Dr. Helen

CDC: Domestic violence & sexual orientation

Kay Hymowitz tweeted out an interesting chart from the CDC on the various percentages of domestic violence reported depending on one’s sexual orientation: the chart is here.

She found it at a site by James Thompson who said in response to this data:

On its own the table tells a particular story: bisexual women experience lots of violence, as do lesbians, then to a lesser extent bisexual men, male and female heterosexuals, and least so gay men. As a reality check, this measurement technique puts the lifetime prevalence of violence for heterosexual women at 35% which is very high, in my view. The publication gives the results under the different categories of violence, and severe violence is rare.

That is the snapshot of the victims, but the perpetrator profile is almost universally male, with the exception of lesbian couples.

Thompson notes that the lifetime prevalence for heterosexual women at 35% is “very high” in his view. When I looked at the data, I thought 29% of men reporting violence etc. was “very high” in my view. And these are just the men who reported anything. My guess is that women are much more likely to report domestic violence in any form whereas men are less likely to view interactions as domestic violence in general and less likely to report it if they do experience abuse. I wonder what the real percentages of men being abused are?

I looked at the actual CDC report and found the following:

Sex of Perpetrator of Violence among Male Victims: Among men who experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner, approximately 90.7% of gay men reported only male perpetrators, 78.5% of bisexual men identified only females as their perpetrators, and 99.5% of heterosexual men reported only female perpetrators
(data not shown).Statistical testing to compare sex of perpetrator across all sexual orientations was not conducted.

If most of the perpetrators are men, then why did 99.5% of heterosexual men report only female perpetrators? This report is odd and confusing.