manwomanmyth – Domestic Violence – Every 10 Seconds – 100 thousand women

Examines the impossibility of the claim that the UK police receive a call about domestic violence “every 10 seconds” and other similar exaggerated figures.
Looks at the media portrayal of male domestic violence victims and how men are put into impossible situations when attempting to deal with female violence.
Featuring Erin Pizzey and Stephen Fitzgerald.



How the domestic violence abuse industry inflated the incidence of DV against women in London during the 1990s, claiming that 100,000 women seek hospital treatment for domestic violence every year. Features Rosalind Miles, Sandra Horley and Susan Edwards.

• Metropolitan Police flawed extrapolation of DV figures
• False claims of female mortality attributed to DV




One thought on “manwomanmyth – Domestic Violence – Every 10 Seconds – 100 thousand women


    Charles E. Corry, Erin Pizzey and Martin S. Fiebert
    (This article is published in US English.—Eds.)


    Published research indicates that 25%-30% of all intimate violence is exclusively female on male. People hit and abuse family members because they can. In today’s society, as reflected in TV, movies, law enforcement, courts, and feminist literature, women are openly given permission to hit men. However, “Primary aggressor” laws usually result in the arrest of the male despite research showing 50% of domestic assaults are mutual. Studies consistently find women use weapons more often in assaults than do men (~80% for women; ~25% for men). Women are significantly more likely to throw an object, slap, kick, bite, or hit with their fist or an object. There is no support in the present data for the hypothesis that women use violence only in self-defense. Three common reasons women give for male abuse are: to resolve the argument; to respond to family crisis; and to “stop him bothering me.” Self-defense is one of the less-frequently stated reasons by women for their assaults. Research shows that a gender-balanced approach to domestic violence is essential in order to reduce both the frequency and severity of such incidents for both men and women. In order to address these issues in an effective way, we must first recognize that domestic violence and abuse are human problems, not gender issues. Central to the solution is the restoration of civil liberties, notably due legal process and equality before the law, which provides the bedrock for any democratic nation.
    Authors’ contact and affiliation

    Dr. Charles E. Corry, President, Equal Justice Foundation, Inc. 455 Bear Creek Road Colorado Springs, Colorado 80906 Phone: 719-520-1089��Fax: 719-328-1588��E-Mail:

    Prof. Martin S. Fiebert Department of Psychology, California State University Long Beach, California 90840 Phone: 562-985-5027��Fax: 562-985-8004��E-Mail:

    Erin Pizzey Flat 5, 29 Lebanon Park Twickenham, England TW1 3DH Phone number and fax: 0044 20 8 241 6541 E-mail:

    Controlling Domestic Violence Against Men
    Charles E. Corry, Erin Pizzey and Martin S. Fiebert

    Domestic violence and abuse are human problems, not gender issues. Gelles (1997, p. 133) put it succinctly:

    “People hit and abuse family members because they can.”

    There is, however, a double standard operating in today’s society, as reflected in TV, movies, and feminist doctrine, when women are openly given permission to hit men. For example, slapping a man in the face is rarely, if ever, viewed as “domestic violence.” We are fighting a losing war against family violence until society withdraws permission from women to hit their intimate partners. The problem and causes of female violence must be recognized and addressed.

    Research demonstrates that women are capable of significant violence but this is often redefined as something else. Marital quarrelling usually involves pushing, shoving, kicking or throwing things. These violent outbursts are largely ignored when they are perpetrated by women but are taken seriously when they are perpetrated by men. In many cases, women control what happens behind the front door, particularly where children are involved. Children find themselves enslaved by violence-prone women whose unpredictable and terrifying behavior will dictate the children’s lives until they are old enough to escape, if they are lucky, or they are doomed to repeat the violence-prone pattern.

