Toward a Gender-Inclusive Conception of Intimate Partner Violence Research and Theory: Part 2 – New Directions

JOHN HAMEL

Abstract


In an article previously published in this journal (Hamel, 2007) the author contradicted
the patriarchal paradigm which has guided domestic violence research,
intervention and policy for the past three decades. The current article critically
examines the two major alternative models, beginning with the post-patriarchal/
asymmetry paradigm, which acknowledges that most intimate partner abuse
consists of “situational” or “common couple” violence, which is conflict-driven,
has relatively minor consequences, and is initiated by women as well as men.
However, this model incorrectly assumes that men perpetrate the overwhelming
majority of severe abuse, known as “battering” or “intimate terrorism.” The article
concludes with a discussion of the gender-inclusive model, which holds that
intervention and policy should draw upon all of the available data. According to
the latest research, most domestic violence is mutual, men and women emotionally
abuse and control one another at approximately equal rates, intimate terrorists
are equally likely to be male or female, men suffer one-third of physical
injuries, and males and females are equally affected by emotional abuse. In short,
domestic violence is a human and relational problem, not a gender problem. Implications
of these findings are discussed with respect to prevention, intervention
and policy.

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