Woman As Aggressor: The Unspoken Truth Of Domestic Violence by Edward Rhymes
I approach this writing with some trepidation because it will run counter in some areas to the current debate regarding domestic violence. When wading in these highly volatile and controversial waters, one finds that disclaimers – like life jackets – must be affixed to the body of the argument.
Violence against women
Women and girls make up 98 percent of the victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation globally, per a 2005 report, though a 2008 report revealed that boys make up half of those who are sexually exploited commercially in the United States.
In 2011, an estimated 19,000 rapes and sexual assaults — overwhelmingly against women — took place in the military.
Girls younger than 15 are five times more likely to die in childbirth than women in their 20s. And pregnancy is consistently among the leading causes of death for girls aged 15 to 19 worldwide.
Incidents of domestic violence against women occur every 15 seconds in the U.S.
Add to those glaring examples of epidemic-like violence against women figures college/university campus date rape statistics, the high rates of sexual assault in South Africa, the Save Our Girls campaign in Nigeria, and the list could go on and on. Yet, although violence against women and girls includes domestic violence, not all domestic violence features women and girls as the victims. Sometimes, the woman is the abuser.
Let me be clear, the hesitance in speaking about female-initiated domestic violence is rooted in a very real concern about what the discussion can give way to: a dismissal and abnegation of the actual dangers women face. That, however, fails to be a compelling reason not to discuss the role of women in domestic violence. For example, an honest discussion about Israel’s occupation of Palestine need not devolve into anti-Semitism. Neither does a hard look at real terrorism, perpetrated by entities such as the Islamic State, have to degenerate into Islamophobia. So, conversely, a sincere critique regarding the totality of domestic violence does not have to be reduced to a capitulation to misogyny and sexist insensitivity.
Female-initiated domestic abuse
Women are three times more likely to be killed or seriously injured by their male counterpart than vice versa. Though those numbers suggest a more dire need, they do not connote that women are completely innocent when it comes to domestic violence.
More than 830,000 men fall victim to domestic violence every year. A man is the victim of domestic abuse every 37.8 seconds in America. These numbers are not inconsequential and the frequency is far from insignificant.
Jan Brown, executive director and founder of the Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men, stated that “domestic violence is not about size, gender, or strength. It’s about abuse, control, and power, and getting out of dangerous situations and getting help, whether you are a woman being abused, or a man.”
In 2001, the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health collected data about the health of a nationally representative sample of 14,322 individuals between the ages of 18 and 28. The study also asked subjects to answer questions about romantic or sexual relationships in which they had engaged during the previous five years and whether those relationships had involved violence.