Monday, August 31, 2009

Re: Are men equal victims? - Part 2

This is the second part of my take on an old article by Ampersand about husband battering. The first part can be read here, the original here. On with the show.
According to Michael Johnson, the CTS’s dependence on voluntary interviews with a representative sample population could create a strong bias against measuring the worse cases of domestic violence: “men who systematically terrorize their wives would hardly be likely to agree to participate in such a survey, and the women whom they beat would probably be terrified at the possibility that their husband might find out that they had answered such questions.” Straus himself seems to agree with this criticism.
This critic is a bit hypocritical as the critic is true for every survey including the U.S. Justice Department's Uniform Crime Statistics, the National Survey of Crime Victims, and the U.S. Department of Justice National Survey of Violence against Women. Also this point of view is slightly biased. Willl male victims act different? Will female perpetrators of domestic violence be more willing to participate in such a survey?

Let us look at what Straus actually said (Conflict Tactics Scales in Enyclopedia of Domestic Violence - 2007)
Although the CTS has repeatedly been found to uncover higher rates of partner violence than other instruments, these rates are nonetheless lower-bound estimates because of underreporting. In addition. a meta-analysis (Archer 1999) found that although both men and women underreport, the extent of underreporting is greater for men. Perhaps the most serious type of underreporting is by partners or victims of partners who engage in repeated severe assaults that often produce injuries. Although such extreme violence is only a tiny percentage of partner violence, the perpetrators and the victims of such acts are the ones in most urgent need of intervention. This problem is a limitation of survey research on partner violence rather than a unique problem of the CTS.[...] An instrument's sensitivity is its ability to detect the occurrence of a phenomenon. Sensitivity is a critical aspect of validity. It is especially important for self-report measures of socially undesirable behaviors such as those measured by four of the five CTS2 scales. When the CTS is administered according to the standard instructions it obtains many times more disclosure of violence than the most widely used measures, such as the National Crime Victimization Survey and rates or cases reported to Child Protective Services.
So Deutsch was definately not wrong here. What does Archer (Sex differences in aggression between heterosexual partners: A meta-analytic review) find out?
"... data from perpetrator ratings and victim ratings indicate that there is a greater measure of agreement than past critics have suggested"
And indeed when  Straus analysed the second NVWS again and compared the answers women were giving with those men were giving he found no significant difference.

In conclusion Archer as well as Straus believe that underreporting is a problem (that all surveys of that kind have) but also believe that involved cases are also a minority.
Sampling error is always a concern, of course, but there are reasons to think it’s a bigger problem with the Straus/Gelles work than in most. For one thing, according to Michael Johnson, Straus and Gelles people who refused to answer screening questions were not included when Straus and Gelles calculated their 84% response rate; taking this discrepancy into account, the actual response rate may be closer to 60%, low enough to create a severe danger of sampling bias. More importantly, Straus and Gelles compiled information only about abuse within current, ongoing relationships; but fear of a current abusive partner would obviously make a victim hesitate to be frank with interviewers. It’s much safer for a victim of severe battery to refuse to be interviewed altogether, in such circumstances.
Looking at the data we have now it is hard to believe that about 200 empirical studies conducted all over the globe all suffer from sampling error or faulty methodology. Additionaly it is hard to believe that the study Deutsch will be citing in the next part has a higher response rate, when people not giving all answers were not counted.
In contrast, when the US Bureau of Justice statistics did a similar study (see part 5, below), they designed the interview process to enourage current victims to report honestly (they put protections in place to assure that the person interviewed could respond safely while alone in the house, without the spouse’s knowledge), and did not ask only about current relationships. They also had a higher response rate, which means a much lower chance of serious sampling error.
Deutsch is talking about the National Violence against Women Survey. He is forgetting a key fact though, the study he is critisizing show us actually more female victims than the NVWS. Again, and think about it, the study Deutsch is citing has less female victims (and yearly rates that show us 40% of Domestic Violence victims are men). If one study suffers from victims not reporting it is the NVWS and we will talk about the "why" in chapter 5.

