All Violence is Male Generated?

Today a comment was made by one of the ministers that all violence is male generated. It is sad to find such comments coming from ministers of India. Let’s try to analyse the statement backed by facts. Violence can be categorized as:

  • Violence within the house (Domestic Violence)
  • Violence outside the house (Crimes)

Domestic Violence: It is a common misnomer that domestic violence is conducted only by men. In the study by Morse, 1995, the researcher came to a conclusion that both men and women are equally likely to assault their partners. In a study conducted by Whitaker DJ, Haileyesus T, Swahn M, Saltzman LS. in 2007, found that in almost 24% of relationship there was some sort of violence with about 49.7% of violence activities to be reciprocal. In non-reciprocal violence women were the perpetrators in over 70% of the cases.

Women are more likely to use weapons during domestic violence as per an international study by Brown GA, 2004. As per the study 28.4% of the women were charged by assaulting with a knife, 11% with a blunt instrument and 7.7% with some other weapon.

A gist of some other international domestic violence surveys/studies is given below –

Male-to-Female (%)

Female-to-Male(%)
Bland & Orn (1986)(a)

14.6%

22.6%

Brinkerhoff & Lupri (1988)(b)

24.6%

27.5%

DeKeseredy & Schwartz (1998)(ade)

35%

46.1%

Grandin & Lupri (1997)(b)

18.3%

25.3%

Straus & Gelles (1986)(b)
Men’s Reports

12.2%

10.5%

Women’s Reports

12.1%

11.9%

Magdol et al. (1997)(bd)
Men’s Reports

22.8%

34.1%

Women’s Reports

27.1%

37.2%

a: prevalence rates (violence experienced ever in the past)
b: one-year prevalence rates
c: violence experienced from a current partner
d: young adult sample
e: women’s reports only

(Source: Gender Differences in Patterns of Relationship Violence In Alberta, 1999- By Kwong M, Bartholomew K and Dutton D)

Majority of all domestic violence studies conducted in India are primarily targeting male to female domestic violence. Reciprocal violence and female to male violence does not seem to be researched. For example in the research article Violence against Women in India: Evidence from Rural Gujarat, 1999, 346 women were contacted for the survey. Please note that in the sample not a single male respondent is there. Further, the questions asked donot seem to probe the female to male domestic violence (women initiated domestic violence). In another study titled, Domestic violence against women in eastern India: a population-based study on prevalence and related issues, both men and women were part of the sample. In this study, both men and women were administered different questionnaires. For women the questionnaires focused on victimization where they were asked whether their husbands or family members committed violence against them. Men were administered questionnaires on perpetration where they were asked if they had committed violent acts against their wife. The copy of the questionnaire can be found here.

The important points to note in these surveys are –

  • In many studies only women are the respondent and the questions administered are primarily of victimization
  • In other studies where both men and women are respondents questions administered are victimization for women and perpetration for men.

In domestic violence studies conducted, men are never asked if they ever suffered domestic violence at the hands of their wives and women are never asked if they were ever perpetrators of domestic violence against their husbands. The construct of these studies were primarily based on a biased notion that women are victims of domestic violence and men the perpetrators. At the onset of the study, bias has been introduced by the researcher either by way of choosing the sample or by way of administering different sets of questions to different genders. Therefore, the results obtained by these studies cannot be said to be free from bias.

Anant Kumar, has written an interesting article on Domestic Violence against Men in India: A Perspective, which discusses in detail domestic violence against men in India.

Crimes: Let’s see if there has been any structural change in the society over the past 10 years. We have used the NCRB Crime data from 2001 – 2010 for arrests made for serious crimes such as murder, dacoity, burglary, arson, kidnapping, thefts etc… The data for increase in arrests by police over the 10 year period is given below, which is startling:

 

Crime

Increase in arrest from 2001-2010

Women

Male

Murder

10.6%

-18.4%

Attempt to commit Murder

46.4%

-17.2%

Dacoity

110.3%

-29.9%

Burglary

40.6%

1.5%

Arson

7.1%

-22.9%

Explosives & Explosive Substances Act

4.2%

-19.6%

Auto Theft

53.0%

80.7%

Other Thefts

45.5%

4.4%

Total Theft

45.7%

18.9%

Robbery

135.2%

18.5%

Kidnapping & Abduction – Women & Girls

66.3%

94.1%

Kidnapping & Abduction

56.0%

46.9%

Other Indian Penal Code crimes

25.8%

16.1%

Gambling Act

39.7%

13.3%

Essential Commodities Act

226.8%

82.8%

Cheating

159.0%

79.0%

Criminal Breach of Trust

62.1%

29.7%

 

Violence does not have a “Gender”, the belief that men are the source of all violence is wrong at many levels. Let us all Stand Up for a Cause…

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