Paul, you have delivered up a fairly standard-issue MRA argument on Domestic Violence, from your pro forma anti-feminist jabs down to the almost ritual invocation of Martin Fiebert’s sacred Annotated Bibliography.
Futrelle has delivered up a fairly standard-issue feminist argument on domestic violence, including the ritual invocation of the feminist lobby’s fraudulent critiques of the CTS.
Like most such efforts, your argument depends on a highly selective reading of the scientific literature on DV, virtually ignoring a huge number of studies — literally several thousand — that directly contradict your conclusions.
There is a very good reason for it: these “huge number of studies – literally several thousand” – exist only in feminist fairy tales.
[MK] You’ve ignored the serious methodological flaws of the studies you cite,
The “serious methodological flaws” are an unproven claim by the feminist lobby.
and drawn conclusions from the research that the researchers themselves have stated explicitly are completely false.
“Researchers” have stated nothing of the sort.
Your grand conclusion, that “domestic violence has nothing to do with what sex you are” could not be more wrong.
Perhaps, but the unsubstantiated claims from the feminist lobby do not make the case that it is.
Anyone looking into the vast literature on the subject will be struck at once by the radically different conclusions researchers have drawn from their data.
There is no “vast literature” on the subject. For decades, the feminist lobby has relied exclusively on a small number of unscientific reports (police statistics and figures from domestic violence shelters), and a single crime survey (the U.S. crime survey). The only thing that is striking is the continuous reliance on the same, small collection of reports while claiming “thousands” exist.
One group of studies, the one that you relied on almost exclusively, advances an idea called “gender symmetry.” That is, they seem to show that men and women start fights, and land blows, in roughly equal percentages.
They do not “advance” any idea; some aspects of violence are found to have gender symmetry, others have very close gender symmetry, while still other aspects have little gender symmetry. What the studies refute, however, is that the aspects which do not have gender symmetry point to an overwhelming victimization of one gender, the female gender.
A second, and much larger, group of studies, finds men responsible for the overwhelming majority of DV.
No evidence is provided for the existence of these “much larger, group of studies”.
According to a nationwide survey conducted by the National Institute of Justice and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some 22% of women said they had been assaulted by a current or former intimate partner at some point in their lives; only 7% of men said the same. [NIJ]
Here David exposes either his intellectual dishonesty, or ignorance of the study. Although he does not tell you this, the above study used the Conflict Tactic Scale, the very instrument he later claims (and attacks) as the source of the “gender symmetry” claim.
As for the actual study: the study did not actually focus on domestic violence. Respondents were asked about various acts of violence over their lifetime without being told about the specific identity of the perpetrator. Only after a respondent reported being assaulted by someone were they asked about the perpetrator . As such, the figures are much less reliable than those of DV-only studies as they burden the respondents with the recollection of a wide range of victimizations and perpetrators. Men are also more likely to be victims of violence by strangers, which can compete with their recollection of some of the violence by intimate partners. In addition, reports of violent incidents occurring over a long, distant period have been shown to be extremely unreliable, due to the faults of human memory . This is why most crime and violence studies use a much shorter time reference period, typically 12 months . Indeed, when looking at the annual reports of domestic violence in this study, the gender differences reduce significantly (men are 38% of the victims) . It has also been found that women, unlike men, remember past offenses as more severe than they really were .
The study was never intended to measure domestic violence in both genders. It was developed by feminist researchers for the purpose of exclusively surveying women . Indeed, for the first three months of the study, only female respondents were interviewed . The CDC later decided to add a male sample as well. However, the male respondents were not treated equally in this survey. While all female respondents were assigned female interviewers, only half of the male respondents were assigned a male interviewer . A further bias, or a consequence of the above mentioned biases, was the much higher refusal rate among men in the survey (45% vs 36%) . Because of these methodological and statistical biases, the findings of this study are far from the last word on the subject.
A re-analysis of the data from this study by John Archer showed that men made up 41% of the victims with physical injuries. An even newer analysis, distinguishing minor from serious injuries, found that male victims were more likely to suffer serious injuries than female victims. 
Thus, the actual findings of this study contradict the key claims of the feminist lobby.
And that may actually understate the imbalance: indeed, one Department of Justice survey found that 95% of the victims of DV were women.