Straus explains the problem many feminist sholars have with CTS-studies
The CTS is both the most widely used measure of family violence and also the most widely criticized. Extensive critical examination is appropriate for any widely used instrument because, if the instrument is wrong then a great deal of research will also be wrong. In the case of the CTS however the most frequent criticisms reflect ideological differences rather than empirical evidence. Specifically many feminist scholars reject the CTS because studies using this instrument find that about the sarme percentage of women as men assault their partners. This contradicts the feminist theory that partner violence is almost exclusively comitted by men as a means to dominate women, and is therefore taken as prima face evidence that the CTS is not valid. Ironically, the fact that the CTS has provided some of the best evidence confirming the Link between male dominance and partner violence and other key aspects of feminist theory of partner violence (Coleman and Staus 1990, Straus 1994) has not shaken the belief that the CTS is invalid. Another irony is that despite these denunciations, many feminist researchers use the CTS. However, having used the CTS they reafirm their feminist credentials by routinely inserting a paragraph repeating some of the erroneous criticisms. These criticisms are then cited in other articles as though there were empirical evidence. Anyone reviewing these studies would have the impression that there is a large body of empirical evidence showing the invalidity on the CTS. Whereas there is only endless repetition of the same unvalidated opinions. [...] There is a large amount of research showing that the CTS have a stable factor structure and moderate to high reliability (Archer, 1999; Yodanis, Hill, & Straus, 1997). There is also extensive evidence of construct validity (Straus, 1990a). The original CTS have been successfully used in many countries and with different ethnic groups within the United States (Yodanis et al., 1997).
And on with Stranton.
Jack Stranton points out another important sampling bias: the CTS, as used in the original Straus/Gelles research and most of the research that follows it, excludes violence that occurs after a divorce or separation. However, such violence accounts for 76% of spousal assaults, and is overwhelmingly committed by men; excluding this violence disproportionately omits most spousal violence against women.
Yes, and Stranton is citing the Department of Justice family violence report (1984) based on the National Crime Victimisation Survey. And apparently men in the 80s were even less likely to report their victimisation. compared with the data from 2005 (4% ->27%) men are apparently more likely to report, or women have become more violent. Keep in mind the numbers he is citing is based on a sample consisting of 4% men and 96% women. I talked about underreporting of male victims in Part 1 before, but there is more to this. The NCVS is a prime example on how a methodology of a survey has an impact on the outcome of the survey as the survey was redesigned in the 90s.
Why redesign? Criticism of the earlier survey's capacity to gather information about certain crimes, including sexual assaults and domestic violence prompted numerous improvements. Improved survey methodology improves the ability of people being interviewed to recall events.(1995 - National Crime Victimization Survey Redesign - Fact Sheet)
Remeber before the redesign, more than 90% of victims of domestic violence were women. After the redesign, we have twice as much female victims and suddenly a different gender ratio (13:1 -> 7:1 (Straus - The controversy Over Domestic Violence by Women - 1999)) as more male victims also talk about their victimisation. Is it surprising that when we avoid the word crime at all that even more women and men talk about their victimisation? It is not, and feminist wouldn´t critisize the CTS, if it weren´t for the male victims. Straus has an interesting example here.
The Canadian Violence Against Women Survey, for example, investigated alternatives to the CTS for more than a year, including extensive consultation with experts and battered women's advocates, focus groups,  public hearings, and field testing (H. Johnson, 1994). In the end, the Canadian study measured physical assaults with the nine items in the CTS1 but with one minor and one major modification. The minor modification was to add the phrase "that could hurt" to three CTSl items, such as "thrown something at you" (Statistics Canada, 1993, p. 5). The major modification was to delete the questions asking about assaults by the female respondents on their partners. (Straus - CONFLICT TACTICS SCALES (CTS) SOURCEBOOK)
Buisness as usual. We reach chapter 4 now.
CTS studies leave thousands of abused women uncounted. According to a CTS study, a typical woman in a battered woman’s shelter reports having been assaulted by a spouse 65 times in the year previous to admission. Straus and Gelles’ national study found that there are about 80,000 women in the United States who are abused at that level. In contrast, data from battered women’s shelters show that up to 490,000 women use shelters each year - and that figure doesn’t even include thousands of severely battered women who don’t make it to a shelter.. This huge discrepancy shows that instances of severe woman-battering, far from being fairly measured by the men’s rights activists favorite studies, are in fact badly undercounted.
What is definately not good about Deutsch´s post is that you can not see which source gives us the above fact. We again reach the hypocratical as the CTS measures more victims than the NVWS or the NCVS meaning these two studies of Deutsch´s choice leave even more victims uncounted. Consider this, according to the NVWS the average victimisations per victim for physical assault in the last 12 months was 3.1 for women.

But let us go into detail, so one CTS study says a typical (does that mean an average, a median or a typical women staying at a shelter? we can only guess) woman in a womans shelter is battered 65 times in the previous year, another CTS study found that 80,000 women were battered about 65 times a previous year and a third estimate (?) based on women´s shelters data show us that up to 490,000 women use shelters each year. Interesting argumentation.

In my opinion one can not equate the number of women staying in shelters with the worst cases of domestic violence. I tried to come up with some numbers for sheltered women, but apparently there is no census (or I was not able to find one, is there one?) that counts yearly numbers. There is a census however that does take snapshot data, what was going on on a specific day in any shelter that could be reached via phone. Findings from a Canadian survey (I am not sure if the same is true for the USA, but it would surprise me if it is not that way) found the following.
This release is based on the Juristat, "Canada's Shelters for Abused Women, 2003/04", that presents results from the biennial Transition Home Survey (THS).
The THS is a census of all residential facilities that provide shelter primarily to female victims of domestic violence.


