Is It Real?: The Evidence for a
Significant Social Problem
There is no question that domestic violence directed against women is a serious problem. Former U. S. Surgeon General Dr. C. Everett Koop has called it women's number-one health problem. The statistics reported in the popular press are staggering: Nearly one third of women in hospital emergency departments are there due to domestic violence, three out of four female homicide victims are killed by their husbands or lovers, and 6 million women are victims of abuse by people they know each year. 1
In light of these statistics, it may be difficult for most of us to accept that women assault men at anywhere near the rate that men assault women. If it happened frequently, wouldn't we hear more about it? Maybe it only occurs when an older, physically frail man is abused by a younger woman or when a woman has been assaulted or abused and is fighting back? Can injuries to men be very serious, since women are not generally as physically strong as men? These are a few of the most common questions surrounding this issue. We will take a look at these and other questions and discuss research findings.
This book can be utilized by a general readership, and at times, it directly challenges common assumptions about how men and women behave. It has implications for a broad spectrum of public policy as well as for the helping professions. Simple presentation of the data is not sufficient. It is necessary to go into detail about how the data were gathered, how they compare to other research, and the conclusions of these respected researchers.
For the purposes of this book, here are some term definitions: