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Battered Men - The Hidden Side of Domestic Violence

Research on Battered Men

Aggression in British Heterosexual Relationships

A Descriptive Analysis

Results: Relationship Status, Socioeconomic Categories, Age and Geographical Region, Context and Reason

Michelle Carrado, M.J. George, Elizabeth Loxam, L. Jones and Dale Templar
Market and Opinion Research International Ltd. (M.C., L.J.) Department of Physiology, Saint Bartholomew's and Royal London Medical School, Queen Mary & Westfield College, London University, (M.J.g,), and The British Broadcasting Corporation (E.L., D.T.), London, United Kingdom.

 
     

Index:

1. Forward and Introduction

2. Materials and Methods

3. Results

4. Discussion & References

  3. MORE RESULTS

Relationship Status

Examination of data according to whether respondents were currently married or cohabiting with a heterosexual partner, as opposed to being single and dating, was possible. This showed that higher percentages of single dating women reported sustaining victimization across all relationships than married/cohabiting women, although rates of experience of sustained victimization from current partners were more equivalent. On three of the five items across all relationships, a higher percentage of single dating women than single dating men reported victimization.

Figure 1

Figure 1 shows that 10% of single women as opposed to 3% of married or cohabiting women, report ever having experienced being punched or kicked and 14% of single dating women, as opposed to 5% of married and cohabiting women, reported being slapped. These were significant differences (P< .05) which were not evident for reports in current relationships.

For men, no such difference was ascertained between the two relationship status groups, although percentages tended to be higher for single men. For example, 9% of single and dating men and 5% of married and cohabiting men reported ever having been punched or kicked. A significantly higher percentage of married and cohabiting men, than married and cohabiting women, reported sustaining any item of inflicted victimization both in all and current relationships (15% vs. 9%; 11% vs. 4%). Also there was a tendency for a higher percentage of married or cohabiting men to report two or more acts of victimization (e.g. current relationships 5% vs. 1%) whilst for single dating individuals, two or more items of assault were reported almost equally (e.g. current relationships 4% women vs. 3% men). An inference that may be drawn is that women who were married or cohabiting at the time of the survey reported less overall victimization on these items across all their relationships, than single women report, whereas relationship status has little effect on reported victimization for men whether married or cohabiting or single, but dating.

Socio-economic Categories, Age and Geographical Region

Data were also analyzed by grouping respondents into two broad socioeconomic categories (ABC1 and C2DE), by age in three categories (15-34, 35-54 and 55+), and according to three geographical regions (North, Midlands, South). Reported incidences for any of the five acts of physical victimization is shown in Table IV for these variables. Both for all relationships, and solely in current relationships, sustained victimization was higher for the C2DE category of socioeconomic class. Inflicted victimization admitted for any act was, however, more equivalent between the two socioeconomic categories, especially for women (ABC1 men 7%, women 10%; C2DE men 12%, women 12%). The reported incidence of either sustained or inflicted victimization was highest for the youngest age group and decreased with age. The percentages of men and women reporting victimization varied by geographical region, with the highest percentages of women reporting any act of victimization being women in the Midlands for all relationships and women in the North for current relationships. Men in the South were the most victimized men both for all and current relationships.

TABLE IV. Relationship Status, Social Class, Age and Region*

All relationships

Current relationships

% Men

% Women

% Men

% Women

Married/cohabiting

15

9

11

4

Single dating

22

21

11

6

ABC1

15

12

9

4

C2DE

20

14

13

5

15-34

25

21

16

6

35-54

18

12

12

5

55+

7

7

5

2

North

16

12

9

7

Midlands

18

17

12

5

South

19

13

13

2

*The percentages of men and women identifying any act of victimization across all or current relationships broken down according to the categories of relationships status (married/cohabiting and single dating), socioeconomic category (ABC1, C2DE), age, (15-34, 35-54, 55+), and geographical region of the UK (North, Midlands, South). Figures are percentages of each individual subsample and sample sizes ranged between 600 and 295 for all relationships and between 557 and 170 for current relationships. A difference of 5-8% or more for these sample sizes would indicate a statistically significant difference (5% level).

