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Letter to the Editor   |    
Dr. Robinson Replies
GAIL ERLICK ROBINSON, M.D., D.Psych., F.R.C.P.C.
Am J Psychiatry 2004;161:1509-a-1510. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.161.8.1509-a

To the Editor: It is predictable that Dr. Felson would be unhappy with my review of his book. In terms of Dr. Felson’s criticisms, I feel that the quotes from his book that I used in my review justify my claims. He also misunderstands my point. Violence against women is different from violence experienced by men. Violence against men is most often committed by other men (1), whereas North American women are more likely to be killed, beaten, or sexually assaulted by a male partner or former partner than by a stranger (1, 2). It is not that men hate women. Many partners and ex-partners who abuse women maintain that they love them. They physically abuse them because they can. When some men feel angry, frustrated, threatened, jealous, fearful, or demeaned by others, they can take out their feelings on their female partners. Why can they? It is because men more often have the greater physical strength, financial clout, and societal power to control their partners. Women, for a variety of psychological and practical reasons, hesitate to report such crimes, and, even if they do, courts are poor at protecting them.

As to the scientific merit of his book, one may look to Dr. Felson’s preface, in which he notes that he wrote his book because he has had a difficult time getting his articles published and his views accepted. He, of course, blames this on feminists objecting to his attack on political correctness. I wish that feminists were as powerful as he alleges. However, I believe that his difficulties, both with those articles and this book, have more to do with his selective use of statistics. The facts remain that 22.1% of women versus 7.4% of men in the United States have been physically abused by a partner (1). Of women reporting being raped or physically assaulted since age 16, 64% were victimized by a current or former husband, cohabiting partner, boyfriend, or date (1). This is in contrast to 16.2% of men victimized by current or former partners (1). Four out of five people murdered by their spouses are women murdered by men (3). Men cause more serious injuries, are more likely to engage in multiple acts, and more often use weapons (4). I stand by the comments I made in my review.

Tjaden P, Thoennes N: Extent, Nature and Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence: Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey: Research Report NC5 181867. Washington, DC, US Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice, 2000
 
Hotton T: Spousal Violence After Marital Separation: Statistics Canada Catalogue Number 85–002-XPE 21(7). Ottawa, Juristat Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, 2001
 
Statistics Canada: Homicide Statistics 1998. Ottawa, Ministry of Industry, 1999
 
Tjaden P, Thoennes N: Full Report of the Prevalence, Incidence, and Consequences of Violence Against Women. Washington, DC, National Institute of Justice and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2000
 
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References

Tjaden P, Thoennes N: Extent, Nature and Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence: Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey: Research Report NC5 181867. Washington, DC, US Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice, 2000
 
Hotton T: Spousal Violence After Marital Separation: Statistics Canada Catalogue Number 85–002-XPE 21(7). Ottawa, Juristat Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, 2001
 
Statistics Canada: Homicide Statistics 1998. Ottawa, Ministry of Industry, 1999
 
Tjaden P, Thoennes N: Full Report of the Prevalence, Incidence, and Consequences of Violence Against Women. Washington, DC, National Institute of Justice and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2000
 
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