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​“Gender Symmetry” in Domestic Violence

AuthorKimmel, Michael S.
Title "Gender Symmetry" in Domestic Violence
Source Violence Against Women, November 2002, Vol. 8, No.11, pp 1332-1363
Date 2002
Document type Journal article
SummaryThis study examines the claims of gender symmetry in domestic violence through a review of the literature and the data sources. In particular the author compares the data and results from crime victimisation studies and family conflict studies including an in-depth analysis of the CTS survey measure which most family conflict surveys rely on. Crime victimisation surveys generally ask about assaults by ex-partners as well as current partners but they only ask about those incidents that are considered to be a crime by the individual. The victimisation studies find significantly lower rates of domestic violence than do family conflict studies. Family conflict studies are based on smaller population studies and also find much lower rates of injury. In summary, the gender symmetry found by CTS-based studies is most likely due to the omission of severity of injury, sexual assault and assaults by former spouses. The article also discusses the importance of showing compassion and supporting male victims regardless of the proportion of domestic violence represented by the male gender, without intervention being at the expense of support for female victims.
Keywords Intimate partner violence;; gender; crime victimisation surveys; gender symmetry; family conflict studies
Topic Male victims; Domestic violence