    In England most of the reported domestic violence is amongst what is called the ‘socially excluded’. This is ironic since most of the mothers in this catch all phrase have never been socially included so they have never learned the basic rules of how to communicate without using violence. Often the violence-prone mother is unable to bond to her children. When this happens the children tend to become ‘affectionless,’ and unable to feel or to respond to normal human warmth and need for relationships. We have to hold mothers and fathers equally responsible for the emotional and physical wellbeing of their children. The big lie perpetrated by the Domestic Violence industry for the last thirty years is that it is fathers alone who are guilty of all violence and abuse in the family. There is no excuse for this lie anymore. There are now sufficient international studies producing irrefutable evidence that domestic violence is not simply a gender issue and violence is perpetrated by both men and women.

    Fiebert and Gonzales (1997) have looked at the reasons why women commit assault from a sample of 978 college women in California. Within a 5-year period, 20%, or 285 of the women surveyed admitted to physical aggression against their male partners. There does not seem to be any support in the available data for the feminist proposition that women only use violence against men in self-defense. This challenges the view presented by the Domestic Violence industry that female assaults on males are almost always for reasons of self-defense. Outside of studies that come from clinical samples of women who seek services in domestic violence centers and social service agencies we have not found evidence to support that hypothesis. The most-common reasons the women in the Fiebert and Gonzales (1997) study gave for assaulting their male partners included:
    •My partner wasn’t sensitive to my needs.
    •I wished to gain my partner’s attention.
    • My partner was not listening to me. The factor of the male being abusive to the woman was one of the less-frequently stated reasons for the female’s assault.

    Fiebert and Gonzales (1997) also asked for more profound reasons as to why the woman had assaulted her male partner. The five leading reasons the women gave to that query were:

    •I believe that men can readily protect themselves so I don’t worry when I become physically aggressive (24%).
    •I have found that most men have been trained not to hit a woman and therefore I am not fearful of retaliation from my partner (19%).
    •I believe if women truly are equal to men then women should be able to physically express anger at men (13%).
    •I learned when growing up that I could be physically aggressive toward my brother and he would not fight back (12%).
    •I sometimes find when I express my anger physically I become turned on sexually (8%).

    There are a number of international studies which support the thesis that women are active contributors to domestic violence against their male partners and their children. In two Australian studies (Sarantakos, 1998, 1999), minor violation of household rules was the reason given by women for abusing their male partner. In Sarantakos’ studies the three most common reasons were:

    •To resolve the argument.
    •To respond to family crisis.
    •To “Stop him bothering me!”

    Table 1: Results of 1994 national study from England on causes of violence (Carrado et al., 1996).

    An English study by Carrado et al. (1996), summarized in Table�1 above, asked the questions of assault context and self-defense in the general population. This study suggests that ~80% of assaults by wives on their husbands were for reasons other than self-defense. Items C and F in Table�1 were identified as clear examples of self-defense. Note that multiple reasons are often given for the same assault. It is also of note that the victimization rate between men and women in Table�1 is nearly the same, 11% for women and 10% for men. Many other studies support that result (see references).
    In Canada, Sommer (1994) examined a longitudinal study consisting of “married, cohabiting and remarried males and females between the ages of 18 and 65 years.” Data were collected at two points in time over a two-year period from face-to-face interviews with 452 females and 447 males. Of these, 39% of the women and 26% of the men committed acts of violence against their spouses at some time in their relationship. Sixteen percent of the women and 8% of the men defined those acts as severe in nature.
    Ninety percent of the abusive women did not strike their male partners in self-defense. On the contrary, these women hit, kicked, threw something, and bit their male partners when they were furious, jealous, high on drugs or alcohol, frustrated, in need of control, or had impulse problems.
    Fourteen percent of the men who were attacked in this study needed to go to the hospital. These studies suggest that only 10-20% of women in the general population assault their male partners for clear reasons of self-defense.
    Dangerous Behavior Patterns

    If we are to properly address domestic violence and abuse of men by women we must first recognize and define archetypes that are predictive of such behavior:

    •Violence prone women. Erin Pizzey defines, “…a ‘violence prone’ woman as a woman who, while complaining that she is the innocent victim of the malice and aggression of all other relationships in her life, is in fact a victim of her own violence and aggression.” Pizzey (1998) provides considerable evidence that such individuals form an addiction to violence early in life.

