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Gender and Types of Intimate Partner Violence: A Response to an Anti-Feminist Literature Review



This article presents a feminist perspective on domestic violence that is rooted in an explication of the differences among three major types of intimate partner violence (Johnson, 2008). Theory and research from this perspective is then reviewed to rebut recent attacks on feminist scholarship and policy regarding intimate partner violence.
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Gender and types of intimate partner violence: A response to an anti-feminist
literature review
Michael P. Johnson
The Pennsylvania State University, USA
abstractarticle info
Available online 12 April 2011
Domestic violence
Intimate partner violence
Coercive control
Family violence
Partner abuse
This article presents a feminist perspective on domestic violence that is rooted in an explication of the
differences among three major types of intimate partner violence (Johnson, 2008). Theory and research from
this perspective is then reviewed to rebut recent attacks on feminist scholarship and policy regarding intimate
partner violence.
© 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
1. Introduction .............................................................. 290
2. A feminist perspective on domestic violence .............................................. 290
2.1. A feminist perspective on types of intimate partner violence ................................... 290
2.1.1. Intimate terrorism ................................................... 290
2.1.2. Violent resistance ................................................... 290
2.1.3. Situational couple violence ............................................... 290
2.2. A feminist perspective on sampling biases ............................................ 290
3. The anti-feminist backlash ....................................................... 291
3.1. Misrepresentations of the general feminist analysis of domestic violence . . ............................ 291
3.1.1. General allegation #1: feminists say that only men do it ................................. 291
3.1.2. General allegation #2: feminists say violent men are evil, violent women are good ..................... 291
3.1.3. General allegation #3: feminists say that the only cause of intimate partner violence is the patriarchy ........... 291
3.1.4. General allegation #4: the feminist mindset has a lock on a variety of institutions, especially the law ............ 292
3.2. Misrepresentations of specic work: the case of Kelly and Johnson ................................ 292
3.2.1. Specic allegation #1: Kelly and Johnson ignore the data on gender symmetry ...................... 292
3.2.2. Specic allegation #2: Kelly and Johnson misrepresent female situational couple violence ................. 292
3.2.3. Specic allegation #3: Kelly and Johnson deny female intimate terrorism ......................... 292
3.3. Dutton et al.'s review of research that allegedly contradicts the feminist analysis .......................... 292
3.3.1. Reality check for the gender paradigm .......................................... 292
3.3.2. Old wine in new bottles ................................................ 293
3.3.3. The myth of equivalent methodological bias ....................................... 293
3.3.4. Shelter to general population extrapolation ....................................... 293
3.3.5. Non-selective sample studies .............................................. 293
4. Conclusion .............................................................. 295
References ................................................................. 295
Aggression and Violent Behavior 16 (2011) 289296
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1. Introduction
The most recent of a series of anti-feminist attacks from Dutton,
Hamel, and their colleagues is The gender paradigm in family court
processes: Re-balancing the scales of justice from biased social
science(Dutton, Hamel, & Aaronson, 2010), an ironic title, given the
panoply of biases with which it itself is riddled. In this particular
article they claim to expose two recent papers (Jaffe, Johnston, Crooks,
& Bala, 2008; Kelly & Johnson, 2008) as biased and unsupported by
research evidence. Responding to this particular attack is useful in
itself, but their article also serves as a good example of the substance
and tactics of their more general anti-feminist critique. In the process
of responding here to their allegations about feminist theory and
research, I hope to accomplish two goals. First, I will present a feminist
perspective on domestic violence that is rooted in an explication of
the differences among the major types of intimate partner violence
(Johnson, 2008). Second, theory and research from this perspective
will be used to rebut the Dutton et al. claims about what they call the
gender paradigm,which includes my own work.
2. A feminist perspective on domestic violence
It is probably useful to begin by saying that there is more than one
feminist understanding of the nature of domestic violence, more than
one gender paradigm,just as there are multiple feminist perspec-
tives on anything. What I will present here is my feminist perspective
on the nature of intimate partner violence, a perspective formed
primarily from a wide reading of over thirty years of research on
domestic violence,and informed by feminist perspectives from my
home discipline of sociology.
2.1. A feminist perspective on types of intimate partner violence
The core proposition of this perspective is simple: there is more
than one type of intimate partner violence, and the major types differ
dramatically in almost all respects (Johnson, 2008). The typology that
I began developing in the early 1990s is organized around the concept
of coercive controlling violence, a pattern of behaviors identied by
feminists working in the battered women's movement as the type of
intimate partner violence that was reported by women coming to
shelters to seek help (Pence & Paymar, 1993). There are three major
2.1.1. Intimate terrorism
This is the pattern of violent coercive control that comes to mind
for most people when they hear the term domestic violence.
Although it probably represents a small part of all of the violence that
takes place between partners in intimate relationships, it is the type of
violence that predominates among the cases that come to the
attention of law enforcement, shelters and other public agencies,
and that therefore has been the prototype of domestic violence for the
battered women's movement (see almost any shelter Web site). It
involves the combination of physical and/or sexual violence with a
variety of non-violent control tactics, such as economic abuse,
emotional abuse, the use of children, threats and intimidation,
invocation of male privilege, constant monitoring, blaming the victim,
threats to report to immigration authorities, or threats to outa
person to work or family.
Although this is the type of violence initially identied by the
battered women's movement as characteristic of the male violence
encountered in shelters and law enforcement, it is not exclusively
male-perpetrated, having been identied in lesbian couples (Renzetti,
1992) and among some women who terrorize their male partners
(Cook, 1997; Hines & Douglas, 2010). The data are clear, however, that
the primary perpetrators in heterosexual couples are men (Graham-
Kevan & Archer, 2003; Johnson, 2006a, 2008). It is also clear from the
research of Holtzworth-Munroe, Meehan, Herron, Rehman, & Stuart
(2000) and from a major literature review (Sugarman & Frankel,
1996) that misogyny and gender traditionalism play an important
role in heterosexual intimate terrorism.
2.1.2. Violent resistance
Many victims of intimate terrorism do respond with violence of
their own. For some, this is an instinctive reaction to being attacked,
and it happens at the rst blowalmost without thought. For others, it
doesn't happen until it seems that the assaults will continue forever if
something isn't done to stop them. For most women in heterosexual
relationships, the size difference between them and their male
partner ensures that violent resistance won't help, and may make
things worse, so they turn to other means of coping. For a few,
eventually it seems that the only way out is to kill their partner.
