Why Does Gender Bias Exist When Talking About Domestic Abuse? (2023)

Gender bias in the pronouns we choose to describe abusers will be a gender issue, a violence against women issue, until moreabused men speak up and report their abuser. Currently, the data shows that women’s reports of abuse outweigh men’s reports of abuse at a ratio of17:3. Abused men are important too. But when people write for abuse victims, I believe you can see why the assumed audience is female. This is changing as the data changes. New data includes:

“1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men aged 18 and older in the United States have been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.”1

“Nearly half of all women and men in the United States have experienced psychological aggression by an intimate partner in their lifetime (48.4% and 48.8%, respectively).” National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey Summary, 20102

WhenGender Bias Does Not Exist inDomestic Violence

If you want to changethe gender bias in domestic abuse conversations, report your abuse to the authorities. No, it won’tbe easy. Yes, you will probably run into someone who makes fun of you or looks at you cross-eyed. And no, verbal and emotional abuse is not punishable by law (see 1st Amendment). Those are problems we all face when reporting abuse. No gender bias there! But remember, by reporting your partnerto the authorities, you will make it easier for our sons whenthey get tricked into entering a relationship withan abusive woman.

Another problem that is not due to gender bias is authority figures ignoring or laughing about domestic violence. Did you know that abusersseek out service-oriented jobs? Being in anauthority position, such as a police officer, social worker, clergy orother service-oriented occupation gives an abusive person an automatic adoring audience. Welook to them as people we can trust when we’re at our most vulnerable. And in some domestic violence complaints, we shouldn’t trust the police at all (The Professions of the Narcissist is interesting, but only some abusers experience mental illness). The chance that a man who reports abuse will run into a jerk is the same as the chance a woman has. It’s not easier for women to report. It’s hard for all of us.

We Shouldn’t Have to TalkAbout Gender BiasorHow I UsePronouns

Personally, but without research to back up my opinion, I believe women abuse their partners at the same rate as men abuse theirs.I think it’s 50/50, for most types of abuse. However, I cannot ignore the fact that men murder many more women as a result of domestic violence than women murder men.

“1,509: The number of women murdered by men they knew in 2011. Of the 1,509 women, 926 were killed by an intimate partner and 264 of those were killed by an intimate partner during an argument.” 3

(Video) Gender Bias Creates A Culture Of Disbelief For Female Patients | Colene Arnold | TEDxPortsmouth

Chances that a man’s abusive female partner will murder him are slim. However, statistics on violence toward gay or bisexual men show that abused men in the LGBTQ community are in significant danger of physical violence.

2 in 5: The number of gay or bisexual men who will experience intimate partner violence in their lifetimes.” 4

And back to women abuse victims for a moment:

“From 1994 to 2010, about 4 in 5 victims of intimate partner violence were female.”5

So, the fact is that most literature on domestic violence will continue to use pronouns that show men as abusers and women as abused. Despite the statistics on homosexual and bisexual abused men, the research shows women are abused more often. Is acknowledging that face in pronoun use really gender biased? Or is it gender reflective?

Domestic Abuse and the Use of Gender Biased Pronouns

If you’re on this page, you might havecommented somewhere on this website about pronoun usage and gender bias. I feel for you, I really do. It is uncomfortable for me as a woman to accept that the official generic pronouns in use are he and his. That the wordmankind includes me. I look around me and respected, powerful women are rather difficult to find (but not nearly as hard to find as we were two generations ago).I doubt I’ll ever see she or her substituted for male pronounsunless the author is speaking of abuse. In my opinion, that’s pretty sad.

And as a writer, I often run into the gender bias pronoun problem: how to include everyone while offending no one. Frankly, it’s difficult to do. I have disclaimers on my work saying that my pronoun choice is not meant to diminishthe fact that women abuse men too. It doesn’t help. I still get complaints, some from women. But women who are abused or left an abusive relationshiptypically support my articles that usehe as a victim of abuse. Once you are an abuse victim, you see how damaging it is to your soul. Weknow that what killsthe goose can also killthe gander. And I don’t want anyone to suffer in an abusive relationship, male or female.

(Video) Gender inequality starts in the home | Matshepo Msibi | TEDxLytteltonWomen

Remedy forStigma and Gender Bias in Conversations About Domestic Abuse

Simply put, society must hear from abused men more often. Moremenmust talk about theviolence and abuse and do so more often, more openly. And unfortunately, men must be patientlyadamant as society turns. History shows thatsociety turns faster the second time around, so I forecast a quicker acceptance of men asabuse victims than it was to overturn the belief that women should know their place, accept their punishment and shut up. However, society isnot quite done turning for abused women, either.

The stigma attached to us women is that it’s our fault we stayed, we deserve what we get for being dumb enough to take it. And despite the shelters and programs available to women, using them is a different story. If the 10
beds are full, the 11th abused woman must hit the street to find somewhere else to stay. But would she really be at a shelter if she had a friend or family member to take her in? Most return home, to the abuse, thinking they’ll try another day.

Gender Bias andDomestic Violence Stigma

Additionally, it was easier to convince a patriarchal society that women need protection than it is to convince it that men need protection. It’s a stigma. A bias. It discriminates based on gender. It isn’t fair. I’m sorry. You had no part increating the idea that emotional weakness makes one an abuse victim. Nor did you come up with the idea that women are too weak to abuse men. But that’s what we’ve got – for now.