Nearly one-third of all women who had sought temporary accommodation in a shelter for abused women on April 14, 2004 had stayed there at some time during the past, according to a new report.


Women using shelters for reasons other than to escape abuse constituted about one-quarter (24%) of shelter residents. Over two-thirds of these women sought shelter because they were unable to find affordable housing.


The vast majority of the women staying in shelters to escape abuse were fleeing psychological or emotional abuse. Almost 7 out of 10 reported physical abuse, 50% threats, 46% financial abuse, 31% harassment and 27% sexual abuse.
A woman in a shelter could have been in a shelter before, could have been there for a reason other than abuse and not all women were fleeing physical abuse (many victims of DV (men and women alike) say the psychological / emotional abuse is worse than the physical, I am just refering to the number Deutsch brought up) which makes counting badly battered women via estimates of women in shelters impossible.
When combined with Michael Johnson and Jack Stranton’s observations about sampling bias, it seems clear that the CTS simply isn’t measuring the worse cases of violence against women.
Wrong again. It is true that the percentage of the worst cases is higher than in criminal surveys as the CTS also finds much more minor cases.

I skipped parts of the next part as Deutsch was talking about men reporting in criminal studies which I covered more than once before.
[...] Russell Dobash pointed out “that women have their own reasons to be reticent, fearing both the loss of a jailed or alienated husband’s economic support and his vengeance.” 
I believe the above is true, but we should not forget that often abused  men can’t leave an abusive
relationship because they may fear for their child’s safety or worry about losing the relationship with their children. Which is pretty much the other side of the coin.
Moreover, surveys of domestic violence victims in the US and Canada have found that men are more likely to call the police after being assaulted by their partner. So while it’s true that both men and women have motivation not to report their abuse, it’s just not true that men are actually less likely to report abuse than women.
This factoid is based on National Crime Surveys before their redesign. Men partaking in that survey were actually a minority of battered men, probably highlighting few of the worst cases measured by that survey. Remeber the gender ratio in that survey was really skewered (less than 10% were men). Again I referred to several studies showing the opposite in the first part of my answer. And you know what, after this comes up for the second time I will give you some more studies.
47% Of female victims and 16% of male victims called the police. Only 39% of male victims defined their expierience as domestic violence but 77% of women did. (Scottish Crime Survey 2000)

Women are more likely to report minor cases to officials: Only 25% of all cases reported by women were severe cases compared to 86% of cases reported by men. Men were injured in most of this cases and most of this cases also involved weapons (most often knives) (McLeod - Women against men: An examination of domestic violence based on an analysis of official data and national victimization data - 1984)
Often victimised men are not taken serious by the police (Farrell - 1993 | Wilkinson - Children and divorce - 1981) and often that leads to men not reporting their victimisation (Steinmetz - The battered husband syndrome - 1980 | Machietto - Aspects of male victimisation and female aggression - 1992)
Malcolm George (Riding the Donkey Backwards: Men as the Unacceptable Victims of Marital Violence - 1994) made a nice summary.
Straus & Gelles (1986) sum up much of the problem we find when discussing male victims of female violence when they say "Violence by wives has not been an object of public concern. There has been no publicity, and no funds have been invested in ameliorating this problem because it has not been defined as a problem" (p. 472, italics added). It can be argued that by defining wife battering as the problem, and husband battering as a non-problem, realistic estimates of husband-battering, be they large or small, are nearly impossible to obtain. It is easy, for instance, to argue that battered husbands occur only as rare and isolated cases. Nearly all male victims are isolated individuals owing to the relative paucity of groups willing to acknowledge their victim status. The fact is that a large proportion of the social agencies that deal with family violence target only female victims. Thus we should not be surprised if these groups do not find evidence of male victims of domestic violence. Further, the politicized nature of domestic violence among many within academia mitigates against finding any evidence of male victims. Consequently, some professionals, like mental health professionals, may be insensitive or even hostile to a man describing himself in victim terms (Macchieto, 1992). Added to all this, the traditional stereotypes give creditability to a woman to be seen as a victim. The stereotypes associated with men, however, lead most to deny such a possibility or to ridicule' such a notion as male-as-victim (Farrell, 1993; Wilkinson, 1981). This clearly deters men from making such an admission (Machietto, 1992; Steinmetz, 1980). Also, male victims may be aware, if only dimly, that to proclaim victim status will only lead to unfavorable or unequal treatment compared with female victims (Harris & Cook, 1994).
If a man is attacked by his wife and decides to call the police, he is the one who is likely to be arrested. (quoted in Wolff, 1992, p. 22)
She was knocking the shit out of me; no one would believe me. (Male victim and resident of the Kingsland Estate, Hackney, London, England speaking on Kingsland, Channel 4, television documentary, 4th June 1992)
When you are talking to your mates, it's hard to admit you're being bullied by a woman. (quoted in Kent, 1993, p. 37)
Steinmetz (1980) has suggested that some men, following traditional social norms, consider it unmanly to attack or even retaliate against an assault by a woman. Further, when men and women rate violent male-female interactions, they perceive male-to-female aggression as more negative than female-to-male aggression (Arias & Johnson, 1989). By implication, female-to-male violence has a type of social acceptance not accorded to male-to-female violence (Greenblatt, 1983). Thus while it is argued that "society does not appear to shape the attitudes of most men and women to accept the use of violence by men against women..." (O'Leary, 1993, p. 24), we could suggest that society does appear to condone the use of violence by a woman against a man.
And finally, the whole issue of male victimization can be suggested to receive scant attention because of the threat it poses to masculine self images and "patriarchal" authority, as much as for any threat it poses towards efforts to counter female victimization. The lack of attention of female aggression, as opposed to male aggression, has been suggested to be rooted in scholarly debates on nature, culture, and gender in which "sameness" or "differences" are key issues; but actually result from a reluctance to consider similarities between men and women, as opposed to differences (Fry & Gabriel, 1994). Thus it is not surprising that domestic violence against women, as opposed to men, is a socially acceptable concern and receives study and support. This reinforces two more easily recognized social stereotypes, female vulnerability and male authority or dominance, and protectiveness. The admission and recognition of male victimization, in the battered husband, is the antithesis of this acceptable order and an equality between the sexes that has been resisted historically, especially by men (e.g., see judgments in the Willan vs. Willan and Teal vs. Teal cases, Bates, 1981).

