest past year rates were reported in the DHS study from the Dominican
Republic at 9.8% (Harling et al., 2010) and in the WHO survey conducted in an urban
area of Brazil at 8.3% (WHO, 2005). At the other extreme, the highest rates of lifetime
physical violence were 64.6%, found in the study of pregnant women in León, Nica-
ragua by Salazar, Valladares, Ohman, and Hogberg (2009); and 61.0%, found in the
WHO rural sample from Peru (WHO, 2005). The latter study also reported among the
highest past year women victimization rates (24.8%). High rates of physical PV were
also found in a study conducted in an impoverished section of Brazil’s capital city at
58.6% lifetime and 32.4% past year (Moura, Gandolfi, Vasconcelos, & Pratesi, 2009).
The lowest rates for psychological/emotional abuse were found in the DHS stud-
ies conducted in Columbia (11.5% lifetime) and in Haiti (13.2% lifetime, 10.8% past
year; Kishor & Johnson, 2004). The highest rates were reported in the Moura et al.
(2009) study from Brazil at 80.2% lifetime and 50.0% for the previous year. Similar
to the physical violence findings, the highest rates of sexual violence victimization
were reported by women in rural Peru (46.7% lifetime, 22.9% past year; WHO, 2005)
and Brazil (28.2% lifetime, 15.5% previous year; Moura et al., 2009). In Honduras, a
lifetime prevalence rate of 1.1% was reported from a national representative sample
of 19,948 respondents (Rico, Fenn, Abramsky, & Watts, 2011), and the DHS national
survey in the Dominican Republic reported the next lowest rate at 4.2% (Kishor &
Johnson, 2004). The lowest past year rates were reported at 3.0% in Guatemala (from
a sample of pregnant women) and 3.9% in the DHS study from Nicaragua.
Impact on Victims. Two effects of IPV were mentioned in the studies identified in our
tables, with physical injuries noted in four studies from the Central American region
and one from Chile and complications in pregnancies found among women in Lima,
48 Esquivel-Santoveña et al.
Peru (Sanchez et al., 2008). The study from Santiago, Chile (Lehrer et al., 2009) with
male and female university students was the only study to directly compare physi-
cal injury rates across gender, wherein 15.9% of women and 6.9% of men reported
injuries for the previous 12 months, and 19.5% of women and 13.3% of men reported
injuries since the age of 14 years.
Risk Factors. Risk factors were cited in only 12 of the 21countries. The most prevalent
risk factor associated with victimization was women’s lower level of education (six
studies), with several risk factors mentioned in four studies: low income, tolerance for
abuse, and having experienced violence in childhood (including witnessing interparen-
tal violence, experiencing child abuse, and being a member of a gang in adolescence).
Fifteen additional victimization risk factors were mentioned between one to three
times. Victim substance or alcohol use was found in two studies, and being sexually
active and having had a miscarriage were found to be risk factors in one study each.
Risk factors associated with perpetration in Latin America were not as frequently
mentioned as in studies from other regions of the world. The ones most frequently
cited were substance abuse and jealousy toward partners (two studies each). The fol-
lowing risk factors were cited in only one study each: perpetrator’s younger age, low
education and unemployment, having multiple sexual partners, gang membership,
and a need to control the partner. One study found that being in a middle to high
social class was also associated with perpetration.
Attitudes About Intimate Partner Violence. None of the summarized studies addressed
this issue.
Europe and the Caucasus
According to the United Nations (United Nations Statistics Division, 2011), there are
53 countries in Europe. The systematic search identified 22 studies in 14 of the coun-
tries in eastern Europe (Moldova, Romania, Russia, and Ukraine), northern Europe
(Finland, Norway, and Sweden), southern Europe (Albania, Portugal, and Spain),
western Europe (Belgium and Germany), and in two countries located in the Cau-
casus region (Azerbaijan and Georgia). There are around 14 major ethnic groups in
the countries where the studies were conducted (Albanians, Azerbaijani Turks, Cas-
tilians, Finns, Flemish, Germans, Georgians, Moldovans, Norwegians, Portuguese,
Romanians, Russians, Swedes, and Ukrainians), and many other minority ethnic
groups in the different European nations. The main religious groups are Christians,
Muslims, and Roman Catholics. There are approximately around 15 main languages
spoken in the countries where the studies were conducted, and many other regional
spoken in each of these nations.
From the participating countries in European countries and the Caucasus region,
7 (Belgium, Finland, Germany, Norway, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden) out of the 14
participating countries have achieved a very high human development, 6 countries
Partner Abuse Worldwide 49
(Albania, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Romania, Russia, and Ukraine) have achieved high
human development, and only 1 nation (Moldova) has achieved medium human
development (United Nations Development Programme, 2010).
There is some variation in the degree of gender inequality in across the European
countries included in this review. The latest GII figures reported in 2010 by the
United Nations Human Development Reports, along with their relative position
among the 138 countries for which the GII statistics were available are the follow-
ing: eastern Europe—Moldova: 0.429 (29th percentile), Romania: 0.478 (35th per-
centile), Russia: 0.442 (30th percentile), Ukraine: 0.463 (32nd percentile); northern
Europe—Finland: 0.248 (6th percentile), Norway: 0.234 (3rd percentile), Sweden:
0.212 (2nd percentile); southern Europe—Albania: 0.545 (44th percentile), Portugal:
0.310 (15th percentile), Spain: 0.280 (10th percentile); western Europe—Belgium:
0.236 (4th percentile), Germany: 0.240 (5th percentile); and Caucasus—Azerbaijan:
0.553 (45th percentile), Georgia: 0.597 (51st percentile).
Studies That Include Male-to-Female and Female-to-Male Intimate Partner
Violence. Five articles reported on 16 studies (including the individual studies of the
IDVS; Straus, 2008) out of the 22 found in Europe and the Caucasus region on preva-
lence rates for male and female perpetration or victimization (see Table 5). Rates
for physical abuse were reported by nearly all of the studies, whereas few studies
reported on rates of psychological or sexual abuse. The most common time frame used
to measure rates of physical abuse was for the previous 12-month period. One study
(Zhan et al., 2011) reported rates for the previous 3 months, and one study (O’Leary,
Tintle, Bromet, & Gluzman, 2008) reported on lifetime rates. There were 14 reporting
previous 12-month perpetration ranging from 11.4% to 39.0% for male-perpetrated
IPV and from 11.3% to 39.0% for female perpetrated IPV (Ukraine and Lithuania,
respectively). From the two studies that provided information on previous 12-month
victimization, one (Lysova, 2007) reported slightly higher male victimization (25.6%)
than female victimization (24.8%), whereas the other study (O’Leary et al., 2008)
reported higher female victimization (12.7%) than male victimization (5.8%).