    •Abused as a child. A woman who was physically or sexually abused as a child is a likely candidate to be abusive as an adult. She will also know all the games to play, just who to call, and what to say when the abuse begins.

    • A woman’s partner can no longer do anything right. What had seemed like a caring, loving person becomes an abusive, angry harpy who is critical of every action a man takes.
    She may also start to hit, push, or throw things. Such personality changes may be symptoms of a medical or mental problem that proper treatment might cure or control.

    • She hits or throw things: It seems obvious, but it may just seem cute, or funny, or done in play. In one survey of college students, 20% of men who had been attacked by their girlfriends thought it was simply funny. It isn’t!

    • Women with drug or alcohol problems. By a “drug problem” we don’t limit the term to illicit drugs. Women who abuse prescription drugs, particularly anti-depressants, or even over-the-counter medications, can be dangerous. Such habits often hide deeper-seated psychoses as well and the rate of recidivism is very high in such cases.

    • Eating disorders, lean and mean. It is hardly a secret that a great many American women suffer from eating disorders. Eating disorders may also coexist with BPD.

    • Borderline personality disorder (BPD). Researchers, notably Dutton (1995, p.140¬155) and Gelles (1997, p. 80), have found a positive correlation of BPD with domestic violence. People with BPD comprise ~2% of the general population; 10% of all mental health outpatients; 20% of psychiatric inpatients; 75% of those diagnosed are women; and 75% of the sufferers of this condition have been physically or sexually abused.

    • Other mental illnesses. Bipolar disorder and manic depression, attention deficit disorder (ADD), and conditions involving abnormally low levels of serotonin are known to be associated with violent behavior. Other brain/biochemical disorders and injuries are also known to play a significant role in precipitating violent behavior in some individuals. Such disorders as Munchausen’s syndrome by proxy, or post-partum depression have also been noted, but this list is not inclusive.

    • Psychopaths. There appear to be three common indicators that a man is at lethal risk from a psychopathic partner: paranoia, psychostimulants, and weapons. In her book, “When She Was Bad,” Patricia Pearson lists the most consistent behaviors of psychopaths as: pathological lying, short attention span, grandiosity, manipulativeness, recklessness, remorselessness, and an absence of fear. There is no known treatment for psychopaths.

    • The change of life or perimenopause. About 10-15% of women suffer emotional or physical problems as they enter perimenopause. The average age at which this begins is 43, though it may occur as young as age 35. A hysterectomy, or surgical menopause, can also be associated with emotional problems including abusive and violent behavior.

    • Economic or financial action. A common issue in family violence is money. Cash may start disappearing, or she will run up credit card bills. Forcing a man to respond to vexatious legal proceedings in the Family Court or through Child Support action is also a common feature of the ‘malicious mother’ syndrome (the Deadbeat mom).

    • Jealousy. Another way a woman may attack a man is through jealousy. For example, she becomes insanely angry if he so much as speaks to another woman. Conversely, she may begin flirtations with other males in order to humiliate her partner.
    Family, or Emotional Terrorists
    As with violence against women, domestic violence and abuse of men is by no means limited to simply physical assaults. In her work with family violence, Erin Pizzey (1982, 1998) has long recognized that:

    “…there are women involved in emotionally and/or physically violent relationships who express and enact disturbance beyond the expected (and acceptable) scope of distress. Such individuals, spurred on by deep feelings of vengefulness, vindictiveness, and animosity, behave in a manner that is singularly destructive; destructive to themselves as well as to some or all of the other family members, making an already bad family situation worse. These women I have found it useful to describe as ‘family terrorists’.”
    Such women often become even more violent as their partner tries to break away. Pizzey (1998) notes that for family terrorists:

    “While the family remains together, however miserable that ‘togetherness’ might be, the terrorist maintains her power. However, it is often the separation of the family that promises to rend the terrorist’s domain and consequently to lessen her power. Family dissolution, therefore, often is the time when the terrorist feels most threatened and most alone, and, because of that, most dangerous.”

