In the comments of Chuck’s livejournal entry about the Male Privilege Checklist, Miss Fahrenheit wrote that “#42 just makes me angry because I know it’s wrong, but Google isn’t throwing up any helpful statistics I can scream about.”
Here’s what #42 says: “If I am heterosexual, it’s incredibly unlikely that I’ll ever be beaten up by a spouse or lover.”
I based #42 on the Centers for Disease Control’s report on intimate violence, which is (as far as I know) the largest and best-conducted study of intimate violence done in the US to date. According to this study, women are 14 times as likely to have been beaten up by an intimate partner at some point in their lives than men (8.5% versus 0.6%).
The study asked about many kinds of violence, ranging from being shoved to being attacked with a gun. In all categories, women were more likely to have been attacked by an intimate partner than men, and the discrepancies got larger as the violence became more serious. I focused on “beat up” because, unlike items like “threw something” or “pushed” (is a push a bone-jarring crash into a wall, or a painless, flirting push on the shoulder? What if someone pushed only in self-defense, or to escape?), “beat up” has little ambiguity, and implicitly contains a negative outcome.
They also found that men who had cohabited with a male partner were three times as likely to report having been assaulted by a partner as men who had only lived with opposite-sex partners.
Other studies have suggested that men and women are equal victims of intimate violence, but none of those studies are as large or well-conducted as the CDC’s study. Please see this past post for a much more in-depth discussion of “husband-battering” and intimate violence statistics.
(This is one of a number of posts responding to Chuck’s critique. You can use the category archive on “Alas” to see all posts related to the Male Privilege Checklist.)