The next section highlights main findings of the aforementioned 16 studies as well
as some of their most important methodological features. Two studies were conducted
in Portugal, two in Russia, one in Ukraine, and one multicountry study exploring IPV
in 12 countries.
Belgium. The IDVS (Straus, 2008) was the only study in Belgium to obtain data on
male and female IPV perpetration. A sample of 686 university students reported
higher female overall (35%) and severe (12%) physical IPV than male perpetration
(29% and 7%). Bidirectional overall (69%) physical IPV was just higher than the over-
all estimates of the IDVS; however, bidirectional severe (48%) physical IPV perpetra-
tion was lower than the global estimate of the IDVS. Female dominance (M 5 1.80)
was higher than male dominance (M 5 1.77). In general, dominance levels by women
and men in Germany were lower than the global estimates of the IDVS.
50 Esquivel-Santoveña et al.
TABLE 5. Rates of Physical, Psychological, and Sexual Abuse for Males and Females From 17 Studies in Europe and the
Caucasus
Country/
Reference
N/ Type of
Sample Physical
Psychological/
Control Sexual Any PV
Belgium: Straus
(2008)
686 uni versity
students
(IDVS)
Past year perp.: 29% M, 35% F
Severe: 7% M, 12% F
69% bidirectional
48% bidirectional severe
Dominance score:
1.77 M, 1.80 F
Germany: Straus
(2008)
483 university
students
(IDVS)
Past year perp.: 24% M, 28% F
Severe: 6% M, 8% F
63% bidirectional
54% bidirectional severe
Dominance score:
1.82 M, 1.90 F
Greece: Straus
(2008)
213 university
students
(IDVS)
Past year perp.: 39% M, 26% F
Severe: 18% M, 14% F
58% bidirectional
59% bidirectional severe
Dominance score:
2.17 M, 1.98 F
Hungary: Straus
(2008)
152 university
students
(IDVS)
Past year perp.: 27% M, 21% F
Severe: 12% M, 11% F
70% bidirectional
42% bidirectional severe
Dominance score:
2.08 M, 1.93 F
Lithuania: Straus
(2008)
347 university
students
(IDVS)
Past year perp.: 22% M, 39% F
Severe: 5% M, 11% F
71% bidirectional
48% bidirectional severe
Dominance score:
2.11 M, 2.20 F
Malta: Straus
(2008)
97 university
students
(IDVS)
Past year perp.: 30% M, 16% F
Severe: 0% M, 5% F
48% bidirectional
13% bidirectional severe
Dominance score:
1.75 M, 1.95 F
Partner Abuse Worldwide 51
The Netherlands:
Straus (2008)
380 u niversity
students
(IDVS)
Past year perp.: 31% M, 32% F
Severe: 8% M, 5% F
71% bidirectional
48% bidirectional severe
Dominance score:
1.67 M, 1.70 F
Portugal: Straus
(2008)
352 u niversity
students
(IDVS)
Past year perp.: 14% M, 18% F
Severe: 5% M, 5% F
64% bidirectional
70% bidirectional severe
Dominance score:
1.89 M, 1.89 F
Portugal:
Machado et al.
(2007)
2,391 parents
(community)
Past year perp.: 12.0% overall
Slapping face: 9.7% M, 5.6% F
Pushing violently: 5.7% M, 3.8% F
Throw objects: 2.2% M, 3.6% F
Pulling hair: 2.9% M, 2.8% F
Punching: 1.7% M, 2.3% F
Threatening with weapons or
physical force: 1.5% M, 0.8% F
Clasping neck: 0.9% M, 1.1% F
Past year perp.: 23.7%
overall
Insult/humiliate:
18.6% M, 16.2% F
Yelling/threatening:
13.0% M, 9.2% F
Breaking objects,
throwing food on
floor: 7.4% M, 5.9% F
Forbidding contact
with others: 1.3% M,
1.5% F
Portugal:
Machado et al.
(2010)
4,667 secondary,
professional
schools, and
universities
Past year perp.: 18.1%, 7.3% severe
Past year vict.: 13.4%,
6.7% severe; 20.9% were both
perpetrators and victims
Past year perp.:
22.4%
Past year vict.: 19.5%
Past year perp.:
31.0%
Past year vict.:
25.4%
Romania: Straus
(2008)
236 university
students
(IDVS)
Past year perp.: 29% M, 32% F
Severe: 9% M, 11% F
67% bidirectional
42% bidirectional severe
Dominance score:
2.00 M, 2.01 F
(continued)
52 Esquivel-Santoveña et al.
TABLE 5. (continued)
Country/
Reference
N/ Type of
Sample Physical
Psychological/
Control Sexual Any PV
Russia: Lysova
(2007)
338 university
students
Past year perp.: 20.5% M, 37.9% F
Severe: 8.4% M, 15.4% F
Past year vict.: 25.6% M, 24.8% F
Severe: 8.5% M, 8.9% F
Past year perp.:
23.2% M, 25.7% F
Past year vict.:
14.5% M, 36.6% F
Russia: Straus
(2008)
398 university
students
(IDVS)
Past year perp.: 24% M, 38% F
Severe: 9% M, 15% F
70% bidirectional
62% bidirectional severe
Dominance score:
2.37 M, 2.21 F
Russia: Zhan
et al. (2011)
440 medical
clinic
Past 3 months overall perp.: 7.2%
(no significant gender differences)
Sweden: Straus
(2008)
671 u niversity
students
(IDVS)
Past year perp.: 19% M, 18% F
Severe: 1% M, 2% F
60% bidirectional
25% bidirectional severe
Dominance score:
1.65 M, 1.68 F
Switzerland:
Straus (2008)
310 un iversity
students
(IDVS)
Past year perp.: 27% M, 24% F
Severe: 7% M, 5% F
65% bidirectional
62% bidirectional severe
Dominance score:
1.73 M, 1.76 F
Ukraine: O’Leary
et al. (2008)
1,116 (large
population)
Ever vict.: 9% M, 20% F
Past year vict.: 6% M, 13% F
Ever perp.: 19% M, 19% F
Past year perp.: 11% M, 11% F
Note. PV 5 partner violence; IDVS 5 International Dating Violence Study; perp. 5 perpetration; vict. 5 victimization; ever perp. 5
ever perpetrated.