No study of domestic violence by the Department of Justice has ever found 95% of the victims of DV were women. These findings are from the National Crime Victimization Survey (or its predecessor, the National Crime Survey). These surveys do not contain any questions about intimate partner violence and rely on respondents volunteering information about DV . As such, the findings are not statistically representative of the population. A Justice Department study in collaboration with the National Research Council found the NCVS had missed 78% of domestic violence victims who had reported their victimization to the police . The Department of Justice has conceded that a major concern about the survey is “its inability to detect incidents of domestic violence well.” . A review of 7 crime survey in various countries revealed that most found men to be in the range of 35-50% of the victims of serious intimate partner violence , refuting the feminist lobby’s claim that crime surveys consistently find women to be the overwhelming majority of domestic violence.
These studies also find that women are injured far more frequently, and far more severely, by DV
No, they do not. For example, the U.S. Department of Justice survey (NCVS) cited above found no gender differences for serious injuries . The British Crime Survey confirms that not only men are half of DV victims, they are equally likely be injured and sustain severe injuries .
: one study of domestic disturbance calls involving injury found that women were injured 94% of the time; men, only 14% of the time. [APA]
The source actually states the following: “in a study of domestic disturbance calls to the police that involved injury, women were injured 94% of the time, compared with 14% of the men.” What does that mean? If the study was of domestic disturbance calls to the police that involved injury, than all victims were injured by definition.
According to a different study of police reports, 38% of the male domestic violence victims, compared to 14% of the female domestic violence victims, were classified as having sustained serious injuries. 
A study of men seeking help for domestic violence found that 79% had been injured , while a similar study of women found that only 25% had been injured .
There’s a good reason why we should take these studies more seriously than the ones you cited.
There is no proven reason to do so.
Most of the “gender symmetry” studies are surveys conducted using a methodologically flawed research tool called the Conflict Tactics Scale, originally developed by researcher Murray Straus in the 1970s.
The claim that the Conflict Tactic Scale is a “methodologically flawed research tool” is a piece of propaganda promulgated exclusively by members of the feminist lobby, much like the claim that “the studies which show smoking causes lung cancer are methodologically flawed” is propaganda promoted by the Tobacco lobby.
Indeed, the vast majority of the studies examined in the John Archer meta-study you mentioned used the CTS. [MK]
The studies examined in the Archer meta-study were randomly chosen from the scientific literature . No criterion of imposing the CTS instrument was employed. Thus they are statistically representative of published scientific studies. The fact that most used the Conflict Tactic Scale is merely a testament to the fact that it is the instrument of choice for the majority of domestic violence researchers. But the findings of the CTS have, despite feminist claims to the contrary, been replicated by many independent methodologies and studies, to name a few: ISA (Index of Spouse Abuse), ABI (Abusive Behavior Inventory), DIS (Diagnostic Interview Schedule), DVSS (Domestic Violence Screening Scale), CSR Abuse Index, hospital surveys, crime surveys, police statistics and others .
Researchers using the CTS ask survey respondents about an assortment of specific acts of violence. What the CTS doesn’t ask about are the causes, contexts, or consequences of these acts of violence.
The above sentence is a complete summation of the egregious dishonesty of feminist “critiques”. This dishonesty is comprised of two parts:
1. Explicit lies about the Conflict Tactic Scale.
The CTS, as its name implies, is indeed a scale. Depending on the version or specific implementation, it divides various acts of violence into several separate levels sorted by severity. While some studies use the CTS as nothing more than specific questions about violent acts, many, if not most, contain a host of different questions about causes, motivation, context and consequences. As soon as you move away from reading “critiques” of the CTS (which are generated exclusively by the feminist lobby) and read non-feminist, objective assessments, a very different picture emerges.
For instance, in one review of CTS studies, its authors have stated the following:
“In addition to measuring the type of violence, CTS also measures its intensity in terms of the frequency of violent behaviour. Although critics have observed that the CTS does not measure the outcome or context of violence, in reality many of the studies which use the CTS include separate measurements of this. For example, nine of the 13 studies in this review measure the outcome of domestic violence in terms of injuries sustained and the need for treatment while the context is measured in terms of who initiates the violence and why. Thus the criticism that CTS does not measure outcome or context does not apply in practice to many of the studies which use the scale.” 