2.1.3. Situational couple violence
This is violence that is not part of a general pattern of coercive
control, but rather occurs when couple conicts become arguments
that turn to aggression that becomes violent. It is by far the most
common form of intimate partner violence, and also the most
variable. Somewhere around 40% of the cases identied in general
surveys involve only one relatively minor incident, but many cases do
involve chronic and/or serious, even life-threatening, violence. In
contrast to intimate terrorism, situational couple violence does not
involve an attempt on the part of one partner to gain general control
over the other, and unlike intimate terrorism and violent resistance it
is roughly gender-symmetric in terms of perpetration. The violence is
situationally-provoked, as the tensions or emotions of a particular
encounter lead one or both of the partners to resort to violence.
2.2. A feminist perspective on sampling biases
Here is another simple proposition: all of our major sampling
methods are biased, with the result that they yield samples that differ
dramatically in the representation of the major types of intimate
partner violence. So-called random sample surveys are biased because
of high rates of non-response, beginning with non-response to the
brief screening interview for eligibility that often precedes the request
for a full interview. Response rates often do not reect that initial
refusal to answer even the screening questions. For example, the
National Family Violence Surveys that report an 82% response rate
actually have a 60% response rate if non-response to the screening
questions is included (Johnson, 1995). Because intimate terrorism and
violent resistance have low base rates to begin with, and because
perpetrators and victims of intimate terrorism are highly likely to
refuse to respond to surveys perpetrators because they do not wish
to implicate themselves, victims because they fear reprisals from their
partner the violence in general surveys is heavily dominated by
situational couple violence.
Agency studies are biased not by non-response as much as by the
nature of the sampling frame itself. Because only serious or chronic
violence tends to come to the attention of law enforcement, shelters,
hospitals, and other such agencies, the violence in agency data or in
surveys conducted in these settings is heavily biased in the direction
of intimate terrorism and violent resistance. Similar biases are found
in help lines, voluntary on-line databases, and other sources of
information that involve safe self-reporting, but the general point here
290 M.P. Johnson / Aggression and Violent Behavior 16 (2011) 289296
Although the Sugarman and Frankel meta-analysis found a strong relationship
between gender traditionalism and male intimate partner violence (d = .54), more
telling is an important interaction effect that they do not include in their major
conclusions. The relationship between gender traditionalism and intimate partner
violence is quite strong in samples that are likely to be dominated by intimate
terrorism (d= .80) and tiny for samples that are likely to be dominated by situational
couple violence (d = .14).
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is that the sampling frame of every study in a specic institutional
setting has a specic set of processes that shape the balance of types of
violence that enter it.
The biases of these major approaches to sampling in intimate
partner violence research are the major source of the seemingly
contradictory data that continue to maintain the gender symmetry
debate. Those who believe in gender symmetry cite hundreds of
general survey studies that show that women perpetrate intimate
partner violence at least as often as men. On the other side, believers
in male perpetration of intimate partner violence cite hundreds of
agency studies that show that men are the primary perpetrators.
Studies with mixed samples that give access to all three major types of
intimate partner violence, and that make distinctions among the
types, nd that intimate terrorism and violent resistance are heavily
gendered, and that situational couple violence is perpetrated about
equally by men and womenand it is this pattern, combined with
sampling biases, that explains the dramatic differences among various
studies with regard to the issue of gender symmetry. Surveys,
dominated by situational couple violence, show rough gender
symmetry in perpetration. Agency studies, dominated by intimate
terrorism and violent resistance, show a pattern of (primarily) male
violent coercive control and female resistance.
3. The anti-feminist backlash
The Dutton et al. (2010) paper to which I am responding
exemplies all of the general strategies of recent attacks on the
progress of the battered women's movement and on the research that
conrms that the feminist analysis of domestic violence(intimate
terrorism) is largely correct.
In this particular paper they begin with
an attack on their own caricature of the feminist analysis (which they
call the gender paradigm), then move on to a rebuttal of what they
allege has been said in two papers published in a 2008 issue of Family
Court Review (Jaffe et al., 2008; Kelly & Johnson, 2008). I will focus
here on their general misrepresentations of feminism and on their
attack on the paper I wrote with Joan Kelly.
3.1. Misrepresentations of the general feminist analysis of domestic
3.1.1. General allegation #1: feminists say that only men do it
The misrepresentations begin in the rst paragraph of the paper:
This view [what Dutton et al. label as the gender paradigm] holds
that consequential IPV is an exclusively male-perpetrated crime
against female victims and children(p. 2).
This caricature continues
at the beginning of the analysissection: “…IPV is viewed as mainly
male perpetrated against female victims(p.3). Perhaps the authors
are confusing the early rhetoric of the battered women's movement
with contemporary feminist analyses of intimate partner violence. It is
important to remember that feminist analyses began with an
understanding of what was happening to women victims who came
to the attention of law enforcement and who contacted shelters and
help lines in the 1970s. The pattern of violent coercive control that
dominated those cases came to be labeled by the movement as
domestic violence,creating considerable confusion because family
sociologists continued to use that term for any violence between
intimate partners, not just the coercive controlling violence that I have
labeled as intimate terrorism.
More recentfeminist analyses (since the early 1990s) have
stressed the differences among the three major types of intimate
partner violence that I have just discussed above. First, it should be
noted that this framework does not dismiss the existence of female-
perpetrated intimate terrorism. Second, violent resistance, which
involves mostly women, is acknowledged to lead sometimes to very
serious violence, including homicide. Third, I and others have always
noted that situational couple violence (a) is far and away the most
common form of intimate partner violence, (b) is perpetrated about
equally by men and women, and (c) can be extremely consequential.
Of course, we feminists, and all other family sociologists for that
matter, have always noted that male violence is more likely to
produce injuries and fear than is women's violence. That observation
of a relationship between gender and the consequences of violence
certainly does not translate into Dutton et al.'s cartoonish version of
the feminist analysis as arguing that all consequential intimate
partner violence is male-perpetrated.
3.1.2. General allegation #2: feminists say violent men are evil, violent
women are good
Here is how Dutton et al. present this pair of ideas, which they
attribute to the so-called gender paradigm: Men are presented as
intentionally perpetrating domestic violence in order to maintain
power and control in family relationships. In contrast, female violence
is rationalized as the result of external circumstancesprimarily as a
reaction to male oppression(p. 3). Of course, the point of the analysis
I presented above is that most intimate partner violence does not
involve an attempt on the part of either partner to exercise coercive
controlit is situational couple violence. The feminist analysis does
argue that in heterosexual relationships most of the intimate
terrorists are men, but also that most of the violent men are not
intimate terrorists.