Partner Abuse Worldwide 53
Germany. Likewise, the IDVS (Straus, 2008) was the only study in Germany to pro-
vide data on male and female perpetration of IPV perpetration. The sample consisted
of 483 university students and reported higher female overall (28%) and severe (8%)
physical IPV perpetration than male perpetration (24% and 6%). Bidirectional overall
physical IPV (63%) was lower than the global rate of the IDVS, whereas bidirectional
severe physical IPV perpetration (54%) was symmetrical with the global rate of the
IDVS. Female dominance (M 5 1.90) was higher than male dominance (M 5 1.82).
The levels of male and female dominance in Germany were lower than the average of
all the countries in the IDVS.
Greece. The one study identified in this review conducted in Greece was part of the
IDVS (Straus, 2008). Based on a sample of 213 university students, it reported higher
overall (39%) and severe (18%) male perpetration of physical IPV compared to female
perpetration (26% and 14%). Bidirectional overall physical IPV (58%) was lower than
the global estimate of the IDVS; however, bidirectional severe physical IPV perpetra-
tion (59%) was higher than the overall rates of the IDVS. Male dominance (M 5 2.17)
in Greece was higher than female dominance (M 5 1.98). Male dominance was higher
than the global estimate for men in the IDVS, whereas female dominance was just
under the global estimate for women in the IDVS.
Hungary. Hungary was another participating nation in the IDVS that provided data
on 152 university students (Straus, 2008). It found higher male perpetration (27%) of
physical IPV than female perpetration (21%), whereas male (12%) and female (21%)
severe physical IPV perpetration were almost symmetrical. Bidirectional overall
physical IPV (70%) in Hungary is higher than the overall rate of the IDVS, whereas
bidirectional mutual physical IPV perpetration (42%) estimates were lower than the
global rates of the IDVS. Male domination (M 5 2.08) was higher than female domi-
nation (M 5 1.93). Male domination levels were above the global levels of men in the
IDVS, whereas female domination levels were lower than the global score for women
in the IDVS.
Lithuania. The IDVS yielded data on Lithuania from a sample of 347 university
students (Straus, 2008), indicating a higher prevalence of female overall (39%) and
severe (11%) physical IPV perpetration than male perpetration (22% and 5%). Rates
of bidirectional overall physical IPV (71%), as in various other European nations, is
higher than the global estimate of the IDVS, whereas bidirectional severe physical
IPV perpetration (48%) was lower than the total prevalence in the IDVS. Female
domination (M 5 2.20) was higher than men’s (M 5 2.11). Domination levels by males
and females were higher than the global estimates of the IDVS.
Malta. A study from the IDVS reported on a sample of 97 Maltese male university stu-
dents (Straus, 2008). Higher male overall physical IPV perpetration (30%) was found
in comparison with those by females (16%). However, 5% of females were reported to
perpetrate severe physical IPV, whereas men did not report any. Similarly, to most
54 Esquivel-Santoveña et al.
European nations in the IDVS, the Maltese sample reported lower prevalence of bidi-
rectional overall (48%) and even lower bidirectional severe physical IPV (13%) than
the global average of the IDVS. Dominance by females (M 5 1.95) was higher than
dominance by males (M 5 1.75). Levels of dominance exerted by male and female
participants in Malta were lower than global levels calculated for the entire IDVS.
The Netherlands. A participating study of the IDVS in the Netherlands (Straus, 2008)
with 380 male and female university students found almost symmetrical rates of
overall physical IPV perpetration by the sexes (men 5 31%, women 5 32%); however,
males (8%) reported more severe physical IPV perpetration than females (5%).
Bidirectional overall (71%) and severe (48%) physical IPV was considerably lower
than the global estimates of the IDVS. Women scored just higher (M 5 1.70) on per-
petrated dominance than men (M 5 1.67), and both estimates were lower than the
global dominance levels of the IDVS.
Portugal. One of the three studies identified by the review in Portugal was conducted
by Machado et al. (2007). Its sample comprises 2,391 female and male married or
cohabiting parents of children younger than 18 years of age in eight regions in north
Portugal. Information about overall IPV perpetration (by both men and women)
within the previous 12 months was obtained via the Marital Violence Inventory.
The 26.2% of participants reported perpetrating any acts of IPV that included spe-
cific behavioral acts of physical or emotional abuse. Physical IPV was reported by
12.0% of participants and emotional IPV was reported by 23.7%. Men reported higher
rates for slapping, pushing, threatening with weapons or physical force, yelling, and
threatening; and women reported higher rates for throwing objects, clasping neck,
and forbidding contact with others. There were only minor differences across gender
for pulling hair, reported by 2.9% of men and 2.8% of women; insult or humiliate,
reported by 18.6% of men and 16.2% of women; and breaking objects and throwing
food on the floor, reported by 7.4% of men and 5.9% of women.
Another study in Portugal, part of the IDVS (Straus, 2008), surveyed 352 male and
female university students and reported higher female (18%) overall physical IPV
perpetration than male (14%) perpetration. Severe physical IPV between the sexes
was symmetrical (5%). Bidirectional overall physical IPV (64%) was lower than the
overall average of the IDVS; however, bidirectional severe physical IPV (70%) was
perpetrated at a lower rate than the global estimates of the IDVS. Dominance was
symmetrically perpetrated (M 5 1.89) by the sexes, and these estimates were lower
than the global scores of the IDVS.
The third Portugal study was conducted with 4,667 male and female students
in secondary and professional training schools and university (Machado, Caridade,
& Martins, 2010). Perpetration and victimization experiences of total (minor and
severe) and severe physical and emotional IPV by both partners in the previous year
was inquired from participants by means of the Marital Violence Inventory. Perpe-
tration reports of one or more abusive acts of dating violence (perpetration 5 31.0%,
Partner Abuse Worldwide 55
victimization 5 25.4%), physical IPV (perpetration 5 18.1%, victimization 5 13.4%),
emotional IPV (perpetration 5 22.4%, victimization 5 19.5%), physical and emotional
IPV (perpetration 5 10.6%, victimization 5 8.0%), as well as severe physical IPV
(perpetration 5 7.3%, victimization 5 6.7%) were higher than victimization reports.