2. Lying by omission
Lying by omission is a propaganda technique, and represents the most dishonest aspect of the feminist “critiques” of the CTS.
This propaganda lie stems from the fact that there are zero scientific studies of domestic violence, methodologically superior to the CTS, that show most DV victims are women. Thus the feminist lobby’s only remaining option is to deceive people into thinking that there are. This is achieved through rhetorical trickery: by accusing the CTS of specific flaws, they try to trick the reader into thinking that the studies used by feminists are devoid of those flaws. The purpose of the sentence, “What the CTS doesn’t ask about are the causes, contexts, or consequences of these acts of violence” is to deceive the reader into thinking that the studies that do not use the CTS do ask about the “causes, contexts, or consequences”. But they do not. And if you look them up, you will see it for yourself 
Because of the dearth of scientific evidence supporting the notion that most domestic violence victims are women, and the wealth of evidence refuting it, the feminist lobby’s only choice is to deceive the public into thinking that the small number of reports which find a predominance of female victims are methodologically superior to the large number of reports which contradict it.
As a result, one critic notes, the CTS “equates a woman pushing a man in self-defense to a man pushing a woman down the stairs. It labels a mother as violent if she defends her daughter from the father’s sexual molestation.
This “critic” is a card-carrying member of the feminist movement (a member of NOMAS), and has no history or background whatsoever in domestic violence research. His claim about the CTS is just that – a claim. The CTS does not “equate a woman pushing a man in self-defense to a man pushing a woman down the stairs” – and no evidence is provided to the contrary. We are simply commanded to believe it by the “critic”. The CTS does not “label a mother as violent if she defends her daughter from the father’s sexual molestation”. These claims are a formal logic fallacy known as “argument from ignorance” or “shifting the burden of proof” . The fact that a study does not ask about the motivation of violence is not proof that all women are acting in self-defense. Indeed, none of the studies cited by feminists (such as the Department of Justice’s studies, including the crime surveys) as well as domestic violence shelters, ask women (or men) about the motivation. Thus one can assert, with as much validity, that the studies that show women to be the majority of DV victims “equate a man slapping a woman in self-defense to a woman shooting a man in the back” and that they “label a father as violent if he defends his children from the mother’s violent abuse”.
It combines categories such as “hitting” and “trying to hit” despite the important difference between them.
No evidence is provided for this claim, or that this has any significant effect on the results.
Because it looks at only one year, this study equates a single slap by a woman to a man’s 15 year history of domestic terrorism.” [MYTH]
It does nothing of the sort; and no evidence is provided to the contrary. Once again, we are simply commanded to believe it. The Department of Justice survey, cited by feminists, looks at only six months . Using the above logic, one can state that it equates a single slap by a man to a woman’s 15 year history of stabbing and shooting. This is, once again, shifting the burden of proof.
The CTS studies are used on statistically representative populations of ages typically between 18 and 65. Thus, they represent victimization throughout the population’s lifetime. If men experienced fewer historical victimizations, this would be reflected in the statistics showing men at every age experiencing fewer assaults than their female peers, and the total victimization rate of the entire male population would end up being substantially lower than that of the entire female population.
This problem is exacerbated by the lack of attention given to the motivations behind the violence.
This claim has been refuted above.
While both men and women use violence to express anger, a number of studies show that men are far more likely to use domestic violence to control their victim, to “show who is boss.”
On the contrary, using domestic violence to control the victim is found somewhat more commonly in women than men .
Other studies that look at motivation find that much female “violence” is in fact self-defense. [APA]
On the contrary, no scientific (statistically representative of the population) study has ever found women reporting their violence being primarily in self-defense. The early CTS studies, despite feminist claims to the contrary, measured the context of self-defense as well as distinguished between primary aggressors and mutual violence. The 1985 CTS survey not only revealed that men and women are equally likely to be the sole perpetrator (25.9% and 25.5%, respectively), women themselves reported initiating the violence 53.1% of the time, while their partners 42.3% of the time.  More than half of the women who reported violence against their partners also reported physically abusing their children . As far back as the first survey in 1975, it was found that 76% of women who reported violence by their partners said they never used violence in response . Thus it is not possible for the majority of women’s violence to be in self-defense, as most victimized women do not use violence at all.