No matter their number, battered men deserve better than to be seen as little more than footnotes from earlier historical periods when they were castigated and forced to ride a donkey backwards.
Deutsch is now going to attack the CTS because it has different results in measuring violence of stepparents compared to crime survey. For once we already have a discrepancy between crime surveys and the CTS when it comes to domestic violence, and secondly I am not wrapping my head arround that topic and research for theories here why it is that way. So we finally reach the part 5 and the NVWS.
A 1998 study conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) used a modified form of the CTS to survey a representative sample of 8,000 Americans. Unlike most previous CTS studies, the BJS study asked about rape and sexual assault, and did not limit respondents to describing only violence taking place within marriages or relationships; these changes addressed many (but not all) of the criticisms previously made of the CTS. And responding to the claims of men’s rights activists, the survey was designed to be about “personal safety” issues, rather than being presented as a survey about crime. (In this case, by the way, men’s rights activists are right: it’s better not to use hot-button words like “crime” in surveys.)
Deutsch is right on the money here with his critique of hot-button words (I called them buzz-words, before). One argumentation was that women worry more about personal safety than men which means that personal safety might be another one of that buzz-words. Besides that, keep this
In this case, by the way, men’s rights activists are right: it’s better not to use hot-button words like “crime” in surveys.
 part in mind for the following.
This study was an important test for people on both sides of the CTS debate. If CTS critics were correct, such a study would find different results from previous CTS studies, and specifically would find that women are more frequent victims of spousal violence. If, on the other hand, men’s rights activists were right, then this study would have found equal abuse, since it asked men and women the same questions (mostly the same questions as the CTS).

Critics’ expectations were fulfilled. The results of the government’s study strongly contradicted previous CTS studies: the BJS study found that overall women were more likely to be abused by an intimate partner than men, particularly for the more severe kinds of violence. For example, women were seven times as likely to have been threatened with a gun; 14 times as likely to report having been “beat up” by a partner; and twenty-six times as likely to have been raped.
Straus said the following about the NVWS
"(1) It has been presented to the public as refuting the idea of neady equal rates of domestic partner assaults by men and women. (2) It is not ostensibly a crime study. (3) It is a large and well-designed study. (4) It carries the imprimatur of spnsorship by two respected Federal agancies. (5) Perhabs the most important reason is that it provides an example of how an cumulation of small details affecting respondent perception of the study and its prupose can add up to a large difference in findings." (Straus - The controversy Over Domestic Violence by Women - 1999)
Among several points by Straus the following surprised me the most. This was the second question asked by the researchers
"Do you think violent crime is more or less of a problem for men today than previously?"
Two "hot-button" words in one sentence at the beginning of our survey. That, plus the usage of "personal safety" and the low yearly rates (among some other things) is the reason Straus considers the NVWS as a crime survey.