Mutual overall IPV was reported by 21% of participants; however, the study reported
that 48% of participants did not provide enough information on their perpetration,
and more than half (56%) did not provide data on their victimization experiences to
be classified as perpetrators and victims, respectively.
Romania. A study conducted with 236 male and female university students as part of
the IDVS project (Straus, 2008) found higher female overall (32%) and severe (11%)
physical IPV perpetration in comparison to IPV perpetrated by men (overall 5 29%,
severe 5 9%). Overall (67%) and severe (42%) bidirectional physical IPV was lower
than the overall average for the whole IDVS project. Dominance levels between the
sexes were symmetrical (2%) and higher than global estimates for men and women.
Russia. A study from the IDVS project analyzed by Lysova (2007) involved 338 male
and female university students from three Russian universities. Female overall per-
petration (37.9%) and male victimization (25.6%) was higher than male perpetra-
tion (20.5%) or female victimization (24.8%). Perpetration of severe physical IPV by
women (15.4%) was considerably higher than male perpetration (8.4%); however, vic-
timization experiences were almost symmetrical between the sexes (approximately
8.0%). Sexual coercion reached important levels in Russian students. Rates indicated
that female perpetration had been higher for women (25.7%) than for men (23.2%) in
the previous 12 months, whereas victimization experiences by women were consider-
ably higher than male victimization experiences.
Straus (2008) reported on IPV experiences among 398 Russian university stu-
dents.5 Female perpetration of overall (38%) and severe (15%) physical IPV was
higher than male perpetration (overall 5 24%, severe 5 9%). Bidirectional overall
(70%) and severe (62%) physical IPV perpetration was higher than global percent-
ages of the IDVS. Dominance levels were generally higher than the overall average
and slightly higher for men (M 5 2.37) than for women (M 5 2.21).
Zhan et al. (2011) interviewed 440 patients who had attended consultation for gen-
itourinary problems or required medical assistance over STDs in a medical clinic in
Saint Petersburg, Russia, and asked about their experiences on perpetrating physical
and sexual PV via the CTS2. The 7.2% of participants reported perpetrating IPV in
the past 3 months, although no significant sex differences were noted.
Sweden. The only gender-inclusive study identified by the review in Sweden was part
of the IDVS project (Straus, 2008) and provided data on 671 university students via
the CTS2. It reported that male perpetration (19%) is just slightly more elevated than
female perpetration (18%), whereas exactly the opposite occurs with severe male (1%)
and female (2%) physical IPV perpetration. Overall and severe bidirectional IPV in
Sweden were lower than the overall prevalence rates of the IDVS. Levels of male
56 Esquivel-Santoveña et al.
(M 5 1.65) and female (M 5 1.68) dominance were approximately similar and gener-
ally lower than the global dominance estimates of the IDVS for men or women.
Switzerland. The one study conducted in Switzerland is also the last of the IDVS stud-
ies conducted in Europe (Straus, 2008). From a sample of 310 male and female uni-
versity students, results indicated that male overall (27%) and severe (7%) physical
IPV perpetration was higher than female perpetration (overall 5 24%, severe 5 5%).
Overall bidirectional (65%) IPV was less frequent in Switzerland compared to the
overall prevalence of the IDVS, whereas bidirectional severe IPV (62%) was higher
than global estimates. Male (M 5 1.73) and female (M 5 1.76) dominance levels were
almost symmetrical.
Ukraine. O’Leary et al. (2008) described the results of a nationally representative
sample of 558 married and cohabiting couples in Ukraine (24 states and the Republic
of Crimea), part of a World Mental Health Survey and using a standardized assess-
ment tool to gather data of participant’s IPV experiences. For victimization, 8.6%
of men and 20.1% of women reported to have ever been physically abused by their
partner, and 5.8% of men and 12.7% of women said they were abused in the past year.
Perpetration rates were about the same across gender at 18.7% for men and 18.5% for
women lifetime and 11.4% for men and 11.3% for women in the past year.
Studies Reporting Only Female Intimate Partner Violence Victimization.
Seventeen articles reporting on 24 studies (including multicountry surveys) assessed
male-to-female IPV, and one study assessed attitudes about violence against women
(Stickley, Kislitsyna, Timofeeva, & Vagero, 2008). Eight studies were conducted with
community samples, one with a selected sample of older women aged 50 years or older
(Stöckl, Watts, & Penhale, 2012), one with a sample of female secondary and univer-
sity students (Rodríguez-Franco, Antuña-Bellerín, López-Cepero Borrego, Rodríguez-
Díaz, & Bringas-Molleda, 2012), and seven studies conducted with clinical or selected
samples (e.g., women attending for medical consultation or selected for being acutely
victimized in the past). The most commonly reported time frame of male-to-female
IPV was lifetime (11 studies), followed by IPV in the previous 12 months (8 studies),
and IPV reported during or postpregnancy (3 studies).
Lifetime female physical victimization in larger samples ranged between 5%
in Georgia (CDC & ORC Macro DHS, 2003) and 39% in Ukraine (Dude, 2007).
However, a study of women who had sought help at an emergency clinic in Finland
(Leppäkoski, Paavilainen, & Åstedt-Kurki, 2011) found lifetime physical IPV at a
rate of 94%. Female victimization in the previous year was reported between 2% in
Georgia (CDC & ORC Macro DHS, 2003) and 37% in Albania (Burazeri et al., 2005).
Only two studies reported lifetime prevalence of severe physical IPV victimiza-
tion, with 5.0% in Azerbaijan (Devries et al., 2010) and 8.8% in Norway (Neroien &
Schei, 2008).
Psychological (including verbal and/or coercive control) lifetime female victimiza-
tion ranged from 19.0% in Georgia and Ukraine (CDC & ORC Macro DHS, 2003) to
Partner Abuse Worldwide 57
61.5% in Macedonia (C
´opic
´, 2004); 12-month victimization ranged between 6.0% in
Ukraine and 7.0% in Russia to 23.0% in Romania (CDC & ORC Macro DHS, 2003).