As with the men, most women are involved in situational couple
violenceno control issues, no reaction to male oppression, just
arguments that escalate for a variety of reasons that differ from couple
to couple. The feminist analysis also recognizes the existence of a few
female intimate terrorists, and they certainly are not characterized as
reacting to male oppression. The authors have purposely or
inadvertently expanded the relatively small number of women who
are involved in violent resistance into a group that encompasses the
entire feminist analysis of women's violence.
3.1.3. General allegation #3: feminists say that the only cause of intimate
partner violence is the patriarchy
Here's how Dutton et al. put it: Various empirically demonstrated
etiological contributions to IPV (e.g., learning, attachment, and
personality) are ignored, as are correlates of IPV perpetration such
as alcohol abuse, depression, reported interpersonal dominance
between partners (regardless of gender), and dyadic communication
decits(p. 3). Well, let's start where one might expect the feminist
analysis to be most single-mindedintimate terrorism. For more than
a decade (Johnson & Ferraro, 2000) my feminist colleagues and I have
incorporated Holtzworth-Munroe's work into our analysis of intimate
terrorism, work that centers on matters of personality in general, and
attachment in particular. And my work with Alison Cares demon-
strates the relationship between violence in one's childhood home
and male intimate terrorism (Johnson, 2008; Johnson & Cares, 2004),
a central tenet of the learning approach to understanding intimate
partner violence. As I have noted above, and in a number of published
pieces, substance abuse and couple communication issues are central
to any analysis of situational couple violence (Johnson, 2006b, 2007),
and my analyses of situational couple violence have always
emphasized the extreme variability of its causes.
The authors go on in this section to cite my concept of violent
resistance as a major example of how the feminist analysis even
attributes women's violence to men's coercive control. They neglect to
291M.P. Johnson / Aggression and Violent Behavior 16 (2011) 289296
I will focus on the research critique here, but the attacks also include attempts to
undermine funding for services for battered women by arguing that they discriminate
on the basis of gender (Dragiewicz, 2008; Dragiewicz & Lindgren, 2009).
There have been a number of other responses to these attacks on the feminist
analysis (e.g., DeKeseredy & Dragiewicz, 2007; Dragiewicz & Lindgren, 2009; Frieze,
2000; Holtzworth-Munroe, 2005; Johnson, 2005a, 2005b, 2005c; Kimmel, 2002).
Page numbers without a reference all refer to Dutton et al., 2010.
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point out that violent resistance accounts for only a small part of
women's intimate partner violence in my typology, in which most of
women's violence is situational couple violence with much the same
causes as men's situational couple violence.
3.1.4. General allegation #4: the feminist mindset has a lock on a variety
of institutions, especially the law
Certainly the feminist analysis has had an important impact on
major institutions (Buzawa, 2003; Dobash & Dobash, 1992), in-
stitutions that until the 1970s had generally assumed that all intimate
partner violence was situational couple violence, a private matter for
the couple to work out themselves. The feminist analysis produced a
major shift in perspective, one in which most, if not all, domestic
violence was seen as intimate terrorism. In presenting that out-of-
date kernel of truth, however, the authors seem to have missed the
major paradigm shift that has been sweeping those institutions in the
last ten years: differentiation is the new catchword in the courts and
law enforcement (see the bibliographies in Jaffe et al., 2008; Kelly &
Johnson, 2008).This oversight is puzzling, because two major
examples of that paradigm shift are the very articles that they criticize
in Dutton et al. as examples of the death grip of the feminist focus on
patriarchy (Jaffe et al., 2008; Kelly & Johnson, 2008). Both of those
articles are rooted in the idea that not all intimate partner violence is
intimate terrorism, and that the courts and other institutions need to
use all of the assessment tools at their disposal to identify what type of
intimate partner violence is involved in each particular case in order
to decide on an appropriate course of action.
3.2. Misrepresentations of specic work: the case of Kelly and Johnson
3.2.1. Specic allegation #1: Kelly and Johnson ignore the data on gender
The authors accuse Joan Kelly and me of purposely ignoring the
data on gender symmetry: By thus omitting signicant similarities in
the actual incidence of male- and female-perpetrated domestic
violence, victim advocates and allied researchers [this is in the section
on my typology] present truncated, empirically skewed and data-
poor, sometimes emotionally charged, stereotypic interpretations of
IPV.(p. 6). What we actually say is the following (Kelly & Johnson,
2008, pp. 486487): Situational Couple Violence is initiated at similar
rates by men and women, as measured by large survey studies and
community samples. Overall, these and other survey data support
claims that women both initiate violence and participate in mutual
violence and that, particularly in teenage and young adult samples,
women perpetrate violence against their partners more frequently
than do the men.We had already stated clearly that situational
couple violence is the most common type of intimate partner violence.
3.2.2. Specic allegation #2: Kelly and Johnson misrepresent female
situational couple violence
For the most part Johnsonrelegates female IPV to the category
situational couple violence’…. Female-instigated, conict-engen-
dered SCV is cast as an understandable reaction to male SCV…”
(p. 6). There are no quotes to back up this distortion of what we
allegedly said, and there are two important misrepresentations in this
two-part characterization. The rst distortion is somewhat subtle in
that the authors simply chose not to note that for the most part we
relegate all IPV, female and male, to situational couple violence. The
second distortion is more direct: far from excusing women's
situational couple violence, we do not distinguish between men's
and women's situational couple violence in terms of causes (Kelly &
Johnson, 2008, p. 485): Situational Couple Violence results from
situations or arguments between partners that escalate on occasion
into physical violence. One or both partners appear to have poor
ability to manage their conicts and/or poor control of anger.We
never (nor have I anywhere else) characterized women's situational
couple violence as an understandable reactionto anything.
3.2.3. Specic allegation #3: Kelly and Johnson deny female intimate
Here Dutton et al. rst damn with faint praise: As Johnson
occasionally acknowledges (Johnson [2006a], fn 2), most but not all
severe IPV is perpetrated by men(p. 7). Of course, the choice of a
footnote seems to imply that I hide even those few times that I
acknowledge that women sometimes perpetrate intimate terrorism.
