By Caryl Rivers and Rosalind C. Barnett
WeNews guest authors
Sunday, December 4, 2011
It's not just boys and men who are aggressive, say Caryl Rivers and Rosalind C. Barnett in "The Truth About Girls and Boys." But in this excerpt from their new book, they note that women are far more often seriously hurt or killed.
For example, of the 495 couples in a 1985 National Family Violence Survey for whom one or more assaults were reported by a female respondent, the man was the only violent partner in 25. 9 percent of the cases, the woman was the only one to be violent in 25. 5 percent of the cases and both were violent in 48.6 percent of the cases. Of 446 women who reported that they were involved in violent relationships, their partners struck the first blow in 42 percent of the cases. The women hit first in 53 percent of the cases, and they could not remember who hit first in the remaining cases.
The great difference here is that women are far more often seriously hurt or killed than men. A woman may start a fight with a slap, which is mildly painful to the man, but he retaliates by punching her and throwing her against the wall, breaking her jaw.
But it is important to recognize that although men are predominantly the murderers, rapists and batterers in human society, relatively few men ever perpetrate these acts. If you discount the extremely violent behavior of those few, the behavior of most men resembles that of most women.
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Excerpted from "The Truth About Girls and Boys" by Caryl Rivers and Rosalind C. Barnett. Copyright copyright 2011 Caryl Rivers and Rosalind C. Barnett. Used by arrangement with Columbia University Press.
Caryl Rivers and Rosalind C. Barnett are also authors of "Same Difference: How Gender Myths Are Hurting Our Relationships, Our Children and Our Jobs" (Basic Books 2004). Barnett is senior scientist at the Women's Studies Research Center at Brandeis University and Rivers is a professor of journalism at Boston University.
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