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Female Batterers, Male Victims The Hidden Side of Domestic Violence

4 CE Credit Hours - Online Course - $39.00

Co-Developed by Sage de Beixedon Breslin, Ph.D., and Ofer Zur, Ph.D.

Course includes the work of Dr. Murray Straus and Dr. Donald Dutton

See our online course Domestic Violence - Intimate Partner Violence for 15 CE credit hours that explores the impacts, assessment and intervention of Domestic Violence.

Course materials: text/webpage Articles    audio Audios

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General Course Description

This unique course explores the rarely-discussed issue of domestic violence perpetrated by women. The majority of research during the last forty years has focused on how and why men abuse women in relationships. Only in recent years have clinicians begun to examine the other side of domestic violence - in which men are victimized by their female relationship partners.

In exploring this topic it is imperative that we not minimize or deny the extensive oppression of and violence towards women. However, research has begun to identify a growing trend of victimization by women in their relationships that is nearly equal that perpetrated by men in years past. Whether violence is initiated by women, men or as often happen, by both, batterers must be held accountable for their intentional abuse of their partners.

When the first indications arose that women were also battering in relationships, there was an outcry from both clinicians and the general public. There was concern that those identifying the trends were blaming female victims for fighting back or defending themselves. While violence by male perpetrators was seen as genetically and culturally programmed, many could not see female perpetrators as anything but victims. Perhaps to recognize that women could batter their male partners for any other reason was to diminish our sense of women as nurturers, comforters and safe havens.

While approximately 835,000 men are battered each year, men are less likely to report domestic violence by their female partners for several reasons: shame, machismo, fear of humiliation by police and male peers, and even fear of retaliation by their perpetrators. While some women do commit violence to defend themselves against their male partners, they are also capable of significant violence by their own initiative; research suggests that 80% of women who murder their husbands have histories of violence and often have extensive criminal records. In addition, the majority of infanticide also takes place in the hands of women.

This course will review the current research on female batterers. The course is comprised of four (4) articles, an audiotaped interview, and a list of resources concerning men who are in violent relationships. The first article identifies the existence of domestic violence by women and provides reasons that women give for their behavior. Articles two through four review the evidence for the incidence, style and impact of female violence against male partners. Impacts on Social Policy, Treatment Models and Law are also noted. These articles are followed by a brief interview with Meredith Watkins, MFT outlining diagnostic changes in the DSM-5 and the impact on course content. The final document provides resources for men who are in violent relationships.

Educational Objectives

This course will teach the participant to:

1.    Review the current research on female batterers.

2.    Identify the common characteristics of female batterers.

3.    Specify the dynamics in female perpetrator/male victim relationships.

4.    Explore the interventions that are available to couples in which intimate partner violence is present.

5.    Summarize resources that are available to male victims of domestic violence.

Course Syllabus

Who: Female Batterers -- They do exist

What: Intimate Partner Violence (IPV)

Why: Logic according to Female Batterers

How: Statistics & demographics for IPV

What Now?

  • Changes in the DSM-5 which may affect the way we identify and define IPV
  • Changes in Social Policy that might actually promote reduction of IPV
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