But what do the researchers themselves say about the discrepancy of their study and the CTS?
"... it is likely that the manner in which screening questions are introduced and framed has more effect on intimate partner victimization rates than does the overall context in which the survey is administered"
And although I pointed this out before, the yearly results of the NVWS are more equal than Deutsch will make us believe (he is citing the lifetime rates). Here is what the NVWS also found out.
Persons Raped or Physically Assaulted in Lifetime and in Previous 12 Months by Sex of Victim

Total rape (%)
Lifetime Women: 17.6
Lifetime Men: 3.0
Yearly Women: 0.3
Yearly Men: 0.1

Total physical assault (%)
Lifetime Women: 51.9
Lifetime Men: 66.4
Yearly Women: 1.9
Yearly Men: 3.4
Rape and/or physical assault (%)
Lifetime Women: 55.0
Lifetime Men: 66.8
Yearly Women: 2.1
Yearly Men: 3.5
At first the obvious results that more men overall are victimized (but women are raped more). Same finding as the usual crime survey. On with domestic violence
Persons Raped or Physically Assaulted by an Intimate Partner in Lifetime and in Previous 12 Months by Sex of Victim

Total rape (%)
Lifetime Women: 7.7
Lifetime Men: 0.3
Yearly Women: 0.2
Yearly Men: -
Total physical assault (%)
Lifetime Women: 22.1
Lifetime Men: 7.4
Yearly Women: 1.3
Yearly Men: 0.9
Rape and/or physical assault (%)
Lifetime Women: 22.1
Lifetime Men: 7.4
Yearly Women: 1.5
Yearly Men: 0.9
If you compare the lifetime rapes in the last column you will see that according to the NVWS 25% of all victims of rape and physical assault by an intimate partner are men (same ratio as the NCVS). But the yearly ratio actually shows us that 40% of all victims of rape and physical assault by an intimate partner are men in the year of  the survey. This makes Deutsch previous statement look a bit ridiculos
I’m not denying that some individual men are badly abused
As some are actually 40% of the victims according to the study he brought up.


And we reached the end of part 2 as we covered 5 of 8 points. The next one will finish it.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Re: Are men equal victims? - Part 1

This is a response to an article by Ampersands - Barry Deutsch. To be fair some of the data I will be using in this response was not available to Deutsch (as some of the data is newer than this article). My advice is to first read the original here because I will be picking this apart piece for piece so it might be hard to follow if you are not familiar with the original.
On “Husband-Battering”; Are Men Equal Victims?
Posted by Ampersand | June 26th, 2004

This was originally posted in November of 2002; [...]

It’s one of my better posts, in my opinion
I agree that this is one of his better posts, which doesn´t mean I agree with it. If you ask yourself why I even bother with such an old article, it is simply because that article is convincing. Among everything I have read against the "equal victims" theory, I thought that was by far the best post. And I believe there are a lot of points I can disproove.
[...] Forgive how long this post is (and it’s a monster!). Refuting untruths takes time, and I want to be thorough.
Again I repeat this word for word. Refuting untruths takes time. My answer will even have more words than the original so I will split the answer, but let us start.
First, let me provide a little background. The primary argument made by men’s rights activists is that men are as likely, or more likely, to be abused by a wife or girlfriend than the reverse. They base this opinion on various family violence studies. Typical is Warren Farrell’s statement that “the great majority of two-sex studies that have been done (more than a dozen) find women and men to be equally as likely to initiate domestic violence at every level of severity.” (Farrell’s quote is a bit dated - there are now dozens such studies.)
As this post is a bit outdated as well we reached the point where there are *drumroll please*
254 scholarly investigations: 199 empirical studies and 55 reviews and/or analyses, which demonstrate that women are as physically aggressive, or more aggressive, than men in their relationships with their spouses or male partners. The aggregate sample size in the reviewed studies exceeds 252,800.
Of course quoting the Fiebert list here. Actually it is the majority of studies that show us an equal or almost equal view of domestic violence, not a dozen of misguided studies, but actually the majority. Even more so, there are actually only very few studies with contrary results. But let me quote researcher Gelles here:
My colleague Murray Straus has found that every study among more than 30 (Feck: now it is close to 200) describing some type of sample that is not self-selective (an example of self-selected samples are samples of women in battered woman shelters or women responding to advertisements recruiting research subjects; non-self-selected samples are community samples, samples of college students, or representative samples) has found a rate of assault by women on male partners that is about the same as the rate by men on female partners. The only exception to this is the U.S. Justice Department's Uniform Crime Statistics, the National Survey of Crime Victims, and the U.S. Department of Justice National Survey of Violence against Women. [...] The National Crime Victims Survey and National Survey of Violence against Women both assess partner violence in the context of a crime survey. It is reasonable to suppose both men and women underreport female-to-male partner violence in a crime survey, as they do not conceptualize such behavior as a crime.
We will talk about the National Survey of Violence against Women as well as Crime vs CTS-Surveys.

I will skip a bit of the next part where Deutsch explains the first study that came up with equal numbers and just skip to the parts I disagree with.
Men’s rights activists acknowledge that government records such as police reports have found that vastly more women than men are victims of spousal assault. But they dismiss this by saying men would never admit to being abused. As Warren Farrell explains, “male socialization to ‘take it like a man’ makes men the sex more fearful of reporting their abusers.”

