The Independent 12 November 2000
Bruised and battered husbands have been complaining for years and now the biggest research project of its kind has proved them right. When it comes to domestic confrontation, women are more violent than men.
The study, which challenges the long-standing view that women are overwhelmingly the victims of aggression, is based on an analysis of 34,000 men and women by a British academic. Women lash out more frequently than their husbands or boyfriends, concludes John Archer, professor of psychology at the University of Central Lancashire and president of the International Society for Research on Aggression.
Male violence remains a more serious phenomenon: men proved more likely than women to injure their partners. Female aggression tends to involve pushing, slapping and hurling objects. Yet men made up nearly 40 per cent of the victims in the cases that he studied – a figure much higher than previously reported.
Professor Archer analysed data from 82 US and UK studies on relationship violence, dating back to 1972. He also looked at 17 studies based on victim reports from 1,140 men and women. Speaking last night, he said that female aggression was greater in westernised women because they were “economically emancipated” and therefore not afraid of ending a relationship.
“Feminist writers say most of the acts against men are not important but the same people have used the same surveys to inflate the number of women who are attacked,” he said. “In the past it would not even have been considered that women are violent. My view is that you must base social policy on the whole evidence.”