When the total sample was broken down into the categories of relationship status, socioeconomic category, age and geographical region, disparities in item victimization were seen in these subsamples as compared to the data for men and women as a whole. For instance, while overall significantly more men than women reported being slapped, women in the Midlands across all relationships reported being slapped almost equally to Midland men (11% vs. 12%). In current relationships, however more men in the Midlands reported this item of victimization (10% vs. 4%) in line with the overall male/female pattern. Another example of disparity is seen for the item "punched or kicked." Marginally more single dating women and women aged 15-34, than single dating men or men aged 15-34, reported this act of victimization across all relationships (10% vs. 9% in both cases).

Context and Reason

Table V shows the numbers and percentages of men and women who identified each of the "contexts or reasons" for both victimization sustained or inflicted in all relationships. These figures are derived from only those individuals who identified having sustained or inflicted an act of physical victimization.

TABLE V. Attributions for "Reason and Context"*
Victimization sustained Victimization inflicted

Women (%)

Men (%)

Women(%)

Men(%)

130(13)

155(18)

106(11)

85(10)

Total experiencing/committing
A

37(32)

66(43)

57(53)

54(64)

"Get through to...."
B

37(32)

68(44)

55(52)

45(53)

"Something said or threatened..."
C

16(12)

13(8)

22(21)

23(27)

"Some physical action..."
D

38(29)

57(37)

35(33)

39(43)

"Stop doing something..."
E

66(51)

66(43)

28(26)

22(26)

"Make do something..."
F

13(10)

10(7)

18(17)

18(21)

"About to use physical action..."
G

58(45)

48(31)

14(13)

30(35)

"Influence of alcohol etc..."
H

57(44)

49(31)

17(16)

23(27)

"In Character..."
Other

15(11)

9(6)

13(12)

6(7)

*Attributions for "reason and context" for partner's actions by those men and women who sustained any physical assault (victimization sustained) or inflicted any physical assault against a partner (victimization inflicted) in all relationships. A-H represent "context or reasons" asked and are detailed in Materials and Methods. "Other" represents abrogated total for "other", "no particular reason", and "don't know" responses. Numbers of men and women (and percentage of male/female subsample) are given, along with figures for total numbers expressed as a percentage of whole male or female populations.

Table V shows that male and female respondents choose somewhat different contexts most frequently for their partners' victimization of them as against for their victimization of their partners. Women victims choose "making me do something he wanted" most frequently, but also reason that it was either as a result of their partner being "under the influence of alcohol" or it is "in his character". Men also chose "being made to do something their partner wanted" frequently, but almost equally identify their partner responding to "something said or threatened" or their partner needing to "get through to them". For inflicted victimization, both men and women choose these latter two reasons most prevalently, although men also admit slightly more than women aggressing "to stop their partner doing something". They also choose more frequently to context their aggression to the influence of alcohol, mirroring what women victims say about aggressing males' use or abuse of alcohol.

Two specific item options (C,F) available to respondents under these "context and reasons" for victimization or perpetration were formulated to present "self-defense or retaliation" options to respondents without directly signaling this intent in the wording. Both sexes attributed more of these contexts and reasons that could include "self defense or retaliation" to their own actions rather than for partners' actions, although acts by partners in "self-defense or retaliation" were acknowledged by both sexes. Men attributed such reasons slightly less to their partners and slightly more to their own actions than women attributed likewise. For women respondents, of 106 who identified any item of inflicted victimization against a partner, 22(21%) and 18 (17%), respectively, identified these two "context and reasons" for their aggression. Thus a lower percentage of aggressing women reported these two reasons than any other reason, except for ascribing that their aggression was either the result of the influence of alcohol (G 13%) or inherent in their character (H, 16%) or giving other non-specified reasons. Variable percentages of respondents, when identifying the particular items of physical assault, identified these two reasons for their actions. Notably, however, even at the potentially most serious level of assault only one woman in three identified these reasons as the "context or reason" to their aggression.

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