We thought it was bad when we saw the CDC's latest sexual assault statistics, but it just keeps getting worse: In a new study, a staggering amount of men report having been physically violent towards an intimate partner.
The study, published in a recent issue of the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, aimed to find characteristics commonly seen in U.S. men who commit intimate partner violence (a.k.a. domestic violence). To do so, the researchers analyzed basic demographics and mental and physical illness data from a nationally representative 2001-2003 survey. The data also included self-reported instances of physical partner violence — including unwanted grabbing, shoving, hitting, slapping, and threatening with a knife or gun, among other things.
The results showed that 19.2% of the 530 male participants reported committing one or more of these actions at some point during their current relationship. They also revealed a few interesting traits that are often associated with men who report partner violence — irritable bowel syndrome and insomnia, for example. Because these health conditions come up in routine medical visits, the study's authors propose screening men for partner aggression during these visits as well. The IBS correlation may be surprising, but this one is not: The authors also found that men who struggled with substance abuse and/or experienced childhood family violence were more likely to inflict (and report) partner violence themselves.
Because the data here is from a decade-old survey, it's obviously not as up-to-date as other stats we have about forms of violence in relationships. And, this study only looked specifically at physical violence, so it doesn't include verbal, emotional, or other abuse. Also, it only takes participants' current relationships into account, rather than examining violence rates in their previous relationships as well. But, one plus for this study is that it didn't specify anyone's sexual orientation, so these data are presumably not limited to heterosexual relationships — as too many studies often are.