    In this position of fear, the family terrorist sets out to achieve a specific goal. There are many possible goals for the terrorist, including: reuniting the family once again, or ensuring that the children (if there are children in the relationship) remain under the terrorist’s control, or actively destroying the terrorist’s spouse (or ex-spouse) emotionally, physically, and financially.

    “…The terrorist, and the terrorist’s actions, know no bounds… Intent only to achieve the goal (perhaps ‘hell-bent’ is the most accurate descriptive phrase) the terrorist will take such measures as: stalking a spouse or ex-spouse, physically assaulting the spouse or the spouse’s new partners, telephoning all mutual friends and business associates of the spouse in an effort to ruin the spouse’s reputation, pressing fabricated criminal charges against the spouse (including alleged battery and child molestation), staging intentionally unsuccessful suicide attempts for the purpose of manipulation, snatching children from the spouse’s care and custody, vandalizing the spouse’s property, murdering the spouse and/or the children as an act of revenge.”


    Family law attorneys and others estimate that allegations of domestic violence or abuse are made in as many as one third of divorce cases in Colorado. False allegations of domestic violence or abuse are often made against men during a divorce solely to gain advantage in child custody and property disputes, particularly over the marital home. As the male is rendered homeless and forced from his children with little redress by such allegations there is considerable animosity generated. Restraining orders also prohibit any communication between the couple making the settlement of their affairs infinitely more difficult and expensive.

    Such malicious actions often result in violence, particularly where the woman uses such false allegations to cover adultery. Getting a divorce may be just the beginning of a man’s problems if there are children. Turket well describes the divorce-related malicious mother syndrome. A woman’s latent emotional terrorism may also become active as the relationship dissolves (Pizzey, 1998, p.5). Under current United States law and practices, a man has no recourse or protections from such abuse of process.
    Recourse to law

    Violent females often attack their partners with dangerous implements. McLeod (1984) found that roughly 80% of women use some sort of weapon to compensate for the difference in size when they seriously assault their mates. In such cases the male is faced with the eternal fight or flee paradox, only it is probably his mate he faces in deadly combat. Defense of self is certainly justifiable under such circumstances and will involve the use of force against a woman to restrain her unless he flees. However, if she is injured while attempting to restrain her, it is the male who will almost certainly be arrested and jailed under current United States laws and practice. Thus, under current statutes and police training, a man will most likely have to defend himself as much against the excesses of the justice system as from his female partner.

    In lessening the impact of domestic violence and abuse on men, women, and children it is essential that it be recognized that these are human relations problems, not a gender issue. Present practices of making arrests without a warrant often with little or no evidence of violence or probable cause, forcing men from their homes and children with nothing more than the clothes on their back, searches without a warrant, property seizures without legal redress, mandatory arrests based on nothing more than hearsay, assuming the accused is guilty until proven innocent, denial of the right to confront their accuser and obtain witnesses in one’s defense, punishment and imprisonment that occurs before trial or without one, public censure for crimes men have not committed, and more, signal the emergence of a police state and an attack upon the very fabric of our freedoms. Historically, such oppression has led to increased levels of violence being tolerated in society and a degradation of the family unit.

    There is no precedent to suggest tyranny and draconian laws will solve any social problem. Erin Pizzey, who started the shelter for battered women movement in 1971, states that “Any country that has tried to create a political solution to human problems has ended up with concentration camps and gulags.” Thus, many of our present laws and practices are not only unjust, they are practically wrong. To protect men and women we must restore their civil liberties, as free people are demonstrably intolerant of violence and abuse of anyone, be it perpetrated by domestic partners state and national governments or foreign countries. Whatever actions are taken, it should be recognized that families are the cornerstone of our civilization, and that children want and need both parents.