The truth is that there is not a single piece among the dozens of my
papers and my book in which I did not acknowledge that there are
female intimate terrorists, beginning with the earliest published
paper on the typology, in which I was still using the term patriarchal
terrorism and was focused almost entirely on men's violence
(Johnson, 1995, p. 292): Although it is indisputable that some men
are terrorized by their female partners (I have worked with some at
my local shelter), [the argument] that men are terrorized as
frequently as women produces a dangerous distortion of reality.
Not satised with this subtle distortion, Dutton et al. follow with a
more blatant lie, alleging that in my work “…by denition, male
violence is internally caused by the conscious intent to dominate
women(p. 7). NoI have repeatedly stated that most male violence
is situational couple violence.
3.3. Dutton et al.'s review of research that allegedly contradicts the
feminist analysis
3.3.1. Reality check for the gender paradigm
Throughout much of this section Dutton et al. refuteour
argument that intimate terrorism is primarily male-perpetrated by
citing survey data on gender symmetry. As Kelly and I noted, research
conducted by me and my colleagues, and by other scholars (Ansara &
Hindin, 2010; Graham-Kevan & Archer, 2003; Johnson, 2006a;
Johnson, Leone, & Xu, 2008) has demonstrated that the violence in
survey research is so heavily dominated by situational couple violence
that it provides no information regarding the gender symmetry or
asymmetry of intimate terrorism.
The authors also claim that there is no evidence that men are the
major perpetrators of intimate terrorism. My colleagues and I have
presented such evidence from Irene Frieze's Pittsburgh study
(Johnson, 2001, 2006a) and from data on previous marriages from
the U.S. National Violence Against Women Survey (Johnson et al.,
2008). Graham-Kevan and Archer (2003) have presented conrming
data from their study in Britaindifferent researchers, different
measures, and different populations. And of course there are decades
of research from law enforcement, shelters, hospitals and other
agencies (in which the data are dominated by intimate terrorism) that
show that men are the primary perpetrators of intimate terrorism in
heterosexual relationships.
Next, Dutton et al. cite Graham-Kevan and Archer (2003) as
evidence for the gender symmetry of intimate terrorism, and later
they argue in a particularly nasty way that Kelly and I have
misinterpreted the Graham-Kevan and Archer data: [Kelly and
Johnson] misrepresent Graham-Kevan and Archer's (2003) ndings
and cherry pick and distort the data.(p. 13). The alleged
distortionto which they refer is that we do not point out that,
although 87% of the intimate terrorism in Graham-Kevan and Archer's
data is male-perpetrated, most of these cases come from their shelter
sample. Here is how Dutton et al. summarize the gender and intimate
terrorism ndings in the Graham-Kevan and Archer study: “… all
[non-shelter] groups, including a group of men court-mandated for
spouse assault treatment, exhibited gender symmetry in incidence of
[intimate terrorism].(p. 13, my emphasis). Here are the actual data
for all of the groups. In the shelter sample (n = 68), there were 36
male and one female intimate terrorists. Among students (n = 56),
292 M.P. Johnson / Aggression and Violent Behavior 16 (2011) 289296
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there were seven male and two female intimate terrorists. Among
prisoners (n= 105), there were two male and ve female intimate
terrorists. For the batterer intervention program (n= 10), there were
no male or female intimate terrorists. Do they really consider this to
be evidence for the gender symmetry of intimate terrorism?
Finally, they cite Laroche's study (2005) using Canadian General
Social Survey data. The problem with the Laroche study (much as I
admire it) is that he made the mistake of using the cutoffs for intimate
terrorism that Janel Leone and I had mistakenly adopted in our earlier
research on current relationships in the NVAW (Johnson & Leone,
2005). Our mistake was relying on a cluster analysis in a survey
sample of current relationships, a sample that essentially includes no
intimate terrorism. When we corrected our analysis by applying the
cluster analysis to previous marriages (where there is a reasonable
number of cases of intimate terrorism), we obtained a different cutoff
and found that 83% of the intimate terrorism in previous relationships
is male-perpetrated, and for current marriages only 6/10 of one
percent of respondents report intimate terrorism Johnson et al., 2008.
3.3.2. Old wine in new bottles
The gist of this section is that this is the typology of one researcher
(Johnson), whose linking of gender and [intimate terrorism] has
been disconrmed by relevant empirical research nding female as
well as male [intimate terrorists](p.8). Of course, it is not I, but
Dutton et al. who conate type of violence and gender in their
caricature of my work. I have never said there were no female
intimate terrorists, only that in heterosexual relationships intimate
terrorism is primarily male-perpetrated. In fact, my own studies cited
above include female intimate terrorists (3% of the intimate terrorists
in the Pittsburgh data, 17% among NVAW previous marriages).
Dutton et al. then go on to present largely irrelevant data on the
distribution of bilateral, male-initiated, and female-initiated violence
in survey datadata which make no distinctions among types. Of
course, those data are dominated by situational couple violence,
which is gender-symmetric.
3.3.3. The myth of equivalent methodological bias
In this section Dutton et al. claim that there is no evidence that so-
called representative sample surveys are heavily biased in the
direction of nding primarily situational couple violence and very
little intimate terrorism. Well, in the general sample of the Pittsburgh
(Johnson, 2006a), among current marriages in the NVAW it was 85%
situational couple violence (Johnson et al., 2008). For Graham-Kevan
and Archer's British general sample, the male violence was 75%
situational couple violence. For Ansara and Hindin's (2010) Canadian
data, the male violence among current partners was 81% situational
couple violence. The point is two-fold: (a) general survey data
without distinctions will show patterns that are characteristic of
situational couple violence, and (b) therefore we need to develop
standard operationalizations of types that will allow us to make
distinctions in various types of samples.
3.3.4. Shelter to general population extrapolation
“…Johnson based his typology solely on self-reports from women
in shelters [and] erroneously generalized his ndings to the
distribution of IPV in the broader community(p. 9). Wrong! The
Pittsburgh sample is self-reports from women, but from shelters,
courts, and the general community. The differences between intimate
terrorism and situational couple violence have also been documented
in a U.S. national sample (Johnson et al., 2008; Johnson & Leone,
2005), in a Chicago health service sample (Leone, Johnson, & Cohan,
2007; Leone, Johnson, Cohan, & Lloyd, 2004), in a large multi-city
study in the U.S. (Frye, Manganello, Campbell, Walton-Moss, & Wilt,
2006), in two studies of different Canadian General Social Surveys
(Ansara & Hindin, 2010; Laroche, 2005), and in a multi-sample study
in Britain (Graham-Kevan & Archer, 2003).