Men’s rights activists conclude, therefore, that data showing that men are greater abusers is invalid due to male underreporting: fairer studies, in their view, find that men are equal victims, and women are equal abusers.
Just a nuance, not only do MRAs say that, but also researchers. Some examples:
Family violence in Canada (2003):
37% of female victims of DV called the police only 15% of men did

Canadian General Social Survey (1999):
17% of male victims of DV seeked helped with "formal social agencies" compared to 48% of female victims

National family Violence Survey (1985):
Female victims are 9-time as likely to call the police and 5-time as likely to talk to a relative or friend than male victims

British Crime Survey (1996):
8% of male victims called the police compared to 22% of female victims
And we continue...
The empirical claims made by men’s rights activists about domestic violence are based on studies using Straus and Gelles’ Conflict Tactics Scale (CTS) (and also from a few studies using methodology very similar to the CTS). When I examined a bibliography of “references examining assaults by women on their spouses or male partners” on a men’s rights website, for example, I found that of 86 prevalence studies cited, 59 (about 70%) used the CTS as a research tool! In order to evaluate men’s rights activists claims of equal male victimization, it is therefore necessary to examine the CTS.

A review of the social science literature indicates that the CTS is, even according to its creators, seriously flawed when used as a comparative measure of male and female domestic victimization (i.e., the way men’s righters and anti-feminists use it).
Deutsch is trying to attack the CTS a tool used to measure intimate partner violence. It is not only a tool. It is THE tool.
"CTS is the best available instrument to measure intra-family violence" because of "stable factor structure, moderate reliability and concurrent validity and the strong evidence of construct validity"(Straus -The conflict tactic scale and its critics: An evaluation and new data on validity and reliability - 1990)

"Like all tests and scales, the CTS is not perfect. Nevertheless, numerous reviews by sholars, who do not hava a vested interest to shoot the messenger for the bad news, agree that the CTS is the best available instrument [...] no other scale meets this standard" (Straus - Physical assaults by women partners: A major social problem - 1997)
It is also a bit ironic since feminists frequently use the CTS as CTS studies show us more victims than crime surveys. (I will add more to the feminist usage of data in the last chapter)

A short rundown on Crime vs CTS-surveys:
Notorios about Crime-surveys is the use of "buzz-words" like (victim, crime, rape, violence). People are directly asked if they have been victims of crime. If they have been raped. The use of such buzz-words leads to less people giving answers about their experience, as victims do not necessarily see their victimisation as a crime (especially minor cases fall into that category). This leads to a higher rate of severe violence that will be reported. That is why the DoJ numbers are far from everything a CTS study will find. Worse as social dogma dictates us that men can´t be victims of DV or rape far few men report crimes than women (see above for studies confirming this). Just looking at newspaper articles you will notice that domestic violence with male victims is almost never called domestic violence. Same is true for rape. Probably compareable with the 1950s. There was no word for DV these days and the shelter movement changed that, for women. Men are pretty much still there. Besides that, those statistics are interesting because they show us a trend.

In 2005 the rate of DV is half as high than it was in 1993. Same is true for the rape rates

CTS-studies avoid the use of buzz-words and ask for certain behaviours.
"Has your partner hit, slapped, kicked etc. you before"
"Have you hit, slapped etc..."

Those studies create much larger numbers and also those studies show us a more even playing field. They are also a better reflection of reality. (more minor violence than severe violence)
So in conclusion:
CTS data show us a whole picture of violence, but also most of the data are minor incidents. (Have you been slapped by your partner? - I mean who wasn´t I qualify as a victim, too). That is why we have to take numbers from CTS data with a grain of salt. They are interesting when we compare incidence and sex.

Official data usually show us more serious cases. But the dogma that men can´t be raped and that men can´t be victims of Domestic Violence skewer the gender rating.

In short:

- whole picture with a lot of minor cases
- higher incidence numbers
- results close to gender equality

- more serious cases
- gender ratio skewered because of dogma and buzz-words
- lower incidence numbers
On with Deutsch...
Many critics have questioned whether the CTS’s definition of violence can fairly capture the range of marital violence. For example, none of the original CTS’s questions ask respondents about rape or sexual assault - an area in which male abusers predominate. Not asking about rape could lead to undercounting of severe male-on-female violence. (In response to this criticism, a later version of the CTS - the “CTS2″ - pasted on some questions about sexual assault. However, of the 59 CTS studies I found listed on a men’s rights website, only 3 used the CTS2).
Without a doubt a lot has happened since the Original CTS Survey. A lot of researches use modified CTS scales, to research different a different context. Also different scales like the "Ongoing Violent Assasment Tool" have been developed.

About the range of maritial violence. The items of the CTS were determined by a pre-test which means that the main forms of violence are actually measured by the CTS. Moreso:
"Although the behaviovs in the CTS may be valid the method used to select behaviors to include in the CTS did not guarantee that they are an adequate sample of violent behaviors. One indication that they are an adequate sample comes from a study by Dobash and Dobash (1984) who are among the most strident critics of the CTS. They used qualitative methods to identify typical violent acts. Their list of violent acts is almost identical to the items in the CTS." (Straus - Conflict Tactics Scales in Enyclopedia of Domestic Violence - 2007)
There are several studys asking for sexual violence:

From the international Dating Study (Straus 2003)

"(The)... median rate of forcetd sex perpetrated by male sutdents was 4% and by female students 1.9%"

The rates for using sexual coercion was 28% for men and 22% for women

Other studies (Anderson - An Investigation into Male Victimisation from Domestic Violence... - 1998, Fiebert - College Women who initiate Assaults on their Male Partner... -1998) found similar high incidence rates.

