Control and Intimate Partner Violence: The Gender Symmetry Debate

Jana L. Jasinski, University of Central Florida

One of the biggest debates in the field of intimate partner violence is the issue of gender symmetry, in particular,. the extent and nature of violence by women. Much of the research indicating high levels of violence by women has used the Conflict Tactics Scales a research instrument criticized by many feminist researchers for its lack of context and simplicity. In contrast, data from emergency rooms, victimization surveys, shelter interviews, and police arrests suggests that women are the victims in 90-95% of cases. Johnson (1995) has argued that the discrepancy is a result of different types of violence (patriarchal terrorism vs. common couple violence) and different samples used (shelter samples vs. national surveys). The current study uses data from the National Violence Against Women Survey to examine reports of intimate partner victimization in an effort to further explore the relationship between gender, power, control and intimate partner violence in a national sample.

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Updated 05/20/2006