As far as I know, I have never argued that “…community sample
methodology yields data as selective and biased as that collected from
shelter houses(p. 9). Again, Dutton et al. offer no quotes, but in the
2006 paper that they cite for this statement I actually said, Finally, let
me nail down my sampling argument, that general survey samples tap
primarily situational couple violence, whereas agency samples give
access primarily to intimate terrorism. [M]ost couples who
experience violence, including those in our audiences, are involved
in situational couple violence. [O]ne can err by assuming that the
patterns observed in agency samples describe all partner violence
(Johnson, 2006a, pp. 10101011). In the same article, here is how I
spoke about the issue of extrapolation: If my arguments regarding
the biases of various types of sampling strategies are correct, it is
almost impossible to develop precise estimates of the incidence of the
various types of violence. I come to the conclusion that most partner
violence is situational couple violence in the following way, based on
gures in my 1995 article. First, accepting my evidence that almost all
of the partner violence in general surveys is situational couple
violence, we can use the gures from the National Family Violence
Surveys to estimate the incidence of situational couple violence.
Second, extrapolating from agency data in two states that keep
excellent shelter statistics, we can develop an estimate of the
incidence of intimate terrorism. Those gures, which may be found
in the 1995 article, suggest that there is probably 3 times as much
situational couple violence as intimate terrorism, which would mean
that 75% of women experiencing violence from their male partners are
experiencing situational couple violence(Johnson, 2006a, p. 1016,
fn. 11).
3.3.5. Non-selective sample studies
In the next, long section the authors cite studies that are alleged to
show that (a) women are as violent as men, (b) women are as
controlling as men, and (c) women are as likely to be intimate
terrorists as men. I intend to try to go through this section study by
study, but before I go there, let me simply tell you what the three
major problems are with the uses to which Dutton et al. put the
studies that they cite. First, almost all of the studies they cite are
general surveys, studies that have been demonstrated to represent
situational couple violence, a type of violence that we all agree is
roughly gender-symmetric in terms of perpetration.
Second, a number of the studies they cite show that men and
women are equally controlling or dominant in relationships. That, of
course, is irrelevant to the issue of whether men and women are
equally likely to use a combination of violence and non-violent control
tactics to attempt to take complete control over their partner
intimate terrorism.
Third, a few of the studies they cite are alleged to show that
women are as likely as men to combine violence and control, i.e., to be
intimate terrorists. There are two responses to these studies. On the
one hand, some of them involve general surveys that show similar
correlations between control motive and violence for men and
women. With respect to these, I need to remind Dutton, his
colleagues, and the other anti-feminists, that this typology is a
typologyfor a reason. I believe that what is involved here is not a
simple correlation between control motive and violence, for either
men or women. What we have is a small group of people, men and
women but mostly men, who attempt to take total control over their
partners with a combination of violence and other control tactics, i.e.,
violent coercive control. These are the intimate terrorists. Among other
couples, we will sometimes see a relationship between control motive
and situational couple violence because those with a stronger need for
control will be more likely to escalate arguments when they feel they
are not winning. And the studies that Dutton et al. cite are general
293M.P. Johnson / Aggression and Violent Behavior 16 (2011) 289296
Author's personal copy
surveys that are dominated by situational couple violence, the other
In one important case Dutton et al. do misrepresent a study's
ndings regarding control and violence. They say that Felson and
Outlaw (2007) nd that “…the relationship between use of control/
jealousy and physical violence exists equally for both male and female
respondents.(p. 11). What Felson and Outlaw actually found was a
strong interaction effect in which there is no relationship between
control and violence for current partners (as I would predict because
survey data on current partners include no intimate terrorism), but a
strong relationship between control and violence only for men for
previous partners (as I would predict for a sample that includes
intimate terrorism). As my colleagues and I have recently argued, this
is actually compelling evidence for our feminist analysis of intimate
partner violence (Johnson et al., 2008).
Now for the specic studies.
Dutton et al. start with four studies
that nd no gender differences in emotional abuse and control. These
are general survey studiessituational couple violence. Then come
two articles that show similar correlations between dominant
personality, the need to control, and physical violence for men and
women. One is a general survey, the other a convenience sample of
undergraduatessituational couple violence. Next are two studies
that allegedly show that males and females are equally likely to
combine physical violence with emotionally abusive and controlling
behaviors. As far as I can tell, neither of the studies presents evidence
on that matter. Perhaps Dutton et al. are under the mistaken
impression that similar correlations between those variables indicate
a similar likelihood of combining them. It does not. But more
importantly, one of the studies is of high school students, the other
of college studentssituational couple violence. Then comes Straus's
big study of dating university couples, showing that dominance scores
for men and women are equal and that female dominance predicts
female physical aggression. Another general surveysituational
couple violence.
Dutton et al. now turn to some studies of what they call clinical
populations. Here, depending on the institutional setting, we may nd
some intimate terrorism. The rst study they cite seems to me to
provide support for the feminist analysis. Judge for yourself: In the
pioneering studies by Stacey, Hazlewood, and Shupe (1994), on men
arrested for domestic violence and mandated to batterer intervention
programs, one-third of the physical violence was perpetrated by the
female partner (legally deemed the victim), and rates of male-
perpetrated emotional abuse and control were signicantly higher
than female partner rates in only about half of the 13 categories
(p. 11). This sounds to me like some situational couple violence and
some intimate terrorism/violent resistance (the higher emotional
abuse and control among the men would suggest that they were the
intimate terrorists, although it is impossible to know without looking
at patterns rather than average differences in individual categories).
At the very least, these ndings are hardly incompatible with the
feminist analysis.
The second study cited in this category provides no data on the
types, but nds equivalent rates of injury-causing physical violence
among couples dual-arrested for domestic violence, with men more
likely to engage in isolation behaviors and women somewhat more
likely to engage in verbal abuse(p. 11). One of the most important
points of my typological approach is that all of our samples are biased
in terms of types and we need to ask what those biases are. These
were dual arrests!
The nal study in this trio is a 2008 conference presentation
(Hamel, Graham-Kevan, & Prospero, 2008) that nds comparable
levels of controlling and emotionally abusive behaviors by male and
female clients court-mandated to batterer intervention programs
across California(p. 11 of Dutton et al.). It is possible that they have
both male and female intimate terrorists in this sample, and I would
like to know how many there were of each. Comparable levels do not
address the question of comparable numbers. In our own study of
intimate terrorism among previous spouses in the NVAW (Johnson
et al., 2008) we found that most of the intimate terrorism was male-
perpetrated, but that control tactics for the much smaller number of
female intimate terrorists were in many ways similar to those used by
the men.
