Or has it?
Critics would say that while it has placed a spotlight on violence against women, that isn’t at all synonymous with “domestic violence.”
Because studies show that most domestic violence may actually be violence against men.
This has just been brought to light by Guardian columnist Glen Poole, who recently asked why British actress Kelly Brook has “got away with punching two men”? Complaining that there “is little room for the female perpetrator or the male victim in mainstream modern discourse around violence and [sex],” he goes on to point out:
Women are committing violence against men and boys on a daily basis…. International research suggests that as much as half of domestic violence is committed against men, but in the UK, fewer that [sic] 7% of convicted perpetrators are female. So what can we learn from Brook’s refusal to take responsibility for her own celebrity violence? She is clearly no ordinary women [sic], but the gender script she is performing is predictably ordinary.
Yet not only is this information about sex and violence nothing new, some would say Poole is understating the case. For example, Sophie Goodchild reported in a 2000 Guardian piece on a study showing that women were actually more likely to initiate violence in relationships, writing:
The study … is based on an analysis of 34,000 men and women by a British academic. Women lash out more frequently than their husbands or boyfriends, concludes John Archer, professor of psychology at the University of Central Lancashire and president of the International Society for Research on Aggression.
… Professor Archer analysed data from 82 US and UK studies on relationship violence, dating back to 1972. He also looked at 17 studies based on victim reports from 1,140 men and women…. [H]e said that female aggression was greater in westernised women because they were “economically emancipated” and therefore not afraid of ending a relationship.
This is likely only a small part of why women have become more violent, however. Other observers point out that some women will take advantage of domestic-violence laws and procedures, knowing that if a man they assault retaliates, calling the police will generally result in the onus being placed on him. In addition, increased female domestic assault is part and parcel of a decades-long rise in female violence in general. As Meda Chesney-Lind wrote in a 2001 edition of Criminal Justice magazine:
Girls in the juvenile justice system were once dubbed the “forgotten few.” That concept has rapidly faded as the increase in the number of girls arrested has dramatically outstripped that of boys for most of the last decade. Girls now account for one out of four arrests, and statistics show the greatest increase in arrests is for violent offenses. This shift highlights both the need to better understand the dynamics of female delinquency and the need to tailor the criminal justice system’s response.
… Between 1989 and 1998 … arrests of girls for serious violent offenses increased by 64.3 percent and arrests of girls for “other assaults” increased an astonishing 125.4 percent.