Lifetime rates of female sexual IPV victimization were found to vary between
1.0% in Germany (Stöckl, Heise, & Watts, 2011) and 36.6% in Russia (Lysova, 2007),
whereas victimization in the previous 12 months ranged between 1.0% in Georgia
and 5.0% in Azerbaijan (CDC & ORC Macro DHS, 2003).
Prevalence of lifetime overall (physical and/or psychological and/or sexual) IPV
varied from 1% in Germany (Stöckl et al., 2011) to 32% in Spain. Previous 12-month
estimates ranged between 3.5% in the former Yugoslavia (C
´opic
´, 2004) and 10.1% in
Madrid, Spain (Zorrilla et al., 2009).
Impact on Victims. Three studies in Europe provided information on various physical
and mental health effects that IPV has on women. Heiskanen and Piispa (1998) reported
that 49% of Swedish and Finnish women from a community sample had experienced
physical injury, 10% had sought medical care, and 2% had been hospitalized. Sixty-seven
percent of victims reported psychological sequelae such as depression, low self-esteem,
sleeping problems, and negative feelings of shame and guilt. Neroien and Schei (2008)
also reported that Norwegian women who had been victims of IPV expressed worse
health problems such as long-standing illness and were more likely to take prescribed
drugs, to feel more depressed and anxious, and to experience more psychosomatic issues
than nonvictimized women. Dude (2007) reported that 50% of Ukrainian women from
the community who had been victims of IPV had contracted a sexually transmittable
illness (STI), and their partners were more likely to incur in sexual risky behaviors such
as not using condoms or having multiple sex partners in the previous year.
Risk Factors. The five most cited factors for IPV in the studies included in the re-
view are perpetrator’s alcohol abuse (six studies), witnessing parental violence (five
studies), victim’s unemployment (four studies), victim’s younger age (three studies),
and victim’s lower education (three studies). Thirty-eight risk factors were identified,
most of them only once or twice.
Attitudes About Intimate Partner Violence. Attitudes about IPV as risk factors were
found in two studies. Stickley et al. (2008) reported that more women (53%) than men
(33%) believe that violence against women is a serious problem, whereas 19% of men
and 11% of women disagree on that view. Men and women alike more readily justify
violence against women if the man thinks the woman is unfaithful or if he discovers
she has been unfaithful.
SUMMARY OF RESULTS FROM LITERATURE REVIEW
(ALL REGIONS)
One hundred sixty-two articles were identified. Including articles on multicountry
studies, we reported on more than 200 studies from 72 countries in Asia, the Middle
East, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Europe.
58 Esquivel-Santoveña et al.
Gender-Inclusive Studies
Across all five world regions, we identified 40 articles (73 studies) in 49 countries con-
taining data on both male and female IPV, as represented in Tables 1 through 5.
Most of the studies (44) reported on results based on dating students, adolescents, or
clinical samples; 29 of the studies were based on large population or community samples.
There were 117 direct comparisons across gender for physical PV. Rates of physi-
cal PV were higher for female perpetration/male victimization compared to male
perpetration/female victimization, or were the same, in 73 of those comparisons
(62%). There were 54 comparisons made for psychological abuse including controlling
behaviors and dominance, with higher rates found for female perpetration/male vic-
timization in 36 comparisons (67%). Of the 19 direct comparisons that were made for
sexual PV, rates were found to be higher for female perpetration/male victimization
in 7 comparisons (37%). Higher rates for any female perpetration/male victimization
were found in only 2 out of 8 comparisons (25%). In total, there were 198 direct com-
parisons across gender for all types of partner abuse. The rates were higher for female
perpetration/male victimization, or the same, in 118 comparisons (60%). A higher
number of comparisons indicating greater female victimization/male perpetration
was found in 18 countries. Greater female perpetration/male victimization was found
in 23 countries, and an equal number of comparisons was found in 8 countries.
Large Population and Community Samples. Given that several of the IDVS stud-
ies were based on very small samples, the limitations of clinical samples, and the
superiority of more representative community and large population samples, we also
looked separately at the 44 large population and community samples that reported on
adult nonstudent abuse. Together, these yielded 81 direct comparisons across gender.
The percentage of partner abuse that was higher for female perpetration/male victim-
ization compared to male perpetration/female victimization, or were the same, were as
follows: physical abuse—22/44 (50%); psychological abuse/control/ dominance—10/19
(53%); sexual abuse—4/13 (31%); and any abuse—0/5 (0%). The overall percentage
was 44% for adult IPV. However, it should be noted that in many comparisons, the dif-
ferences were slight. For example, past year physical victimization rates in Namibia
were 15% for men and 17% for women (Andersson et al., 2007); lifetime physical abuse
perpetration in South Africa (Gass et al., 2010) was reported at 26.5% for men and
25.2% for women; and in Portugal, wives reported insulting and humiliating partners
at a rate of 16.2% compared to husbands at 18.6% (Machado et al., 2007). When these
close percentages are taken into account, then the overall percentage of adult IPV
that is symmetrical—comparable across gender or higher in the direction of male
victimization/female perpetration—constitutes most IPV throughout the world. In 11
countries, women were found to be predominantly victims, and males were found to
be primarily perpetrators. There were 14 countries in which rates of partner abuse
from larger populations were found to be symmetrical across gender: China, Hong
Kong, Philippines, Thailand, Botswana, Namibia, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Barbados,
Brazil, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Portugal, and Ukraine.
Partner Abuse Worldwide 59
Studies Reporting Only Female Intimate Partner Violence Victimization
Across the major regions of the world, the lowest reported past year rates for physi-
cal abuse victimization reported in the female victimization-only studies were found
in a large population study in Georgia (2.0%) and a community survey in Japan
(3.1%). Lifetime rates were lowest again in Georgia (5.0%) and in a community sur-
vey in Nigeria (5.3%). The highest rates of physical IPV victimization were found in
a community survey in Ethiopia (72.5% past year) and among a rural population in
Bangladesh (67.0% lifetime). On the higher end, rates of physical PV far exceed the
average found in the United States.
The lowest rates of past year psychological victimization were found in large popu-
lation studies in Haiti (10.8%) and India (12.0%); lifetime rates were lowest again in
Haiti (13.2%) as well as in large population studies in Columbia (11.5%) and Georgia
(19.0%). The highest past year psychological abuse prevalence was 98.7% in Bangkok,
Thailand (past year), and lifetime rates were the highest in a clinical population in
Iran (82.6%) and in a Brazilian slum (80.2%). Unlike physical IPV, the highest rates
of psychological abuse throughout the world are about the same as those found in the
United States (80%; Carney & Barner, 2012).