The next study cited is the Felson and Outlaw (2007) study
discussed above, that actually shows strong support for our position
that intimate terrorism is mostly male-perpetrated (see also our more
appropriate analysis of the same data: Johnson et al., 2008). Then
comes Laroche, also discussed above (Section 3.3.1).
Next Dutton et al. cite a series of ndings from general surveys
situational couple violence. They seem to believe, somehow, that this
evidence that women often initiate violence against a non-violent
partner is evidence that the IPV proles in these surveys involved
signicant female-perpetrated abusive-controllingviolence [inti-
mate terrorism].(p. 13). Of course, there is no such evidence, as
Kelly and I noted: Overall, these and other survey data support claims
that women both initiate violence and participate in mutual violence
and that, particularly in teenage and young adult samples, women
perpetrate violence against their partners more frequently than do the
men. Based on knowledge available, this gender symmetry is
associated primarily with Situational Couple Violence and not
Coercive Controlling Violence(Kelly & Johnson, 2008, p. 487).
Next comes the allegedly relevant nding that in one study women
in lesbian relationships report more IPV perpetration by a lesbian
partner than by prior heterosexual partners. My initial reaction was to
be amazed that Dutton et al. somehow thought this was relevant to
questionsabout the relative frequencyof heterosexual male and female
intimate terrorism. But if it were relevant, one might want to know that
this was a sample of abusive lesbian relationships(Lie, Schilit, Bush, &
Montagne, 1991, p. 123). Given this dramatic sampling bias (100%
abusive relationships), how could this study possibly have found the
same level of violence among prior heterosexual partners? Did Dutton
et al. somehow not notice this? The title of this paper is Lesbians in
currently aggressive relationships.
As a lead-in to the discussion of Graham-Kevan and Archer (2003)
in this section of their paper, Dutton et al. misrepresent us again: In
identifying [intimate terrorism] as an exclusively male pattern of
domination over female intimates, J. B. Kelly and Johnson. [in a]
typology based exclusively on shelter sample data.(p. 13). I guess
they think that if they say it often enough, it will be true. Of course, we
do not identify intimate terrorism as exclusively male, and the
typology is not based exclusively on shelter data. As I have argued
above (Section 3.3.1), Graham-Kevan and Archer (2003) essentially
supports the gender asymmetry of intimate terrorism.
The authors end this section with discussions of more ndings
from two general surveys, so I'll note again that such surveys are
dominated by situational couple violence. One set of ndings is from
Stets and Straus's (1989) analysis of National Family Violence Survey
data, an analysis in which they show that repeat, severe violence
against a non-violent intimate is symmetrical by gender(p. 14).
Dutton et al. make the mistake of thinking that this type of violence is
necessarily intimate terrorism. It is not; it is simply repeat, severe,
non-reciprocal violence; there is no evidence regarding control.
The other evidence is a reference to a piece in which Graham-
Kevan and Archer make the mistake discussed above (Section 3.3.1),
using a cluster analysis in a sample that includes little or no intimate
terrorism. When this piece was presented at meetings, I contacted
Graham-Kevan as follows: Inally found time to read your non-
selected samplepaper carefully. As usual, I love the care with which
you do your work. I skimmed it when you rst sent it to me and, as
294 M.P. Johnson / Aggression and Violent Behavior 16 (2011) 289296
To keep my reference list manageable, in general I will not provide citations for
these papers. I will proceed through them in order and the citations can be found in
the Dutton et al. paper.
Author's personal copy
you might expect, I was troubled that you found gender symmetry for
IT and VR, and I think I know why that happened. My interpretation of
your results has general implications that I think are very important
both for DV research and for the uses of cluster analysis in general.
Here's what I came to think as I read your ndings. Does this study
really get at IT or merely at the most controlling cases of SCV? I have
always argued that general samples will include very little IT. I expect
that you had a very low response rate (you don't report how many
emails were sent), which would exaggerate that bias. If you have a
sample that in fact is mostly SCV (we had the same problem with
NVAW data), then your cluster analysis will identify relatively high
control, but will still include lots of (maybe even mostly) SCV. We
really need to get away from the cluster analysis approach because it
is almost entirely dependent on the nature of the sample (as you note
in your paper, when you point out that Frieze's sample has that group
of male ITs from shelters and courts). The patterns that you nd with
regard to the difference between IT and SCV for other variables also
didn't look as strong as the patterns we've found in other work. So, I
thought, I'll bet their high control group isn't as high as it is in their
studies with other, selected samples that would include real IT.And I
went to your 2003 JIV paper. Look at the numbers for the control types
below. The rst column is your 2-cluster highs, the second your 3-
cluster highs, and the third your 2003 highs. [Here I gave her the
numbers, which showed way higher control for the 2003 intimate
terrorist group.] I wonder what would happen if you re-ran your
unselected data using a cutoff derived from the 2003 paper. Take your
2003 cluster analyses, crosstab it against the total control score, and
choose a cutoff that comes closest to replicating the high cluster (I've
done this in some of my papers, but I've never had the same measures
across the various samples I've used so that I could use the same
criterion to identify high control across samples). Now use that cutoff
to identify IT, VR, SCV, and MVC in your unselected sample. The
numbers in each type will change dramatically, and I would predict
that you'll see a more dramatic differentiation between IT and SCV,
including a shift in the gender symmetry. I'm really dying to nd what
happens if you do this. Willing to try it?Graham-Kevan said she'd do
it and get back to me, but that never happened. I'd still like to see the
re-analysis. When my colleagues and I used a similar strategy to re-
analyze the NVAW data (Johnson et al., 2008), we found only 34 male
intimate terrorists among current partners of almost 5000 married
respondents (Johnson & Leone, 2005).
4. Conclusion
So, what's up with these authors? Why the comic book caricatures
of the feminist analysis? Why the gross misrepresentations of what
Joan Kelly and I wrote in our 2008 article? Why the single-minded
focus on alleged evidence that women are as bad as men? In their
determination to see what they want to see, they seem to have missed
the obvious implications of the call for differentiation among types of
intimate partner violence that is the heart of the Kelly & Johnson and
Jaffe et al. articles. So, let me nish with a summary of the implications
of the Kelly and Johnson paper and of this review.