    We must also recognize that domestic violence and abuse are often the result of medical problems that can be treated. But to succeed in that approach, both partners must be evaluated when problems occur in the family setting. It isn’t “blaming the victim” to find out whether a woman, or a man, suffers from a possibly curable condition that exacerbates the family violence and abuse. Where underlying problems exist the most obvious approach is to provide treatment of the underlying conditions rather than the symptoms. Substance abuse also falls in this category. But Colorado, and many other states, use a one-size-fits-all approach of 36 weeks of counseling to treat domestic violence offenders. When one looks for clinical trials (URL — of the effects of medications on domestic violence being done by the National Institutes of Health, the only one found is a study of Prozac, with no other studies referenced.
    It is becoming ever more evident that mental health conditions are involved in many cases of domestic violence and abuse. For example, Dutton (1995, p.�140-155) and Gelles (1997, p. 80) have correlated borderline personality disorder (BPD) with domestic violence. BPD affects an estimated 2% of the population and 75% of the diagnosed cases of this disorder are women. Bipolar disorder is also often linked with violent and irrational behavior. Though restoration of a person’s lithium balance is well known in the treatment of bipolar disorder, it is often not applied in dealing with domestic violence. In fact, many times a person is jailed and denied their medications, making the problem worse. The same asinine approach has also been seen with agitated Alzheimer patients or caregivers. Conversely, some conditions are not subject to treatment. Where psychopaths are involved, and there are as many women as men in this category, at best the present approach simply runs them through 36 weeks of counseling with no follow-up long term care. Testing is now available to identify psychopaths and more rational management methods must be adopted including testing both partners.


    Mandatory arrest has been widely put in place as a panacea for the evils of domestic violence and the shortcomings of previous interventions. Colorado Springs, Colorado, was one of seven cities where the effects of mandatory arrest were studied before its enactment into law in 1994. There were four treatment conditions that were randomly chosen. On arrival the officer would radio back and be given instructions to do one of the following:

    1. Issue an emergency restraining order and arrest the presumed offender, i.e., the male.

    2. Issue an emergency restraining order and provide immediate crisis counseling for the offender.

    3. Issue an emergency restraining order only.

    4. Simply attempt to restore order. Considered to be the “business as usual” option.

    According to Berk (1993, p. 330) “All the treatment conditions that included an emergency order of protection performed a little better than trying to restore order alone, but arrest did not stand out as most effective.”

    Berk et al. (1992) also documented that in cases where the couple are not married and the male is unemployed, mandatory arrest can increase the level of violence. With an increasing divorce rate, combined with couples who simply never marry, the unmarried population is growing. While unemployment has been at very low levels since the mandatory arrest laws were passed, with an economic downturn we may see an increase in the number of mandatory arrests of unemployed men for alleged domestic violence.
    Table 2: Ten-year compilation of calls for assistance in domestic situations in Colorado Springs versus arrests for simple assault. Mandatory arrest and “no drop” laws were passed in Colorado in 1994.

    The measurable effects of mandatory arrest from Colorado Springs police reports for the years 1990-1999 are worth noting. First, passage of the mandatory arrest laws in 1994 did not result in a giant leap in numbers of arrests. Instead, as shown in Table�2 , the major effect is a dramatic drop in the number of calls to 911 in domestic disturbances after 1994.

    Prior to the current mandatory arrest laws, police officers in most jurisdictions could not make an arrest for a misdemeanor unless they actually witnessed a crime. Even where an arrest was permitted, many officers didn’t arrest for a variety of reasons. It is our contention that the people who don’t call under the mandatory arrest laws are those who have experience with the system and have become afraid of it. It is also very likely these are the people most in need of help. Our conclusion is that the current laws mandating arrest and “no drop” prosecution make a bad situation worse. Buzawa and Buzawa (1993) strongly argued that the “victim” should be given more options when the police are called despite the feminist mantra of a cycle of violence. Actual battering, in which a cycle of violence is a real prospect, is apparent in only about 3-4% of the cases of domestic abuse or violence encountered. In the remaining 96-97% of the cases the current policies act primarily to destroy the family or the relationship, and can breed fear, anger, suspicion, and resentment in those caught up in the Kafkaesque nightmare of domestic violence charges.