Studies that examine the motivation of women’s violence in details overwhelmingly find no evidence of self-defense or retaliation. In one partner violence study, 17% of men and 18% of women said they had hit in self-defense, while 29% of the men and 13% of the women said they had hit in retaliation . Yet another study found 10% of women acted in self-defense, compared with 15% of men . Six other studies found extremely low percentage of self-defense as a motive for women’s violence . One study, which examined children’s reports of witnessing their mother’s violence towards their father, found only 5% said it was self-defense, or their own defense .
There are other serious problems with the CTS as a measure of DV. The first version of the questionnaire left out sexual assaults by current or former intimate partners, which according to the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) make up nearly 20% of all spousal assaults; such assaults are overwhelmingly committed by men against women. [MK]
The early versions of the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) (before 1993) did not include questions about sexual assaults either. The NCVS actually found that all sexual assaults (rape, attempted rape, and other sexual assaults including grabbing and fondling) make up only 6% of domestic violence against women . The 20% figure is unfounded.
And the CTS also ignores violence that happens after partners separate, another critical omission, because violence tends to escalate, sometimes quite dramatically, after a separation.
The CTS ignores nothing of the sort. This is another common feminist lie of the variety of “the CTS only measures violence among married couples”. The CTS studies are carried out on all types of populations. The 1985 CTS study, for example, included married, cohabiting, divorced, separated and single-parents .
The NCVS found that separated women are 8 times as likely to face violence from an ex-partner than married women are from their husbands. [MK]
The NCVS found that separated men face the exact same increase in risk for violence from ex-partners as do women . The NCVS report states, “For both men and women, divorced or separated persons were subjected to the highest rates of intimate partner
victimization, followed by nevermarried persons.” Interestingly, it also states the following: “Because the NCVS reflects a respondent’s marital status at the time of the interview, it is not possible to determine whether a person was separated or divorced at the time of the victimization or whether separation or divorce followed the violence.” 
The British Crime Survey found partner violence was as likely to stop on separation for male and female victims (75%); it was equally likely to worsen after separation (3%). The survey also found that separation was more likely to be the trigger of violence for male victims than for female victims (9% vs 5%) . It is also unclear why we should assume violence by former partners is more important: such victims are typically geographically separated from their former partners, have their own place to live, and as such less likely to need shelters for protection.
1. Presence of Common Scales – Tjaden, Patricia, and Nancy Thoennes. Violence and Threats of Violence Against Women and Men in the United States, 1994-1996 [Computer file]. ICPSR02566-v1. Denver, CO: Center for Policy Research [producer], 1998. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 1999. doi:10.3886/ICPSR0256
2. (Section G) VIOLENCE AND THREATS OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND MEN IN THE UNITED STATES, 1994-1996; (ICPSR 2566); Patricia Tjaden and Nancy Thoennes Center for Policy Research First ICPSR Version November 1999 Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research
3. Surveying Crime, By National Research Council (U.S.). Panel for the Evaluation of Crime Surveys, Maurice E. B. Owens.
Surveying Victims: Options for Conducting the National Crime Victimization Survey, Panel to Review the Programs of the Bureau of Justice Statistics; R. M. Groves & D. L. Cork, Editors; Committee on National Statistics
Redesigning the National Crime Victimization Survey; Michael R. Rand; U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics
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8. Overview of the Survey; Pre-Testing and Fielding the Survey; Ibid.
9. Conducting the Interviews; Ibid.
10. Calculated refusal rate: Household Participation Rate, pg 4; Full Report of the Prevalence, Incidence, and Consequences of Violence Against Women; research report Findings From the National Violence Against Women Survey; November 2000 NCJ 183781; National Institute of Justice and Center for Disease Control
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13. Form NCVS-1; NATIONAL CRIME VICTIMIZATION SURVEY NCVS-1 BASIC SCREEN QUESTIONNAIRE; U.S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE; Economics and Statistics Administration; U.S. CENSUS BUREAU
14. Family Violence Statistics: Including Statistics on Strangers and Acquaintances; June 2005, NCJ 207846, Bureau of Justice Statistics; San Jose Methods Test of Known Crime Victims, Statistics Technical Report No. 1. Washington, DC: USGPO, June.