Most intimate partner violence, both men's and women's, does not
t the power and control model of intimate terrorism. It is situational
couple violence and must be treated accordingly. And even if it were
to turn out to be the case that men and women were equally likely to
be intimate terrorists (I of course do not believe that and the evidence
does not indicate that), it would not affect what Joan Kelly and I
suggested in our paper. The dramatic differences among intimate
terrorism, violent resistance, and situational couple violence make it
essential that the family courts make these distinctions in order to do
the right thing with respect to the adults involved, and to serve the
best interests of the children. In fact, the nal paragraph of the Kelly
and Johnson paper serves well as the correct interpretation of the
literature cited by Dutton et al. in their attack on the feminist analysis
of intimate partner violence: Current research provides considerable
support for differentiating among types of intimate partner violence,
and such differentiations should provide benets to those required to
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... The primary arguments used to refute claims of gender symmetry in IPV are that such analyses fail to examine the context, motives, and consequences of violence. For instance, Stark (2009) and Johnson (1995) argue that the most damaging and socially significant kind of violence is perpetrated in the context of coercive control, and that men are more likely than women to use violent, controlling tactics in their intimate relationships (Johnson, 1995(Johnson, , 2011Stark, 2009). Moreover, women's IPV perpetration is often a response to their victimization; a study by Holmes et al. (2022) found that IPV victimization was a correlate of each of six types of IPV perpetration in a sample of undergraduate women. ...
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Scholars who argue for a gender inclusive approach to Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) contend that women and men experience similar rates of IPV victimization. Previous work on gender symmetry in IPV frequently measures physical violence victimization among respondents who report having current partners, providing a point-in-time rather than lifetime assessment of victimization. The 2010 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS) data include a violence history calendar that enables the construction of variables measuring violence victimization over the life course. This study examines gender differences in the age at first victimization, the number of perpetrators, and the frequency of IPV over the life course. We assess four types of IPV victimization including psychological aggression, coercive control, physical violence, and sexual violence. Analyses are conducted with event history and multivariate regression models. NISVS data show gender symmetry in past year violence victimization, but substantial gender differences in IPV victimization over the life course. Compared to men, women are victims of IPV at younger ages, experience a higher frequency of violence victimization, and have more perpetrators. When violence is considered across the life course, IPV is gender asymmetrical.
... This is more pronounced in psychological attacks compared to physical ones [14]. Nevertheless, there are sex differences, as women perpetrate both psychological and physical violence, while physical violence prevails among men [9][10][11][20][21][22]. This signals a need to raise awareness of abuse perpetrated by women against men so that they can ask for help without feeling ashamed. ...
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Intimate partner violence is a multidimensional phenomenon encompassing psychological, physical, and sexual components. Violence in young couples is common in our society. This kind of violence is usually bidirectional, which adds to its complexity. This study aimed to explore how victimization (in three dimensions: non-abuse, technical mistreatment, and mistreatment) and perpetration (in two dimensions: non-perpetrator and perpetrator) are related to the BIS (Behavioral Inhibition System)/BAS (Behavioral Approach System), and it also evaluated if the dimensions of emotional intelligence (EI) (emotional attention, clarity, and regulation) mediate this relationship. Violence was evaluated in 272 young volunteer participants, as well as BIS/BAS behavioral sensitivity and perceived emotional intelligence. The correlations between these variables were analyzed, and a mediation analysis was also conducted. The results show that victimization (of the sexual and coercive type) was associated with less BAS activation, while victimization (of the sexual, humiliation, and detachment types) was associated with less BIS activity. All types of victimization were associated with less EI, specifically with less emotional clarity. Aggression (of the sexual, humiliation, detachment, and coercion types) was related to lower BAS and higher BIS sensitivity. Detachment aggression was associated with low emotional clarity. In conclusion, relationships between victimization and perpetration are evidenced in terms of BIS/BAS sensitivity and EI. Specifically, the dimension of EI emotional clarity acts as a mediator of BIS activation in victims of detachment.
... Sería importante, por ejemplo, que el enfoque que guíe la ley considere a toda la familia y tome en cuenta las distintas etapas que atraviesa la pareja. Se sabe que en la actualidad existe una alta prevalencia de lo que se conoce como violencia situacional de pareja (Johnson, 2011), el riesgo aquí es que el conflicto, que está presente en todas las parejas, se sale de control y va escalando poco a poco hasta volverse letal. Entonces, una adecuada respuesta podría ser la terapia de pareja para intervenir estos conflictos al inicio y prevenir los actos violentos, pero también sería aconsejable un acompañamiento a matrimonios jóvenes o a parejas que recién se han unido, para trabajar la psicoeducación. ...
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In this chapter, we explore individual and comorbid risk factors for child physical abuse and partner physical abuse, which include demographic factors (e.g., low income, young age, race, and unemployment), family factors (violence in the family of origin), and individual factors (e.g., alcohol abuse and anger problems). We present prevalence rates for the perpetration and victimization of both partner violence and child physical abuse. Our review leads to several summary observations about victimization and perpetration rates: (1) intimate partner violence (IPV) perpetration and victimization rates are similar between men and women, but women are more likely to experience severe violence and injury, (2) a large discrepancy exists between parent and retrospective reports of child victimization and official reports of abuse, and (3) co‐occurring IPV and child abuse are common and estimated to be present in approximately 25–60% of families with one form present, with larger rates seen in shelter than community samples.
