DOMESTIC TERRORISM: THE DEBATE AND GENDER DIVIDES

Abstract

Domestic violence is an enormous problem in the United States. According to statistics: § Two to six million women experience violence from their male partners each year; § Twenty-five to thirty percent of women who seek emergency room treatment are there as a result of domestic violence; § In 2004, over 1000 women were murdered by their husbands or boyfriends. For decades, researchers, agencies, therapists, and scholars have been grappling with the issue of domestic violence, trying to understand the phenomenon in order to deal with it on a real world level. Some progress has been made in the courts with the recognition of the battered wife syndrome, and the implications of its effects in child custody cases. However, experts frequently disagree, claiming that research numbers are wrong and that studies on victims and abuse do not correlate with each other. There are two ongoing debates. One is the gender debate. The predominantly feminist view of domestic violence is that it is patriarchal; the female is abused, dominated, and controlled by her male partner. The other side argues that women can be as violent as men, and men are battered as well. The stereotypical concept female victimization results in laws and legal systems that focus on male domination and sex inequality to protect the female, thereby overlooking the substantive characteristics of violence. The second debate concerns the numbers of female victims of domestic abuse. As indicated above, the estimated figures span a wide range-from two to six million-and depend on which particular parameters the researcher used to conduct the study. A Typology of Domestic Violence, by Michael P. Johnson, is the product of the author's extensive examination of studies, statistics, and surveys, including his own research, which attempts to resolve the conflict between these two approaches. Johnson reconciles the research discrepancies for couple violence by providing an umbrella concept that legitimizes each of these polarized viewpoints. Still at issue, however, is the "battered husband" syndrome. First, this note will examine the assertions of Johnson's book. Second, it will address the concept of female coercive control and dominance in a relationship, and look at statistics indicating that there is no myth to battered husbands. This approach highlights the current research while acknowledging that victimized men need legal protections just as much as women do in the context of domestic violence.  
How to Cite
. DOMESTIC TERRORISM: THE DEBATE AND GENDER DIVIDES. Journal of Law and Family Studies, [S.l.], v. 12, n. 1, mar. 2010. Available at: <http://epubs.utah.edu/index.php/jlfs/article/view/289>. Date accessed: 23 nov. 2017.
Section
Book Note