WOMEN’S USE OF VIOLENCE
IN INTIMATE RELATIONSHIPS
Although women do use violence against
intimate partners, the ways in which they use violence, and the context in
which this use occurs, are “historically, culturally, motivationally, and
Claims that men are battered as often
as women do not take into account the fact that in a high percentage of cases,
women’s use of violence is preceded by severe acts of violence by their partners.
Women typically use violence in self-defense to control an immediate conflict
situation, while men use violence to establish widespread authority over longer
The use of violence has different
consequences for men and women. Women more often recognize violence as contrary
to their socially-prescribed gender roles and readily admit to using violence.
Men typically minimize or deny the violence, reflecting a greater feeling
of entitlement to use violence.
Reports of violence against men are
also often exaggerated; men accused of domestic violence often minimize and
deny their partners’ claims by arguing that the abuse was mutual or that they
were the victims.
Adapted from Shamita Das Dasgupta, Towards
an Understanding of Women’s Use of Non-Lethal Violence in
Intimate Heterosexual Relationships (2001).