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Try out PMC Labs and tell us what you think. Learn More. This article provides a review of research literature on women who use violence with intimate partners. The central purpose is to inform service providers in the military and civilian communities who work with domestically violent women.

How you gonna love me, hurt me, and abuse me at the same time? A sizable minority of individuals arrested for domestic violence each year in the United States is female Miller, Many of these women are court-mandated to receive services, such as a batterer intervention program or anger management program Miller, The military also provides services for a large of women identified as committing physical abuse against a spouse. The answer to this question varies depending on the type of aggression examined.

When physical aggression is the subject of inquiry, studies consistently find that as many women self-report perpetrating this behavior as do men; some studies find a higher prevalence of physical aggression committed by women for a review see Archer, Furthermore, 4. The National Violence Against Women Survey found that the lifetime prevalence of having experienced stalking was Furthermore, women were 13 times as likely as men to report being very afraid of the stalker Davis et al.

The National Violence Against Women study assessed experiences of stalking victimization, not stalking perpetration. Consistent with the National Violence Against Women data, women were victims of stalking ificantly more often than they perpetrated stalking behaviors. Cercone et al. And told me.

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Did you pay the rent this month? Oh no. I come from a family of 12 honey, I was controlled enough when I was growing up. No man, no, I am a stubborn person, no. From this perspective, physical and sexual violence are tools used by batterers to achieve coercive control of victims. Coercive control mirrors, in an exaggerated manner, cultural gender stereotypes that stipulate male dominance and female submissiveness. Stark also argues that it is coercive control, more than physical violence, that contributes to the devastating psychological effects of domestic violence on many of its victims, such as depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorder.

One study found that, even after controlling for physical, sexual, and psychological abuse, coercive control was related to posttraumatic stress disorder Dutton et al. Johnsoncontends that coercive control is a critical factor that distinguishes different types of relationships in which intimate partner violence occurs.

In these relationships, violence usually does not escalate and is typically confined to a particular conflictual incident. In one study of women who had committed partner violence, women reported being victims of coercive control 1. Clearly, more research is needed on this issue. In their study of men and women seeking emergency room care, Phelan et al. Because men are usually larger and stronger than their female partners, men are more likely to injure their partners through relatively low-level violence, such as slapping or pushing Frieze, How do prevalence rates of intimate partner violence compare across individuals in military and civilian settings?

The next section addresses this question.

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Studies of intimate partner violence conducted with military populations suggest that the prevalence of partner abuse may be somewhat higher than in civilian populations. Heyman and Neidig conducted a careful comparison of prevalence rates between a sample of 33, active-duty army personnel and the 6, participants in the National Family Violence Survey, Woman want real sex Concord Massachusetts for demographic differences between the samples.

They found no differences in male perpetration of moderate violence between the samples— However, rates of severe violence were ificantly higher in the military sample: 2. The high prevalence rates among the Navy recruits are likely due in part to the young age of the sample; the average age of recruits was The Navy prevalence rates are comparable to those of college populations and other young samples. Studies have consistently found that the majority of domestically violent women also have experienced violence from their male partners.

Two studies of ethnically diverse, low-income community women found a high prevalence of victimization among women who used violence. In Temple et al. Similar have been found with college women Cercone et al. Thus, many domestically violent women—especially those who are involved with the criminal justice system—are not the sole perpetrators of violence. The victimization they have experienced from their male partners is an important contextual factor in understanding their motivations for violence.

Some women who have been adjudicated for a domestic violence offense are, in fact, battered women who fought back Kernsmith, ; Miller, They may well be at the same level of risk of serious injury or death as battered women who are seeking shelter. Service providers working with domestically violent women may need to develop safety plans similar to those they would develop for battered women. Participants in both studies were women who used violence against an intimate male partner. The studies found consistent : Women and their partners used equivalent levels of psychological aggression.

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Women used higher levels of moderate physical violence than their partners used against them, and about the same level of severe physical violence. However, women were about 1. Similarly, women were 2. And women were 1. Similar were found in Stuart et al. Swan et al. While Swan et al. Taken together, these studies suggest that the types of violence women and men commit differ, even in relationships in which both partners use violence.

A mutually violent relationship, as defined in the intimate partner violence literature, is a relationship in which both partners use physical violence e. The evidence presented above suggests that in many relationships that can be classified as mutually violent, women are more likely than men to experience severe and coercive forms of partner violence, such as sexual coercion and coercive control, and women are injured more often and more severely.

Utilizing information from the National Comorbidity Survey, Williams and Frieze found that female participants who experienced partner aggression reported ificantly higher distress and lower marital satisfaction when compared to male participants who experienced partner aggression. And, in an examination of predictors of breakups in a national sample of couples, male violence, but not female violence, predicted relationship dissatisfaction and breaking up DeMaris, Studies also find more negative psychiatric effects for women in mutually violent relationships when compared to men.

Anderson examined couples reporting mutual violence drawn from the National Survey of Families and Households and found that being in a mutually violent relationship predicted greater depression among both men and women, but the effect was approximately twice as great for women. A similar pattern was observed for drug and alcohol problems. In a longitudinal study, Ehrensaft, Moffitt, and Caspi found that women, compared to men, who were victims of intimate partner violence were more likely to develop psychiatric disorders.

He feel like he in control now, he can bust you upside the head anytime he want now. Bust him and run. In Stuart et al. Women are more likely to report fear in domestic violence situations Cercone et al. The effects of family violence on children, both in terms of actual physical abuse of children and the abuse that children witness, affect how women behave in violent relationships Dasgupta, ; Foa et al.

I been through that. A of studies show that men are more likely than women to use violence to regain or maintain control of the relationship or a partner who is challenging their authority Barnett et al. Findings from the Hamberger and Guse study of men and women court-ordered to a domestic violence treatment program indicated that men were more likely to initiate and control violent interactions, whereas women Woman want real sex Concord Massachusetts violence but were not in control of the violent interactions with their partners.

Similarly, Stuart et al. I got a very jealous violent streak. Forty-five percent of the women in the Swan and Snow study stated that they had used violence to get even with their partners for something they had done. Women in this study also were more likely than men to state that they used physical aggression against their partners to retaliate for abuse and to punish them. This next section examines risk factors and mental health— and substance abuse—related problems that are common among women who use violence.

Evidence from several studies indicates that rates of childhood trauma and abuse are very high among women who use violence. Among Swan et al. The prevalence of all of these conditions is very high among women who use intimate partner violence. For example, Swan et al. Woman want real sex Concord Massachusetts one in three met criteria on a posttraumatic stress disorder screen.

Similarly, in their study of women participating in an anger management program for intimate partner violence, Dowd et al. The literature review and the data presented here provide important information for individuals providing services and interventions to women who are violent toward intimate partners. To a great extent, women who are violent are also victims of violence from their male partners. In addition, women are more likely than men to be injured during domestic violence incidents and to suffer more severe injuries. Thus, safety issues are paramount for women who are domestically violent.

In some cases, women may be perpetrating as much or more physical violence as their partners, but their partners may be committing other types of abuse that are not always assessed, such as sexual abuse or coercive control. We recommend that service providers assess not just physical violence but all types of abuse that the woman has perpetrated and that her partner may have perpetrated against her.

In this case, interventions to promote behavioral change in both partners would be necessary for the abuse to stop. Gender-specific interventions tailored to the needs of women who are violent are more likely to be successful in creating behavior change. Suzanne C. Swan, University of South Carolina.

Laura J. Gambone, University of South Carolina. Jennifer E. Caldwell, University of South Carolina.

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