Rates of sexual abuse victimization differed widely across regions, with past year
rates as low as 1.0% in Georgia (large population) and 1.3% in Japan (urban commu-
nity), and lifetime rates of 0.6% in Egypt (large population), and 1.1% in Honduras (large
population). In contrast, the rates for the past year were as high as 53.4% in Pakistan
(community survey) and 58% in Ethiopia (large population). In Pakistan, lifetime rates
were found to be 54.5% in a community survey, and the highest rates of all were found
in a study of secondary school students in Ethiopia at an astounding 68.0%.
Emerging Research. Important findings on IPV rates have been found in stud-
ies in which multiple countries were sampled—for example, the large scale stud-
ies conducted by WHO (2005) and by the International Dating Violence Research
Consortium (Straus, 2008). One of the more promising new large-scale international
research projects is the International Parenting Study (IPS), conducted by another
consortium of researchers with a sample of 11,408 university students in 15 countries
(13 not including the United States and Canada) between Fall, 2007 and Spring, 2010
(Straus, 2012). Results from this project, only recently made available, address the
broader topic of family violence, but a major area of focus is on witnessed rates of IPV
between parents, as reported by the respondents. Because the findings have not yet
been published in a peer-reviewed journal, we do not include them in our online sum-
mary tables. They were also primarily limited, with exception of Hong Kong, Taiwan,
and Israel, to European countries. Still, we mention them because of their impor-
tance to IPV research; for instance, whereas the IDVS reported on IPV rates among
dating students, the IPS reports on IPV among married and cohabitating adults,
arguably a more representative sample. The students reported on physical assaults
between their parents when they were 10 years old. Preliminary results indicate that
fathers assault mothers at a rate ranging from 0.3% in Norway to 9.9% in Slovenia,
60 Esquivel-Santoveña et al.
with a median rate of 3.8%; and mothers assault fathers at an overall higher rate
(median 5 8.0%) and ranging from 1.7% (Spain) to 24.9% (Poland). However, the
mean number of parental assaults was found to be higher for fathers.
Impact on Victims. The various regions reported similar kinds of consequences for
victims who have experienced IPV. Surprisingly, a relatively small number of stud-
ies focused on the physical consequences of PV. Those that did either did not specify
the types of injuries or identified bruises and broken bones. Physical injuries were
compared across gender in two studies. As expected, women who are abused were
found to experience higher rates of physical injuries compared to men both for the
past year in a Chilean student population (15.90% vs. 6.98%) and since the age of
14 years (19.50% vs. 13.30%) and in a large population study from Uganda (43.00%
vs. 33.00%). Far more frequently mentioned were the psychological and behavioral
effects of abuse, and these included PTSD symptomology, stress, depression, irrita-
bility, feelings of shame and guilt, poor self-esteem, flashbacks, sexual dissatisfac-
tion and unwanted sexual behavior, changes in eating behavior, and aggression. Two
studies compared mental health symptoms across gender. In Botswana, women were
found to evidence significantly more of these than men, whereas in a clinical study
in Pakistan, male and female IPV victims suffered equally (60% of men and women
reported depression 67% anxiety).
Various health-related outcomes were also found to be associated with IPV vic-
timization, including overall poor physical health, more long-term illnesses, having
to take a larger number of prescribed drugs, STDs, and disturbed sleeping patterns.
Mothers who are abused experienced poorer reproductive health, respiratory infec-
tions, induced abortion, and complications during pregnancy; and in a few studies,
their children were found to experience diarrhea, fever, and prolonged coughing.
Risk Factors. The most common risk factors found in this review of IPV in Asia,
Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and Europe have also been found to be sig-
nificant risk factors in the United States and other English-speaking industrialized
nations (Capaldi et al., 2012). Most often cited are the risk factors related to low
household income and victim/perpetrator unemployment—36 studies. An almost
equally high number of studies (35) reported victim’s low education level. Alcohol and
substance abuse by the perpetrator was a risk factor in 26 studies. Family of origin
abuse, whether directly experienced or witnessed, was cited in 18 studies. Victim’s
younger age was also a major risk factor, mentioned in 17 studies, and perpetrator’s
low education level was mentioned in 16. Less frequently mentioned were victim’s
substance abuse (8 studies), victim living in a rural environment (5 studies), and
victim having married at a younger age and being HIV positive (4 studies each).
Attitudes About Intimate Partner Violence. The study on attitudes about IPV
in the United States cited in the introduction to this review found that by 1994, ap-
proval of a husband slapping his wife for any reason was endorsed by only 10% of the
population. In contrast, there is a much higher tolerance by both men and women for
Partner Abuse Worldwide 61
IPV in other parts of the world, with rates of approval depending on the country and
the type of justification. Between 28% and 41% of men agreed that it is sometimes
necessary for a man to beat his wife; and in Nigeria, a remar kable 79% of women
said that wife beating is sometimes justified. Reasons given for why violence against
wives might be justified include her infidelity, refusing him sex, arguing, burning
his food, leaving without his permission, and wasting money. Given the high rates of
female-to-male abuse found in this review, it is noteworthy that none of the studies
asked respondents about their views on husband beating. Nonetheless, perpetrator
proviolent and gender-based beliefs are a serious problem, which are identified risk
factors in 12 studies (mostly in Africa and Asia).
RESULTS OF DATA ANALYSIS
The data analysis on the association of societal and relationship level risk factors
of partner abuse was divided into three parts. In the first part, separate regression
analyses were conducted to test for an association between rank order of human devel-
opment (as measured by HDI rankings) and rates of male and female physical partner
abuse perpetration (lifetime and within the previous year of the study). The associa-
tion between human development rank order and male and female physical partner
abuse in dating samples using the IDVS (Straus, 2008) was examined. Also explored
was the association between the rank order of human development of countries and
their female physical victimization rates in studies that used general population or
large community sample. Regression analyses indicated that HDI rank order was not
significantly associated with rates of male or female physical partner abuse perpe-
tration, neither in studies using general population/large community samples nor in
studies conducted with dating samples. Similarly, regression analyses did not find
HDI rank order to be significantly associated with rates of female physical partner
abuse victimization in studies that used population or large community samples.
