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Just Like Men? A Critical View of Violence by Women (From Coordinating Community Responses to Domestic Violence: Lessons From Duluth and Beyond, P 195-222, 1999, Melanie F. Shepard and Ellen L. Pence, eds.--See NCJ-180760)

NCJ Number
Shamita Das Dasgupta
Date Published
28 pages
The dynamics of domestic assault committed by women against males is examined, based on transcripts of 32 of 50 interviews conducted with women in 4 cities; the women were ordered to attend groups due to their use of violence.
The significant increase in the numbers of women charged and convicted of domestic violence and referred to rehabilitation groups in Duluth, Minn., points to the need for understanding of this issue. Crucial issues are whether women who use violence against intimate partners are acting just like men, and how to examine the context to find appropriate levels of responses to each perpetrator and victim. A valid perspective of intimate violence must try to explain battering with respect to its sociocultural context and related issues. Interviews with the violent women overwhelmingly revealed that nearly all women were either currently being battered or had been battered in intimate relationships. Many of the women's use of violence was clearly self-defense. The most pervasive and persistent motivation for women's use of violence was ending abuse in their own lives. Findings revealed the futility of equating violence by and against women. Findings also indicated that the inclusion of women who assault their partners in intervention programs designed for male batterers would be neither appropriate nor efficacious. Findings suggested the need for awareness of the gender dynamic in domestic assault when formulating an intervention program for women in heterosexual relationships who have assaulted their partners. Notes and 59 references