Only a day or two ago a female psychologist appeared on a major news programme stating confidently that domestic violence in the UK is overwhelmingly perpetrated by men, and DV – or the threat of it, whether covert or overt – is one manifestation of how men control women in a patriarchal society. Academics refer to this as the ‘male control theory of intimate partner violence’. Many studies over many years have shown this to be utter nonsense, yet it remains a defining conviction of those controlling the distribution of state funding towards organisations supporting victims of domestic violence.
Our thanks for Nigel for pointing us towards a very interesting study which has been attracting widespread media coverage in recent weeks. The full Abstract:
The aim of this study was to test predictions from the male control theory of intimate partner violence (IPV) and Johnson’s [Johnson, M.P. (1995). Journal of Marriage and the Family, 57, 282–294] typology. A student sample (N = 1,104) reported on their use of physical aggression and controlling behavior, to partners and to same?sex non?intimates. Contrary to the male control theory, women were found to be more physically aggressive to their partners than men were, [our emphasis] and the reverse pattern was found for aggression to same?sex non?intimates. Furthermore, there were no substantial sex differences in controlling behavior, which signi?cantly predicted physical aggression in both sexes. IPV was found to be associated with physical aggression to same-sex non-intimates, thereby demonstrating a link with aggression outside the family. Using Johnson’s typology, women were more likely than men to be classed as “intimate terrorists,” which was counter to earlier ?ndings. Overall, these results do not support the male control theory of IPV [our emphasis]. Instead, they ?t the view that IPV does not have a special etiology, and is better studied within the context of other forms of aggression.