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METHOD  Data come from the National Violence Against Women Survey (NVAW) for current husbands (n = 4846), current wives (n = 5126), first ex- husbands.

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Presentation on theme: "METHOD  Data come from the National Violence Against Women Survey (NVAW) for current husbands (n = 4846), current wives (n = 5126), first ex- husbands."— Presentation transcript:

1 METHOD  Data come from the National Violence Against Women Survey (NVAW) for current husbands (n = 4846), current wives (n = 5126), first ex- husbands (n = 2413), and first ex-wives (n = 2051). Our nine-item Coercive Control Scale (alpha =.91) includes the following items: [Your ex or current husband or wife]… is jealous or possessive, … tries to provoke arguments, … tries to limit your contact with family and friends, … insists on knowing who you are with at all times, … calls you names or puts you down in front of others, … makes you feel inadequate, … shouts or swears at you, … frightens you, and … prevents you from knowing about or having access to the family income even when you ask. On the basis of a heuristic cluster analysis using the nine control items and the sample of violent ex-husbands, we chose a cut-off at five or more control tactics to define high control as the basis for distinguishing between intimate terrorism and situational couple violence. Gender, Intimate Terrorism, and Situational Couple Violence in General Survey Data: The Gender Debate Revisited—Again Michael P. Johnson 1, Janel M. Leone 2, & Yili Xu 2 1 Sociology and Women’s Studies, The Pennsylvania State University* 2 Department of Child & Family Studies, Syracuse University RESULTS & DISCUSSION Violence of Ex-Spouses There is considerable violence reported for ex-spouses, especially ex-husbands (Table 1). Fully 22% of ex-husbands were reported by their ex-wives to have been engaged in intimate terrorism. The violence of intimate terrorism is almost twice as frequent as is the violence of situational couple violence (M = 7.66 vs. 3.38; F = 30.95, df = 1, 517; p <.001). Intimate terrorism is more likely than situational couple violence to result in injury (44% vs. 28% injured in the last incident; X 2 = 18.79; df = 2; p <.001), and when there are injuries they are more likely to be severe (80% vs. 55% in the last incident; X 2 = 58.33; df = 1; p <.001). Violence of Current Spouses As predicted, there is little or no intimate terrorism reported for current marriages: only.7% of wives describe intimate terrorist husbands, and.5% of husbands describe intimate terrorist wives (Table 2). In fact, almost all husbands and wives reported that their current spouses were non-violent. The violence of intimate terrorism is almost twice as frequent as is the violence of situational couple violence (M = 5.45 vs. 3.00; F = 12.45; df = 1, 223; p <.001). HYPOTHESES 1.There will be very little intimate terrorism reported for current spouses. 2.Among ex-husbands, intimate terrorism will be common. 3.Intimate terrorism will be primarily male-perpetrated, but prevalence of situational couple violence will be more gender symmetric. 4.On average, intimate terrorism will have more serious consequences than situational couple violence. Table 1: Ex-Spouse Violence Type by Gender Violence Type PartnerNon- violent Situational Couple Violence Intimate Terrorism (n) Ex-husband70.5%7.4%22.0%(2413) Ex-wife90.7%3.9%5.4%(2051) X 2 = ; df = 2; p <.001 Table 2: Current Spouse Violence by Gender Violence Type PartnerNon-violentSituational Couple Violence Intimate Terrorism (n) Husband95.3%3.9%0.7%(4846) Wife97.9%1.7%0.5%(5126) X 2 = 50.82; df = 2; p <.001 STUDY GOALS 1.To develop a survey operationalization that distinguishes between intimate terrorism and situational couple violence. 2.To investigate the prevalence of reports of intimate terrorism and situational couple violence for current and ex spouses. 3.To identify major differences between the two types of partner violence, including the gender differences that are of most interest to feminist theorists. BACKGROUND Data from general surveys documenting “gender symmetry of domestic violence” have been presented to invalidate feminist theories of intimate partner violence. Johnson and colleagues have challenged the relevance of survey data on the basis of two points: (a) partner violence is not a unitary phenomenon, there are three major types (intimate terrorism, situational couple violence, and violent resistance); and (b) the intimate terrorism that feminists argue is rooted in patriarchal attitudes and institutions is rare in survey data, found primarily in agency data (e.g., hospitals, courts, violence shelters). Thus, when survey data are used without differentiating among types of partner violence, the data are dominated by situational couple violence, and have no bearing on feminist theories about intimate terrorism. Indirect evidence supporting these contentions can be found in Felson & Outlaw (2007), who found no link between control and violence for current partners in the National Violence Against Women Survey (NVAW), but a strong link between control and violence for male ex-partners. These findings suggest that there is (a) little intimate terrorism in the data on current relationships, and (b) substantial intimate terrorism in the data for male ex-partners. CONCLUSIONS There is virtually no intimate terrorism reported for current spouses. We had expected this because we believe that (a) rates of intimate terrorism are relatively low, and (b) intimate terrorists and their victims refuse to participate in survey research. There is considerable intimate terrorism reported for ex-spouses, especially ex-husbands. We had expected this because we assume that (a) most victims of intimate terrorism ultimately end the relationship, and (b) after they have left, they can safely participate in survey research about their relationship. Intimate terrorism is primarily male-perpetrated, but prevalence of situational couple violence is more gender symmetric. These patterns are predicted by feminist theories of intimate partner violence, for a host of reasons. On average, intimate terrorism has more serious consequences than does situational couple violence. We have developed simple, internally reliable operationalizations of intimate terrorism and situational couple violence that can be used to compare incidence and consequences across groups. *Author Contact Information:


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