The second part of the data analysis involved examining for the association between
gender inequality rankings and both male and female physical abuse perpetration rates
in general population or large community samples and, separately, in dating samples.
The relationship between gender inequality rankings and female-only physical partner
victimization rates in community samples was also examined. Regression analysis in-
dicated that gender inequality rank order was not predictive of either male- or female-
perpetrated physical partner abuse or female-only victimization in studies conducted
with general population or community samples. However, separate regression analyses
on data from the IDVS with dating samples indicate that higher gender inequality
ranking order predicts higher rates of male (b* 5 0.410, t[23] 5 2.110, p 5 .046) and
female (b* 5 0.430, t[23] 5 2.236, p 5 .036) physical partner abuse perpetration. GII
rank order explained the variance for 17% of male partner abuse (R2 5 .168, F[1, 23]
5 4.454, p 5 .046) and 19% of female partner abuse (R2 5 .185, F[1, 23] 5 5.000, p 5
.036) perpetration. According to Cohen’s (1988) suggestions, the strength of these as-
sociations (r 5 .41 and r 5 .43) are of a moderate order.
62 Esquivel-Santoveña et al.
The third part of the data analysis examined the association between dominance
by one partner and PV perpetrated against a partner in dating samples using data
from the IDVS (Straus, 2008) because this was the only multicountry study to con-
sistently provide data for men and women on dominance scores. Male dominance
mean scores were not found to be predictive of male PV perpetration (b* 5 0.335,
t[23] 5 1.666, p 5 .110). Conversely, female dominance mean scores were found to
significantly predict scores of PV perpetration by women (b* 5 0.682, t[23] 5 4,372,
p 5 .001). Female dominance scores explained 47% of the variance of rates of female
PV perpetration (R2 5 .465, F[1, 23] 5 19,112, p 5 .001). This indicates a large effect
size (r 5 .68 [Cohen, 1988]) in the strength of the association between female domi-
nance mean scores and rates of female-perpetrated physical aggression.
DISCUSSION
This review has provided perhaps the most extensive review of findings on partner
abuse outside the United States and other industrialized English-speaking countries.
Rates of partner abuse vary but overall are higher than rates in the United States
and other industrialized English-speaking countries, especially rates of physical and
sexual abuse. In addition, rates of PV in the rest of the world are not uniformly sym-
metrical across gender as they are in the United States. When all types of samples
are considered, there is gender symmetry in rates of physical and psychological abuse
(and, to a lesser extent, in rates of sexual abuse) in most countries.
Psychological partner abuse in its various forms (e.g., threats, verbal, isolating)
is widespread, experienced at higher rates than physical abuse by both males and
females (e.g., lifetime experienced by women 9.4%–70.7%, by men 8.6%–76.1%;
previous year experienced by women 26.4%–86.7%, by men 42.3%–88.9%). Male
(4.3%–76.5%) and female (4.2%–77.4%) perpetration upper bounds extend somewhat
beyond the average perpetration rate for studies conducted in the United States and
other industrialized English-speaking countries (Desmarais et al., 2012b). This cor-
roborates that the psychological component of partner abuse affecting women and
men is worthy of attention in primary and secondary prevention efforts.
Sexual abuse varied greatly in the countries reviewed. Women (3.8%–72.6%)
generally experienced greater victimization than men (7.0%–57.2%). Most studies
reported higher female and male victimization rates than estimates calculated for
studies conducted in the United States and other industrialized English-speaking
countries. The high rates of sexual abuse perpetration by females on males are not
easily explained. The high rates in some samples may be caused by a broad definition
of sexual coercion, or possibly because of cultural understandings of sexual relations
and sexual abuse that may differ greatly from those in non-Western countries. There
is a need for further research in this area as well.
Large community and national surveys may be more representative of the popula-
tion as a whole when compared to studies based on samples of university students.
University students are generally single and dating or perhaps cohabitating rather
Partner Abuse Worldwide 63
than married with children, and their relationship dynamics may be very different,
especially in Third World countries. In addition, university students are, by defini-
tion, a better educated and often more affluent group. When we looked specifically at
these larger samples, we found additional countries where rates are asymmetrical,
with significantly higher rates of violence against women.
This is not to imply that dating samples are not useful or that they do not general-
ize at all. In fact, evidence from the PASK manuscripts on rates of PV in the United
States and other English-speaking industrialized countries, as discussed previously,
indicates that PV rates obtained from dating surveys differ significantly from overall
rates only when past year victimization is considered and not for lifetime victimiza-
tion or for perpetration, however measured, and these differences are proportionately
the same across gender. That is, there may be limitations to the use of dating surveys,
but these are less germane to comparisons across gender; perhaps more important
than the type of sample are the number of respondents. For instance, in our review of
Europe, we were able to identify many well-conducted studies using community and
other more representative samples; however, the only gender-inclusive samples avail-
able for most of the countries in that region came from the IDVS, some with samples
of less than 100 respondents. Clearly, there is a need for well-funded studies that
draw on representative national samples and include both male and female respon-
dents. There is also a need for surveys that ask about PV in same-sex relationships.
Another possible limitation of our findings was the lack of uniformity in instruments
used to measure partner abuse. Although many studies used some variation of the CTSs,
they differed in many respects (time frame, definitions of abuse, length of questionnaire,
etc.). Recently, attempts have been made to create more reliable and uniform instru-
ments (e.g., Heyman, Slep, Erlanger, & Foran, 2012). Uniformity, however, may not lead
to an increase in the accuracy of measurements. Given the wide differences across cul-
tures in how abuse is understood, manifested, and defined, it would seem desirable that
survey instruments include enough items to adequately capture the range of abuse for
the population—the unique ways that abuse is manifested in particular cultures.
Throughout the reviewed studies, sociodemographic (e.g., low income, unemploy-
ment, poor education) and individual factors (alcohol and substance abuse, experi-
enced or witnessed violence in family of origin) emerged as the most influential risk
factors among a constellation of variables related to partner abuse, parallel to those
found in the United States. Mental health adverse conditions linked to partner abuse
were mostly investigated in women victimization studies. Less frequently mentioned
was the victim living in a rural environment, but these findings were supported by
the WHO multicountry study where, without exception, higher rates of PV were
reported in rural areas compared to urban areas (findings that may relate to low SES
and low education as risk factors). However, our analysis of the studies included in
this review did not find, on a national level, a significant correlation between rates of
PV and a country’s general level of human development.
