Most literature on spousal abuse and domestic violence focus on the male aggressor/ female victim dynamic. While this scenario is most prevalent, there are a number of cases of women abusing their male partners. A study conducted by the University of New Hampshire, encompassing 32 nations, revealed that 1/3 of female student participants stated they physically assaulted a romantic partner within a the one year of their participation. This number equaled the number of male students who admitted the same behavior. Also, the most common pattern of violence was mutual violence (a.k.a. both partners were violent). Female only violence between romantic partners was less frequent, but still more prevalent than violence perpetrated by a male only (Straus 2006) CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION
So what does a female abuser look like? Would the average man recognize if he was in fact the victim of domestic abuse? Medical News Today (http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/26570.php) reports that a female abuser can often behave similarly to a male abuser, using physical, psychological, and financial abuse tactics. Female abusers are physically abusive towards their children, as male perpetrators often are, they use sex as a weapon, demanding or withholding sex to gain dominance, and they name call, ignore, isolate, and financially deprive their partners. These, with few exceptions, are nearly identical to the tactics used by male abusers, yet, because society focuses on women as victims, the signs of female perpetrated abuse often go unnoticed if a child is not the victim. Men are also less likely to report abuse or even recognize they are being abused. Research by Dutton and Nicholls (2006) (CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION) indicates that many men also do not view their female partner’s violence against them as a crime.
While empirical literature is nearly devoid of studies focusing on the psychology of female perpetrator of domestic abuse, research by Coker, Davis, Arias, Desai, Sanderson, Brandt, and Smith (2002) (CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION) found that 22.9% of men surveyed had experienced physical, sexual, or psychological domestic violence in their lifetimes. Men were also found to be more likely to experience only verbal abuse. Further analysis indicated that male victims were found to experience similar consequences from their abuse as their female counterparts. Men experienced poor physical health at the time of survey, depressive symptoms, substance use, and were seen to develop a chronic disease, chronic mental illness, and injuries from their abuse. Abuses of power and controlling behavior were more strongly associated with these outcomes than verbal abuse alone in male and female victims.
If you or someone you know is experiencing any form of abuse please seek help: