Women are more violent, says study

Bruised and battered husbands have been complaining for years and now the biggest research project of its kind has proved them right. When it comes to domestic confrontation, women are more violent than men.

Bruised and battered husbands have been complaining for years and now the biggest research project of its kind has proved them right. When it comes to domestic confrontation, women are more violent than men.

The study, which challenges the long-standing view that women are overwhelmingly the victims of aggression, 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.

Male violence remains a more serious phenomenon: men proved more likely than women to injure their partners. Female aggression tends to involve pushing, slapping and hurling objects. Yet men made up nearly 40 per cent of the victims in the cases that he studied - a figure much higher than previously reported.

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. Speaking last night, he said that female aggression was greater in westernised women because they were "economically emancipated" and therefore not afraid of ending a relationship.

"Feminist writers say most of the acts against men are not important but the same people have used the same surveys to inflate the number of women who are attacked," he said. "In the past it would not even have been considered that women are violent. My view is that you must base social policy on the whole evidence."

His views are supported by Dr Malcolm George, a lecturer in neuroscience at London University. In a paper to be published next year in the Journal of Men's Studies, Dr George will argue that men have been abused by their wives since Elizabethan times. He uses examples such as the actor John Wayne, beaten by his wife Conchita Martinez, and Humphrey Bogart battered by his wife Mayo Methot, as well as Abraham Lincoln whose wife Mary who broke his nose with a lump of wood.

His research is backed up by historical records which show that men who were beaten by their wives were publicly humiliated in a ceremony called a "skimmington procession". The procession was named after the ladle used to skim milk during cheese making.

Dr George has also unearthed a plaster frieze in Montacute House in Somerset that depicts a wife hitting her husband over the head followed by a "skimmington" ceremony.

"It's a complex argument but we do get more women aggressing against male partners than men against female partners," said Dr George. "The view is that women are acting in self-defence but that is not true - 50 per cent of those who initiate aggression are women. This sends a dangerous message to men because we are saying they are not going to get any legal redress so their option instead is to hit back."

Terrie Moffitt, professor of social behaviour at the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College, London, admitted that women do engage in abusive behaviour and said the Home Office should fund research into the issue in the UK. "If we ask does women's violence have consequences for their kids then the answer is 'yes'," she said. "There is also an elevated risk of children being victims of domestic violence if there is central violence between parents."

However, Dr Anne Campbell, a psychologist at the University of Durham, said that women should still receive the most support because they were the greater victims of domestic violence. "The outcome of violence is that women are more damaged by it and need the bulk of resources," she said. "But women's violence has become increasingly legitimised. There is a sense now that it's OK to 'slap the bastard'."

News
A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmA cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Arts and Entertainment
Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
theatreThe Shakespeare play that proved too much for more than 100 people
News
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Stir crazy: Noel Fielding in 'Luxury Comedy 2: Tales from Painted Hawaii'
comedyAs ‘Luxury Comedy’ returns, Noel Fielding on why mainstream success scares him and what the future holds for 'The Boosh'
Life and Style
Flow chart: Karl Landsteiner discovered blood types in 1900, yet scientists have still not come up with an explanation for their existence
lifeAll of us have one. Yet even now, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Arts and Entertainment
'Weird Al' Yankovic, or Alfred Matthew, at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival Screening of
musicHis latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do our experts think he’s missed out?
Sport
New Real Madrid signing James Rodríguez with club president Florentino Perez
sportColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
Travel
Hotel Tour d’Auvergne in Paris launches pay-what-you-want
travelIt seems fraught with financial risk, but the policy has its benefits
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe best children's books for this summer
Life and Style
News to me: family events were recorded in the personal columns
techFamily events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped that
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sustainability Manager

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Scheme Manager (BREEAM)...

Graduate Sustainability Professional

Flexible, depending on experience: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: T...

Programme Director - Conduct Risk - London

£850 - £950 per day: Orgtel: Programme Director - Conduct Risk - Banking - £85...

Project Coordinator/Order Entry, SC Clear

£100 - £110 per day: Orgtel: Project Coordinator/Order Entry Hampshire

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn