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Men are More Likely Than Women to Be Victims in Dating Violence
Newswise -- A 32-nation study of violence against dating partners by university partners found that about a third had been violent, and most incidents of partner violence involve violence by both the man and woman, according to Murray Straus, founder and co-director of the Family Research Laboratory at the University of New Hampshire. The second largest category was couples where the female partner was the only one to carry about physical attacks, not the male partner.
Straus' new research also found that dominance by the female partner is even more closely related to violence by women than is male dominance. These results call into question the widely held belief that partner violence is primarily a male crime and that when women are violent it is self defense.
"In the 35 years since I began research on partner violence, I have seen my assumptions about prevalence and etiology contradicted by a mass of empirical evidence from my own research and from research by many others," Straus said. "My view on partner violence now recognizes the overwhelming evidence that women assault their partners at about the same rate as men. However, when women are violent, the injury rate is lower."
Straus will present his controversial research at the Trends in Intimate Violence Intervention conference in New York City May 22-25, 2006. This research is part of the International Dating Violence Study, a multinational study of violence against dating partners by university students. A consortium of researchers around the world collected data from 13,601 students at 68 universities in 32 nations.
In the paper, Straus calls for an end to the focus on men as the only perpetrators of dating violence, saying the refusal to recognize the multi-causal nature of the problem is hampering the effort to end domestic violence and ignoring half the perpetrators. As recently as December 2005, the National Institute of Justice refused to consider applications for funding that dealt with male victims.
"Changes in policy that acknowledge men are not the only perpetrators of partner violence are needed immediately," Straus said. "It is time to make the prevention and treatment effort one that is aimed at ending all family violence, including spanking children, not just violence against women."
Straus is the author or co-author of more than 200 publications, including "Beating the Devil Out Of Them: Corporal Punishment By American Parents and Its Effects on Children." More information on the International Dating Violence Study and papers reporting results are available at http://pubpages.unh.edu/~mas2/.
Men have a right to say NO to housework. NO means NO. What part of NO do feminists not understand?
Feel free to cut and paste this everywhere approrpiate.
"It's crazy that it happened in this day and age," said Craig Paiva, a 29-year-old New Bedford resident who lives two blocks from Robida's home. "You wonder how someone could hate a group of people so badly at the age of 18."
In his epic poem "Don Juan," Byron wrote: "Sweet is revenge - especially to women." But a new scientific study using magnetic resonance imaging of the brain suggests that men may be the more natural avengers.
In the study, published online Wednesday by Nature, subjects witnessed people whom they perceived as wrongdoers getting zapped by a mild electrical shock. When male subjects saw this, their MRI scans lit up in primitive brain areas associated with reward; the brain's empathy centers remained dull.
Women subjects watching the punishment, in contrast, showed no response in centers associated with pleasure. Even though they also said they did not like the wrongdoers, their empathy centers quietly glowed when the shocks were administered.
At some level the study proves for the first time in physical terms what many people assume they already know: That women are generally more empathetic than men and that men are more prone to schadenfreude - malicious joy when faced with another's misfortune.
Men "expressed more desire for revenge and seemed to feel satisfaction when unfair people were given what they perceived as deserved physical punishment," said Dr. Tania Singer, the lead researcher, of the Wellcome Department of Imaging Neuroscience at University College London.
But far from condemning the male impulse for retribution, Singer said it had an important social function. "This type of behavior has probably been crucial in the evolution of society," she said, "as the majority of people in a group are motivated to punish those who cheat on the rest."
The Nature study is part of a growing body of research that is attempting to reach a better understanding of behavior and emotions by observing simultaneous physiological changes in the brain, a feat now attainable through various types of brain imaging.
"Imaging is still in its early days, but we are transitioning from a descriptive to a more mechanistic type of study," said Dr. Klaas Stephan, a co-author of the Nature paper.
In the past year, researchers at the University of California at Los Angeles have used scanners to observe brain patterns during deception. A group at the University of Pennsylvania has studied brain scans of subjects experiencing pure disgust (as when seeing a dead bird) and indignation (disgust caused by moral revulsion, as when seeing starving children). The goal is to determine whether they are linked emotions or distinct ones created by different brain structures.
In the new Nature study, research subjects filled out traditional questionnaires about how they felt when watching revenge being exacted, as well as submitting to scans. "We observed the same things at the behavioral and imaging level, so we now have a biological representation of that behavior," Stephan said.
Singer's team, which had previously identified the brain's empathy center using MRI, was trying to see whether the degree of empathy correlated with how much a person liked or disliked the person being punished. The team had not set out to look into sex differences.
To cultivate personal likes and dislikes in their 32 volunteers, they asked them to play an elaborate money strategy game, where both members of a pair would profit if both behaved cooperatively. The ranks of volunteers were secretly infiltrated by actors instructed to play selfishly.
Subjects were given a sum of money and told they could either keep it or give it to their partner, who was in each case an actor. The partner could in turn keep the money, or send it back - in which case the sum returned would automatically triple.
If the partner cooperated and sent back the money, both team members would benefit greatly. If not, only the partner would benefit and the research subject would be left penniless.
Volunteers came quickly to "very much like" the partners who were cooperative, while disliking those who hoarded rewards, Stephan said.
Cultivating emotions through such role-playing is an accepted and effective part of many classic psychology experiments.
Having been conditioned to like or dislike their various gameplaying partners, the 32 subjects in the Nature study were placed in a scanner and asked to watch the different partners receive electrical shocks.
On scans, both men and women subjects seemed to feel the pain of partners they liked, a correlate of the empathy response.
But the real surprise came during scans when the subjects viewed the partners they detested being shocked. "When women saw the shock, they still had an empathetic response, even though it was reduced," Stephan said. "The men had none at all."
To further explore the male brain, the researchers used their scanners to look at pleasure centers that control reward processing. Those areas lit up in males when punishment deemed to be just was meted out.
The researchers cautioned that it was not clear whether men and women were born with divergent responses to revenge hardwired into their brains or whether these differences were created by social experiences.
Singer said larger studies were needed to learn whether differing responses would be seen in other situations involving revenge that did not involve physical pain.
Still, she added: "This investigation would seem to indicate there is a predominant role for men in maintaining justice and issuing punishment."
If all men who enjoy pornography "came out of the closet," there wouldn't be a man left over the age of ten.