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En los albores de la historia de la violencia, esta se consideraba de carácter instintivo como parte de la naturaleza humana, cuyo fin único era la autodefensa y la supervivencia; sin embargo, al paso del tiempo los estudios científicos han realizado aportaciones orientadas al origen de la violencia desde las ideas biológicas hasta aquellas que consideran las variables individuales y socioculturales. Para tal motivo, a través de una revisión narrativa, se percibe que la violencia en el noviazgo parece tener las mismas características; por lo tanto, resulta pertinente tener claro tanto su origen, conceptualización y por supuesto la clasificación de los tipos de violencia que se sufren y ejercen en la población adolescente y de jóvenes emergentes. Como resultado se ha logrado identificar que dicha categorización se puede realizar desde tres grandes aristas: 1) su contexto, ya que al ser un fenómeno multicausal el desarrollo de la actitud va a depender de las condiciones ambientales en las cuales se desenlace, como podría ser el contexto social, escolar, familiar y de pareja; 2) su manifestación, esto porque la mayoría de las veces no se puede delimitar el origen del acto violento, por lo que se puede tipificar como física, sexual, de control y psicológica; 3) su uso, que puede ser hostil o instrumental en donde se tiene como principal objetivo ejercer violencia y control, ocasionando daño sobre la víctima. Actualmente se ha evidenciado que existen nuevos tipos de violencia, entre los cuales se encuentran inmersas la violencia de género, aunque su estudio no es reciente, su inclusión en las tipologías sí lo es, la cual tiene su justificación en el género; y la ciberviolencia, que surge a partir de los avances tecnológicos, debido a que las formas de interacción han evolucionado a un ciber espacio permitiendo también que se cometan actos abusivos mediante la red. En conclusión, se resalta que la violencia en la pareja es un fenómeno que tiene diversas modalidades y clasificaciones, las cuales dañan la integridad de la persona en distintos ámbitos de su desarrollo, conllevando severas consecuencias para quien la sufre.
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RESUMEN El presente libro ha sido generado en el seno del Grupo de Investigación: “Análisis de Relaciones Interpersonales: Pareja, Familia y Organización” (Facultad de Psicología, Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla) y el Centro de Psicología Integral (Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla) el cual aborda un fenómeno con gran prevalencia y numerosos estragos, la problemática social de la violencia que se ejerce hacia mujeres y hombres en las parejas de jóvenes. Es así como a lo largo de sus trece capítulos se presenta: 1) la contextualización de la adolescencia y adultez emergente, 2) la caracterización de la pareja, 3) las principales características de la violencia en las relaciones de pareja, 4) las principales teorías explicativas del fenómeno, 5) las diferentes tipologías de la violencia, 6) la ciber violencia de la pareja, 7) los principales factores de riesgo, 8) así como los principales factores de protección en la violencia de pareja, 9) el fenómeno de la violencia de pareja en la comunidad LGBT+, 10) la prevalencia de la violencia en las relaciones de noviazgo, 11) algunas dificultades conceptuales y metodológicas asociadas a su estudio, 12) la prevención de la violencia de pareja en estas edades y, finalmente, 13) algunas consideraciones científicas y prácticas en el abordaje de esta problemática. Alejado de apasionamientos ideológicos o intereses personales o de grupo, cada capítulo ha sido revisado (sistema peer review) por al menos cuatro especialistas contribuyendo así a elevar su rigurosidad académica,teórica, técnica y científica brindando así al lector interesado en la materia una obra confiable para su consulta; ojalá que cumpla con su cometido. Palabras Clave: Violencia en el noviazgo, revisión sistemática, prevención, intervención, adolescente, joven, mexicano. ABSTRACT This book has been generated within the Research Group: «Analysis of Interpersonal Relationships: Couple, Family and Organization» (Department of Psychology, Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla) and the Integral Psychology Center (Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla) and addresses a phenomenon with great prevalence and numerous ravages, the social problem of violence against women and men in young couples. Thus, throughout its thirteen chapters it presents: 1) the contextualization of adolescence and emerging adulthood, 2) the characterization of the couple, 3) the main characteristics of violence in couple relationships, 4) the main explanatory theories of the phenomenon, 5) the different typologies of violence, 6) the cyber violence of the couple, 7) the main risk factors, 8) as well as the main protective factors in couple violence, 9) the phenomenon of intimate partner violence in the LGBT+ community, 10) the prevalence of violence in dating relationships, 11) some conceptual and methodological difficulties associated with its study, 12) the prevention of intimate partner violence in these ages and, finally, 13) some scientific and practical considerations in addressing this issue. Far from ideological passions or personal or group interests, each chapter has been reviewed (peer review system) by at least four specialists, thus contributing to increase its academic, theoretical, technical and scientific rigor, thus providing the reader interested in the subject with a reliable work for consultation; hopefully it will fulfill its purpose. Key Words: Dating Violence, Systematic Review, Prevention, Intervention, Adolescent, Youth, Mexican
A brief history of empirical research on violence in close relationships is presented. Assumptions of and conclusions made by feminist researchers about the problems of battered wives are reviewed. It is argued that their focus on marital violence as a form of aggression against women by men and their concern for severely beaten wives may have caused them to ignore high levels of female violence in marriage and dating. J. Archer's (2000) meta-analysis of studies of marital and dating violence showed that both sexes display violence in these relationships, although women are more likely to be injured. An expansion of Archer's definition of heterosexual violence (or violence in close relationships) to include sexual aggression and stalking is suggested. Reasons for relatively high levels of female violence in close relationships relative to violence toward strangers are briefly discussed. It is argued that more attention needs to be given to male victims of violence from their partners.
Reassesses thirty years of domestic violence research and demonstrates three forms of partner violence, distinctive in their origins, effects, and treatments Domestic violence, a serious and far-reaching social problem, has generated two key debates among researchers. The first debate is about gender and domestic violence. Some scholars argue that domestic violence is primarily male-perpetrated, others that women are as violent as men in intimate relationships. Johnson's response to this debate-and the central theme of this book-is that there is more than one type of intimate partner violence. Some studies address the type of violence that is perpetrated primarily by men, while others are getting at the kind of violence that women areinvolved in as well. Because there has been no theoretical framework delineating types of domestic violence, researchers have easily misread one another's studies. The second major debate involves how many women are abused each year by their partners. Estimates range from two to six million. Johnson's response once again comes from this book's central theme. If there is more than one type of intimate partner violence, then the numbers depend on what type you're talking about. Johnson argues that domestic violence is not a unitary phenomenon. Instead, he delineates three major, dramatically different, forms of partner violence: intimate terrorism, violent resistance, and situational couple violence. He roots the conceptual distinctions among the forms of violence in an analysis of the role of power and control in relationship violence and shows that the failure to make these basic distinctions among types of partner violence has produced a research literature that is plagued by both overgeneralizations and ostensibly contradictory findings. This volume begins the work of theorizing forms of domestic violence, a crucial first step to a better understanding of these phenomena among scholars, social scientists, policy makers, and service providers.
The backlash against gender-sensitive responses to women's victimization, offending, and imprisonment is inseparable from contemporary reaction against feminism and other progressive movements. The backlash against the American Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) provides a prime example of this resistance. Despite widespread support for VAWA and other policies designed to address violence against women, some constituencies object to their existence. The author investigates fathers' rights rhetoric on VAWA as an example of antifeminist backlash.