What does feminist data tell us (When I say feminist data I am actually talking about the "National Violence Against Women Survey". I call it feminist data because it is often cited by feminists (Mr Deutsch will be using that study as well). It is used on the NOW pages as well)?
Persons Raped or Physically Assaulted in Previous 12 Months
by Sex of Victim:
Women 0.2% - Men 0.0%

(Note the difference in the lifetime rates is much higher. However as most CTS studies ask for incidences in the last 12 months, this number is compareable)
It is unlikely that including those numbers would have signifcantly changed the outcome and even those studies using the CTS2 found no huge difference
More subtly, the CTS’s method of measurement may be overly literal, measuring narrowly-defined actions while failing to consider their context and meaning. As Straton points out, results of violence are ignored: the CTS “equates a woman pushing a man in self-defense to a man pushing a woman down the stairs.” Similarly, the context of violence is ignored: playful kicking in bed, considered aggressive by neither partner, is counted as more severe violence than a bone-jarring push against a wall.


It’s no coincidence that, even according to the Straus/Gelles study, women are nearly seven times as likely to report being injured as “equally abused” men are.

Deutsch is right on the money here, it is important to look at the injury rate. First I will tackle the last factoid.

The "seven times more likely to report being injured" has been cited very often. It is based on a wrong assumption though. The source of this information was a question in the National Family Violence Survey:
"In the last 12 months has either of you been hurt badly enough as a result of a convlict between you to need to see a doctor?"
The question is, is saying "women are 7.5 more times more likely to report they needed to see a doctor" the same as saying "women are 7.5 times more likely to be injured than men who are assaulted by their wives".

The researcher Fontes (Fontes - Telling the truth about DV - 1998) asked Straus and Geles the same question.

Gelles answer was the following:
"... neither Professor Staus nor I can answer this question, since we did not measure injury apart from a need to see a doctor."
All agreed that the survey gave no answer on the question if women are 7.5 more times more likely to be injured by domestic violence.

The question is,
"If a woman and a man sustain the exact injury, will both be just as likely to report they needto see a doctor? Or will one gender be more likely to seek professional medical attention for injuries?"
That women are more likely to see a doctor is a fact known by most. As a lot of injuries resulting from Domestic Violence are minor injuries:
British Crime Survey (1996):
Bruising 35% of all cases
Scratches 18%
Cuts 9%
Broken bones 2%

National Violence Against Women Survey:
66.6% of all injuries were scratches and bruises
this could mean women were more like to visit a doctor in such cases.
Murray Straus says about 33% of injuries are sustained by men. Psychologist John Archer researched 82 studies and found that of all persons who suffer an injury from partner aggression, 38% are male. (John Archer: Sex differences in aggression between heterosexual partners: A meta-analytic review). Schwithal published his analysis of 70 international studies in his book and found that 43.4% of victims suffering injuries are men. So we are in a range between 33-43%. Or to put it in one number, arround 4 out of 10 victims of DV that suffer injuries are men.

What does the NVWS tell us? The most accurate data about the last 12 month show us that 40% of DV victims are men. In a reaximination of the data Hoff (A re-examination of NVWS data - 1999) found that 96.8% of victimized women and 90,5% of victimized men were victims of severe violence:

"hit with an object, beat up, threatened with a knife or gun, victim of a weapon"
Are women more often injured? Yes. But the margin is not so huge as some people might expect.

A short note about context and self-defense, a finding of the second National Family Violence Survey:
The examination of context and consequences also produced surprises. [...] contrary to the claim that women only hit in self-defense, we found that women were as likely to initiate the violence as were men. In order to correct for a possible bias in reporting, we re-examined our data looking only at the self-reports of women. The women reported similar rates of female-to-male violence compared to male-to-female, and women also reported they were as likely to initiate the violence as were men.
from here
Also several studies found that men and women act in self-defence at about the same rate (Stets, Straus - Gender differences in reporting marital violence. - 1992 | Follingstad, Wright, Lloyd, and Sebastian - Sex differences in motivations and effects in dating relationships - 1991 | Carrado, George, Loxam, et al - Aggression in British heterosexual relationships - 1996). In addition a study (Medeiros, Straus - Risk factors for physical violence between dating partners - 2007) of causes of domestic violence found that 12 of the 14 reasons applied to both men and women.
The CTS ignores not only different physical impacts of violence, but also different mental impacts of violence. A recent study indicated that violence, “even when both the man and woman participate,” leads to significantly worse outcomes for women; women are more frightened by the violence, with a greater sense of loss of personal control and well-being.
By what margin? Gelles (Intimate Violence in Families - 1997) found that 30% of men suffering sever domestic violence experience depression. Follingstad (Sex differences in motivations and effects in dating violence - 1991) found that 35% were suffering from grief or depression. So it is not only women that suffer.
As a matter of common sense, there’s an enormous difference in mass and physical strength between most women and men, and that can make a big difference in how abuse “feels.” [...] I’m not denying that some individual men are badly abused, sometimes by girlfriends or wives who are much smaller than their victims. But for most male-female relationships, there’s a big difference in physical power that benefits the male, and it’s pointless to pretend it doesn’t exist.
Deutsch is correct here, but missing out the so called equalizer theory. Several studies found out that women are more likely to use weapons to overcome this difference in strength. Schwithal did an analysis of this as well and found, analyzing 23 studies, that men are with 65.5% more likely to be a victim of a weapon.

This can be seen in feminist data as well. The NVWS (I am citing the yearly rates here) found that men are more likely to be hit with an object (43.2% / 22.6%), be threatend with a knife (21.6% / 12.7%) and be attacked with a knife (10.8% / 4.1%).


Phew....this was a lot and I was only covering the first 2 points (out of eight). More parts will follow, this is just the beginning...

Part 2 can be read here.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Women and money....

This is part of a series on the wage gap. Often the gender wage gap is presented to show that women are opressed. They don´t earn as much as men therefor women have less power than men. Of course simply looking at this gap ignores that men and women often work in a team called marriage where one partner (most often women) cares for children and the other (most often men) is earning the money. So I want to take a look at the other side. Who controlls the money?

Some numbers:

Women spend $4 trillion annually and account for 83% of U.S. consumer spending, which makes up two-thirds of the nation's gross national product, according to WomenCertified, a women's consumer advocacy and retail training organization headquartered in Hollywood, Fla., which also worked on the study ["Men buy, women shop" - Published: November 28, 2007]
from here

According to information released by the INTEREP Radio Store, women 18 years and older control about half of the investment wealth in the United States. Women own 43% of stock portfolios valued over $50,000, and 45% of investments in other markets. […]

While men as a group may earn more money, women make more of the critical decisions about household purchasing and exercise control over many family financial resources. Women actually control 51.3% of percent wealth in the United States.


76% of Americans believe that men control more wealth than women. But a new survey of Federal Reserve Board data reveals that women actually control 51.3% of personal wealth in the United States.
from here

There are more women controlling more wealth in the U.S. than ever before. (Of those in the wealthiest tier of the country — defined by the I.R.S. as individuals with assets of at least $1.5 million — 43 percent are women.) And unlike the women who preceded them — old-school patrons who gave to the museum and the symphony and their dead husbands’ alma maters — these givers are more likely to use their wealth deliberately and systematically to aid women in need.


globally, more than 145 funds, with assets of nearly half a billion dollars, exist to improve the lives of women and girls. Many focus their efforts domestically; about a third work internationally.
from here

Men earned over 2/3 of the income in over 1/2 the couples, but did most of the money management in under 1/7 of them.
from Fleming and Easting (1994) Couples, Households and Money

A Pew Research Center study released a couple of weeks ago found that when it comes to decision making in the home, wives in a majority of cases either rule the roost or share power equally with their husbands, regardless of how much money the women earn.

Of the 1,260 men and women whom Pew pollsters surveyed over the summer, 43% responded that the woman makes most of the major decisions for the family, with 31% saying that the couple makes most decisions together. There was a small difference (within the margin of error) between the control exerted by wives who earn more than their husbands and those who earn less (46% versus 42%). But in both cases, women wielded sole decision-making power far more than men did, indicating that what "father knows best" is when to defer to mom.

Certainly that was what University of Iowa researchers found last year when they measured how couples negotiate conflict over household decisions. That study not only confirmed that men will usually go along with their wives but found that when couples do disagree, wives are far more persuasive than husbands in changing their spouses' minds.


The hypothesis that men hold more sway in relationships because they typically make more money didn't play out.

If a bigger paycheck did mean more power in any area of family decision making, the most likely one would be finances. But even there women are in charge, with more women than men in the Pew survey saying that they manage the couple's budget and wives in the Iowa study winning out over husbands in money disagreements. According to Pew, 45% of women said they hold the family purse strings compared to 37% of men.
from here

So what does this all mean? I couldn´t say it better than Scott Adams (the creator of Dilbert):

If you were from another planet, such as Switzerland, and you only knew these two facts

1) Men earn most of the money
2) Women spend most of the money

what would you assume about who is holding whom by the whatchamacallits and swinging the person who owns the whatchamacallits around in the air while yelling, "I AM WOMAN, HEAR ME ROAR!"?

But it's a rhetorical question.
from The Dilbert Future, page 114, "The Future of Gender Relations"