    Instead of attempting a better balance, the pendulum in many states has swung to the current draconian practice of stating the officer “shall arrest” in domestic violence cases if he finds probable cause. It is quite evident from the arrests for simple assault shown in Table2 that, even under current mandatory arrest laws, police rarely find sufficient probable cause in domestic disturbances to justify an arrest. But apparently the fear of an arrest deters many citizens from calling for help (see Table 2 ), however desperately they may need it. Our suggestion is that the English common law practice of allowing an officer to make an arrest for a misdemeanor when he has probable cause to believe that violence has occurred, or may occur without intervention, be reinstituted. Thus, we propose the substitution of “may arrest” for the current “shall arrest” in the law. That puts discretion back in the hands of frontline officers, who are on the scene, and best qualified to judge what action is appropriate for the situation they find.


    Straus (1980) first noted that in about half the couples studied it wasn’t a case of one person assaulting the other but that both committed violent acts. Cook (1995) has presented data collected from military couples that shows mutual violence occurs 60-64% of the time in abusive relationships (Table� ). Anyone who has been married knows that domestic disputes typically involve both parties. Experience with human nature suggests it usually ‘takes two to tango’.

    Table 3: Perpetrator of violence based on U.S. Army data (Cook, 1995).

    Thus, it is specious to presume that a peace officer, no matter how well trained, can make a determination in the turmoil of a domestic disturbance where a couple have both been violent that one or the other is the “primary aggressor.” Nor should police act as judge and jury in a free society. In practice, police may arrest both the man and woman when confronted with such situations. We have not seen any evidence that such dual arrests do anything but multiply the problems of both. The fallacious approach of promoting the arrest of males over females frequently compounds the abuse a man suffers from a violent partner as there are no constraints on her actions.


    No matter who the aggressor is in a domestic violence situation, present laws often go against logic, reason, and common sense regarding the treatment of women in times of danger. Historically, whenever possible women have been removed to a place of safety in perilous times. Today, though we spend billions on providing shelters for battered women, when police are called we remove the male by means of an arrest and leave the woman exactly where an attacker can most easily find her. Wouldn’t it make more sense to take a woman found to be in peril to a shelter where she can be safe until the danger passes? The officer might then make an arrest, issue a summons to one or both of the parties, or take no further action other than to advise and separate, depending on the circumstances and evidence.

    Under current mandatory arrest laws, police training is quite simple. When police respond to a domestic disturbance call “someone has got to go.” All too frequently that is the male by default regardless of the truth of the matter. And the truth is a matter to be sorted out by due process in a court of law, not by a police officer. Too often reports of domestic disturbances are based on hearsay that isn’t borne out by investigation. Further, we must stop treating women as incapable of making their own decisions in these situations. When, as is often the case, the woman does not feel she is in real danger from her partner, she should be allowed to sign a release of liability acknowledging that order had been restored. Such procedures would also go a long way to restoring due process to our justice system as, if necessary, a hearing by a magistrate could then be held in the light of day after everyone had calmed down. This approach would also minimize the destructive effects an arrest has on many families and relationships.


    Many of the present methods for intervening in domestic disturbances where women are the primary aggressor are dysfunctional. Refusal to recognise female to male violence is evident in the injustices and practices of the current legal system and its failure to protect men from violence and abuse by their intimate partner. Recognition that domestic violence and abuse are often mutual is an essential first step, equal justice demands equal treatment. However, prevention is better than cure. New approaches to minimizing domestic violence and abuse are needed for both women and men as the current systems, based on the false belief that women cannot be violent, are demonstrably flawed. First, we must recognise that domestic violence and abuse are human problems, not gender issues. Central to this is the restoration of civil liberties, notably due process which provides the bedrock for any democratic nation. Following on from that, there is a need to revise mandatory arrest laws to state an officer “may” arrest rather than “shall” arrest. Coupled with this is the need to eliminate attempts to designate one person, primarily the male, as the primary aggressor.

    Finally, recognition of, and treatment for medical and mental health problems in domestic
    situations for either or both partners would go a long way to solving many issues.


    We gratefully acknowledge the contributions and comments of Richard L. Davis,
    David Fontes, and Jan Brown in preparing this paper. However, the authors are solely
    responsible for the conclusions and statements contained in this paper.


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