The Uncommon Man

July 19, 2005

Frequently Asked Questions about VAWA and Gender

Q: Why is the bill called the Violence Against Women Act?
A: Senator Biden, author of the 1994 VAWA, explains why the Act specifically names women: "The reality is that the vast majority of victims of domestic violence are women and children, and most outreach organizations take those demographics into consideration when providing services . . . The bottom line is - violence is violence no matter what gender the victim. Because of that, the Violence Against Women Act applies to all victims of domestic violence, irrespective of their gender. Nothing in the act denies services, programs, funding or assistance to male victims of violence."

Q: Does the Violence Against Women Act currently serve men?
A: Yes. VAWA funds continue to be available for services provided to victims regardless of gender, and male victims frequently receive help from VAWA-funded programs. For example, men who contact domestic violence and sexual assault programs and hotlines are provided advocacy services and legal assistance to protect their safety. VAWA programs also train law enforcement officers on how to respond to and assess situations of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking, which enhances their capacity to properly identify victims and their perpetrators.

Q: Will the reauthorization of VAWA improve services for men?
A: Yes. In addition to continuing to serve all victims regardless of gender, all program grants in VAWA 2005 have been expanded to assist underserved populations. In fact, the expansion of the sexual assault programs will better meet the needs of men, who experience sexual assault more frequently than domestic violence. The reauthorization of VAWA will serve more men than ever before, and it will better protect men from victimization.

Q: Who are the majority of victims of domestic violence?
A: The Bureau of Justice Statistics, National Institute of Justice, and Centers for Disease Control studies all conclude that victims of intimate partner violence are overwhelmingly female. A recent study reports that women compose 84% of spouse abuse victims and 86% of victims of abuse by a boyfriend or girlfriend. In terms of victimization, intimate partner violence against men is overwhelming committed by male perpetrators.

Q: Who are more likely to be victims of violent crimes committed by intimate partners?
A: The Department of Justice has found that women are far more likely to be the victims of violent crimes committed by intimate partners than men, especially when a weapon is involved. Women are 7 to 14 times more likely to report severe violence by an intimate partner, where they are beaten, choked, almost drowned, threatened with a gun, or shot. When women use force with their intimate partners, it is most often in the context of self-defense. Furthermore, a "significant amount of research reports that women suffer more negative consequences as a result of violence from a current or former male partner than men do from a current or former female partner."

Q: What about rape, sexual assault and stalking?
A: Women are almost 6 times as likely as men to be victims of rape or attempted rape in their lifetime. While 9 out of 10 rape victims are women, men and boys are also victimized by this crime. Around the world at least 1 woman in every 3 has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused in her lifetime. Women are 3.5 times more likely to be stalked in their lifetime.

Q: What about studies that report equal rates of victimization between men and women?
A: Most studies that report equal rates of victimization typically use the Conflict Tactics Scale (CTS), which is severely flawed. The CTS ignores the context, motivations, meanings, and consequences of intimate partner abuse. Surveys that use the CTS generally count the raw number of violent acts committed while ignoring the context of the violence. Many women resort to violence to defend themselves against the aggression of their male partners, while men generally use violence in order to control their female partners. The CTS uses a focused, singular approach that often does not uncover the complete picture of violence and results in misleading statistics about the incidence and frequency of abuse of women as compared to men.

via Michael Flood

Posted by Russell at July 19, 2005 06:30 AM


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