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Research finds women more physically aggressive in relationships than men

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Women are in general more physically aggressive and more controlling in intimate relationships than men. Men are more likely to be physically aggressive in a relationship with a same-sex intimate partner. These are the results of a survey conducted by Dr. Elizabeth Bates from the University of Cumbria and colleagues from the University of Central Lancashire that was presented at the June 25, 2014, session of the British Psychological Society’s Division of Forensic Psychology annual conference in Glasgow.

The results are based on a survey of 706 women and 398 men that asked questions about intimate partner aggression, intimate partner violence, and controlling behaviors between intimate partners and with friends. People who practiced higher levels of controlling behavior were found to be more likely to engage in aggression and physical violence. Women were more likely to be violent toward an intimate partner than men. All of the survey participants were in college.

The analysis runs counter to the accepted concept that men are more physically aggressive to women on the basis of a need to control women as part of a patriarchal paradigm. The researchers suggest that the present ideas used to combat and control intimate partner violence are too simplistic. Associated studies indicated that men do not report physical violence from women at the rate that women report physical violence from men. The most recent data from the CDC indicates that 92.1 percent of male victims experienced physical violence.

One aspect of women’s tendency toward violence may be mothering. Mothering is a learned behavior. Mothering involves discipline. While most women are not abusive to their children, they do engage in some form of physical discipline of their children.

Many women expect to change their significant other when they begin a relationship. When manipulation does not produce the expected change in another person’s behavior, women can resort to physical discipline like they do with children. Since men are larger than women on average, the amount of physical force used against men would increase.

This is the first research that demonstrates an increasing level of physical abuse of men by women. The courts in the United States have begun to inch toward a level of parity in the treatment of women that are physically violent with other people. Further studies are planned to impose this new reality on the scientific and legal community in an effort to prevent intimate partner violence perpetrated by any sex.

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