The impact of PV on women in the studies we reviewed was found to be simi-
lar to what has been found in the United States, with evidence of serious physical,
64 Esquivel-Santoveña et al.
health, and psychological consequences. Female victims are repeatedly found to ex-
perience worse physical health problems than men, and these adverse conditions are
related not only to physical injury but also to other conditions (e.g., longer periods
of illness)—some of them associated specifically to women (e.g., pregnancy-related
complication, induced abortions). This is consistent with studies conducted in the
United States and other industrialized English-speaking nations (Hoare & Jansson,
2008; Stets & Straus, 1990; Straus, 2009). Only three studies compared the impact of
PV across gender, and they yielded findings comparable to those found in the United
States—that is, although there is no doubt that men are impacted by PV, women
are significantly more impacted. Still, the number of available studies is small, and
future studies ought not only to survey both males and females for rates of abuse
prevalence but for their consequences as well.
A major limitation of our review was our inability to identify more than a very
few studies that examined the context of abuse—the extent of bidirectionality, who
initiates, and motivation, including the extent to which violence is committed in self-
defense. We did identify several studies, mostly from the IDVS, indicating high rates
of bidirectional violence, but these findings only tell us that in many relationships,
both parties have been violent. They do not tell us whether or not the woman, for
instance, is more likely to be hitting in self-defense. Research from the United States
indicates that women are not much more likely than men to assault for reasons of
self-defense, but it cannot be assumed that these findings hold in other countries.
We identified several studies in which traditional male attitudes about women pre-
dicted male-on-female assaults. Perhaps in countries where domestic violence laws
either do not exist or are not enforced, and where violence by husbands is regarded
as normal in many situations, women may resort to violence and take matters into
their own hands simply because that is their only alternative. On the other hand, the
evidence is mixed on the relationship between gender inequality and rates of male-on-
female PV. Archer (2006) found that a nation’s low score on measures of gender equality
and empowerment correlated with higher rates of violence on women, but his analysis
was restricted to female victimization only. In our analysis of gender-inclusive samples,
we found a correlation for PV and a nation’s level of gender inequality with the IDVS
samples, but we failed to find such a correlation with the larger samples and the cor-
relations found with the IDVS held for both male- and female-perpetrated PV.
Although many societies still hold patriarchal values and beliefs that can be found
in various sociocultural premises, certain cultural shifts among some societies in a
form of benevolent sexism may be acting as a risk factor in some nations for female
partner abuse perpetration (Archer, 2006). This is further supported at the relation-
ship level with dominance scores. Although own analysis of the IDVS found dominance
scores predictive of both female and male partner abuse perpetration, it included
several English-speaking industrialized nations (United States, Canada, New Zea-
land, Australia, and the United Kingdom). Our own regression analysis, restricted
to all of the other countries from the IDVS (excluding the aforementioned English-
speaking industrialized nations), found a correlation only for female perpetration,
Partner Abuse Worldwide 65
suggesting that male dominance may not be a risk factor for male-perpetrated PV, at
least among the dating samples included in the analysis.
Indeed, preliminary analyses (Esquivel-Santoveña et al., 2012) from dating sam-
ples in less developed nations indicate similar cultural shifts as reflected in higher
acceptance of female aggression (over male aggression), and accompanying higher
rates of physical aggression. Such trends may apply not only to highly developed
or industrialized nations but also to more traditional societies, as evidenced by the
advances of women in terms of gender equality and women’s rights in virtually all
societies around the globe (United Nations Development Programme, 2009). These
trends warrant further research and examination.
The evidence would appear to suggest that in much of the world, partner abuse is
caused by both individual and societal factors, with societal factors and, in particular,
the relative empowerment of women—a more relevant factor outside of the United
States and other English-speaking industrialized countries.
Given the high rates of abuse between intimate partners in every region of the
world, their very serious consequences, and the extent to which prevailing cultural
attitudes tolerate and even encourage abuse, there is a dire need for increased action.
Clearly, there is a need for broader and more comprehensive efforts to educate people
about the problem using government as well as private organizations and interna-
tional organizations such as the United States, along with local groups. In light of
our findings of high rates of abuse perpetrated by women as well as men, especially
among younger populations, and given the existing lack of resources available to
combat the problem, researchers, victim advocates, social service providers, and poli-
cymakers will need to work together and avoid the entanglements of gender politics
if domestic violence is to be significantly reduced around the world.
It is to be expected that in many countries, domestic violence intervention and
policy will, for practical reasons, remain tied in with broader modernization efforts,
including efforts to improve the living standards of women and to empower them
politically and socially. However, the results of this review suggest that partner
abuse can no longer be conceived as merely a gender problem but also (and perhaps
primarily) as a human and relational problem and should be framed as such by ev-
eryone concerned. Efforts to end genital mutilation, sex trafficking, and other crimes
against women need not be diminished when we also strive to protect all victims of
domestic violence and hold all perpetrators accountable, regardless of gender.
NOTES
1. One explanation for the much less divergent rates of past year versus lifetime rates
of victimization for men compared to women (also see results from the National Vio-
lence Against Women Survey; Tjaden & Thoennes, 1998) is that men are less inclined
than women to remember relationship events that occurred in the distant past.
2. The authors would like to acknowledge the assistance of other individuals who pro-
vided additional articles: Murray Straus, PhD; Javier López-Cepero Borrego, PhD,
66 Esquivel-Santoveña et al.
from Departamento de Personalidad, Evaluación y Tratamiento Psicológicos Uni-
versidad de Sevilla in Spain; and Hyunkag Cho, Department of Psychology, Michi-
gan State University. We also want to thank Kimberly Ellison for her assistance
in summarizing numerous studies that were included in the final tables; and Zeev
Winstok, PhD, of the University of Haifa, Israel, for the articles he provided as well
as his editorial assistance on this article.
3. Additional information on these statistical analyses will be available in a sepa-
rate paper.
4. The discrepancy between physical rates and overall rates is because of the high
level of psychological abuse, as discussed earlier.
5. The Straus (2008) study differs from Lysova (2007) in that the former included data
from a fourth Russian university (the Saint Petersburg University of Internal Affairs
in Saint Petersburg [-A. Lysova, personal communication, October 14, 2012]).
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