Monday, May 02, 2005

Domestic violence

I never blog about this, because I (thankfully) know nothing about it. But there was an interesting post in the Skeptics' Circle about bad data analysis in claims that wives murder husbands as often as hubbies kill wives. I've already had an offer from a big blogger to rebut that piece in the next Skeptics' Circle.

Which is why I found the discussion of domestic violence stats and laws at Left2Right very interesting. They jump into this from a discussion about South Carolina's decision to make cockfighting a felony while domestic violence remains a misdemeanor.
It seems simply not a controversial claim to say that women in the United States remain disproportionately vulnerable to violence at the hands of those closest to them. To be sure, women are much less likely than men to be victims of homicide in the first place (men were more than three-quarters of homicide victims in the US between 1976 and 2002).

But, according to data from recent years, when women are victims of homicide, they are killed by a partner about a third of the time. When men die in homicides, they are killed by partners between 3 and four percent of the time. Again, I base these claims on DOJ data. Note too that I focus here only on homicides, but similar gender patterns obtain in non-lethal assaults. Also according to the Department of Justice, “during 1998 women were the victims of intimate partner violence about five times more often than males.” No wonder the President is concerned.

Intimate violence can’t be dismissed as a feminist exaggeration.
I'm amazed that this is controversial. L2R asks this question, and dismisses it far to quickly:

I wonder if the only reason for thinking the state shouldn’t be involved in this area is that feminists insisted that maybe it should be. The thinking can’t possibly be as simple as, anything that a feminist advocated, I must oppose – can it?
I'd be surprised if that weren't a large part of it. More on foolish oppositionalism another day.