15. NCVS: New Questionnaire and Procedures Development and Phase-In Methodology; David L. Hubble, U.S. Bureau of the Census; Demographic Statistical Methods Division, Washington, DC 20233
16. Michael Woods; The Politics of Fear – Time For Action and Domestic Violence in Australia; October 2009; University of Western Sydney
17. Table 6. Injuries and treatment as a result of intimate partner violence, by gender, 1993-98; Intimate Partner Violence – Estimates from the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS); May 2000, Revised 1/31/02; NCJ 178247; U.S. Department of Justice
18. Extent of intimate violence, nature of partner abuse and serious sexual assault, 2004/05, 2005/06 and 2006/07 British Crime Survey; Home Office Statistical Bulletin; in “Homicides, Firearm Offences and Intimate Violence 2006/07 3rd edition”; Table 3.15: calculated physical injuries and serious injuries (severe buising or bleeding from cuts, internal buising or broken bones/teeth)
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22. Pg 654; J. Archer, Sex Differences in Aggression Between Heterosexual Partners: A Meta-Analytic Review; Psychological Bulletin 2000, Vol. 126, No. 5, 651-680
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27. Form NCVS-1; NATIONAL CRIME VICTIMIZATION SURVEY NCVS-1 BASIC SCREEN QUESTIONNAIRE; U.S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE; Economics and Statistics Administration; U.S. CENSUS BUREAU
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29. Straus, M. (1993). Physical assaults by wives: A major social problem. In R. Gelles & D. Loseky (Eds.), Current controversies on family violence (pp. 67-87). Thousand Oaks: Sage.
30. Strauss, Murray A., Gelles Richard J., and Smith, Christine. 1990; Physical Violence in American Families; Risk Factors and Adaptations to Violence in 8,145 Families. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers.
Ross, Susan M. 1996. “Risk of Physical Abuse to Children of Spouse Abusing Parents.” Child Abuse & Neglect 20:589-598.
31. M. A. Straus Et Al., Behind Closed Doors: Violence in the American Family; 26-28, pg 155 (1980).
32. Follingstad, D., et al. (1991), “Sex Differences in Motivations and Effects in Dating Relationships.” Family Relations, 40
33. Sommer, R. (1996). Male and female perpetrated partner abuse: Testing a diathesis-stress model. Winnepeg, Manitoba: University of Manitoba, PhD Dissertation
34. Bland, R., & Orn, H. (1986). Family violence and psychiatric disorder. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 31, 129-137.
DeMaris, A. (1992). Male versus female initiation of aggression: The case of courtship violence. In E. C. Viano (Ed.), Intimate violence: Interdisciplinary perspectives (pp. 111-120). Washington, DC: Hemisphere.
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35. Sarantakos, S., “Deconstructing self-defense in wife-to-husband violence,” The Journal of Men’s Studies, Vol. 12, No. 3, Spring 2004, 277-296.
36. Female victims of intimate violence, 1992-96; Violence by Intimates: Analysis of Data on Crimes by Current or Former Spouses, Boyfriends, and Girlfriends; NCJ-167237 March 1998
37. US National Family Violence Re-Survey, 1985; STRAUS, M.A. & GELLES, R.J. (1988) “How Violent Are American Families? Estimates from the National Family Violence Resurvey and Other Studies”, in G.T Hotaling, D. Finkelhor, J.T. Kirkpatrick & M.A. Straus (eds.), Family Abuse and Its Consequences,London: Sage Publications; STRAUS, M.A. & GELLES, R.J. (eds.) (1990) Physical Violence in American Families: Risk Factors and Adaptations to Violence in 8,145 Families, London: Transaction Publishers.
38. Appendix table 7. Intimate partner violence, by marital status, 1993-98: Intimate Partner Violence – Estimates from the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS); May 2000, Revised 1/31/02; NCJ 178247; U.S. Department of Justice
39. Page 5; Ibid.
40. Figure 3.4; Extent of intimate violence, nature of partner abuse and serious sexual assault, 2004/05, 2005/06 and 2006/07 British Crime Survey; Home Office Statistical Bulletin; in “Homicides, Firearm Offences and Intimate Violence 2006/07 3rd edition”