Society will take abuse of men seriously when the stigmas related to abuse of any typeisgone. To make that happen, more abused men shouldstand up and be counted among the battered and emotionally bloodied. And men who do not abuse anyone must stand up beside their battered and emotionally abused friends. Whoever thought it was a great idea to make fun or expect their friends to “be a man about it” whenit is oftenlife-threatening?

If you look around, you can find women who believe you whole-heartedly. Who want to help you. Who will be there for you during your fight. There’s a shit-load of us out here who don’t want to see any soul experience abuse, stigma, discrimination or ridicule. I’m one of them.

But I won’t go back to my old pages and change the pronouns I used. I do watch my pronoun usage closely now that I’m not keeping a journal about my abuse. I try not to alienate anyone.Google analyticstells me that 90% of my audience is female. Even so, I am not blind to this one last statisticfrom the National Domestic Violence Hotline:

“…One in seven men age 18+ in the U.S. has been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in his lifetime. One in 10 men has experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner. In 2013, 13% of documented contacts to the Hotline identified themselves as male victims.” 6

(Video) Is domestic violence really caused by 'gender inequality'?

Those numbers are too high. No one should experience abuse. Not men, not women, not children. Instead of fighting amongst ourselves about which gender society treats most unfairly, let’s band together and be a strong force. Divided as we are, no unabused people can take our complaints 100% seriously.

I imagine the unabused saying, “The allegedly abused…look at them! There must be something wrong with the victims because they can’t even get along with each other! They’re all a bunch of man-haters, of women-haters.” That scenario is my imagination. No proof or factual quote for it. But come on. I think we have more to worry about than gender-biased pronouns.

Websites Lacking Gender Bias for Abused Men Exist

And in case you simply cannot tolerate my pronoun choices, there are several websites available. Good ones that don’t promote hatred of all women, the conspiracy of feminists to keep abused men hidden or warped statisticsmeant to incite men over the unfairness of it all. In other words, legitimate, healthy, trustworthy websites for men.

Here’s a list of sites I recommend:

Remember, the NDVH is there for men, too. Their website states:

“…Our advocates…can also help brainstorm alternative options if local programs are not meeting the requirements for male victims, including who a caller may be able to contact if they believe they have experienced discrimination.”

And finally, when you get to a place of peace after leaving your abusive relationship, I desperately need male mentors. You can apply here to be a mentorwhen you’re ready.

(Video) Reality of a Woman in India [ Hindi ] || Nitish Rajput

See Also:

  • Are Abusers Typically Men? Let’s Stop Assuming They Are
  • Women Hit More Than Men But Men Do More Damage


1 The CDC’s ‘Intimate Partner Violence’

2 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey Summary 2010

3,4The Huffington Post Online’s ’30 Shocking Domestic Violence Statistics That Remind Us It’s An Epidemic’

5 Bureau of Justice Statistics’ National Crime Victimization Survey

6 National Domestic Violence Hotline’s‘Men Can Be Victims of Abuse, Too’

Featured photo by Mubariz Mehdizadeh


What are the reasons for gender bias? ›

Here are 10 causes of gender inequality:
  • #1. Uneven access to education. ...
  • #2. Lack of employment equality. ...
  • #3. Job segregation. ...
  • #4. Lack of legal protections. ...
  • #5. Lack of bodily autonomy. ...
  • #6. Poor medical care. ...
  • #7. Lack of religious freedom. ...
  • #8. Lack of political representation.

What are the causes of gender gender-based violence? ›

What causes gender-based violence in crisis settings?
  • Poverty. Research from What Works found that when families are pushed into poverty, harmful practices like child marriages increase. ...
  • Breakdown of services. ...
  • Conflict and war. ...
  • Displaced women and refugees.
Nov 22, 2022

What is an example of gender bias? ›

A simple example of this bias is when a person refers to an individual by their occupation, such as “doctor” or “engineer,” and it is assumed that individual is male. Males, however, are not immune from gender bias. For example, teachers, especially those who teach younger-aged children, are often assumed to be women.

What do you mean by gender bias? ›

Gender bias refers to a person receiving different treatment based on the person's real or perceived gender identity.

Why is gender bias an issue in psychology? ›

The term bias is used to suggest that a person's views are distorted in some way, and in psychology there is evidence that gender is presented in a biased way. This bias leads to differential treatment of males and females, based on stereotypes and not real differences.

What are the elements of gender bias? ›

According to the US National Judicial Education Program, the most prominent forms of gender bias are "(i) Stereotyped thinking about the nature and roles of women and men; (ii) Devaluing what is perceived as 'woman's work'; (iii) Lack of knowledge of the social and economic realities of women's and men's lives" ( ...

What are two main risk factors for gender-based violence? ›

Risk Factors for Intimate Partner Violence Perpetration
  • Low self-esteem.
  • Low education or income.
  • Young age.
  • Aggressive or delinquent behavior as a youth.
  • Heavy alcohol and drug use.
  • Depression and suicide attempts.
  • Anger and hostility.
  • Lack of nonviolent social problem-solving skills.

What are 3 things about gender-based violence? ›

Gender-based violence can happen in both the private and public spheres and it affects women disproportionately. Gender-based violence can be sexual, physical, verbal, psychological (emotional), or socio-economic and it can take many forms, from verbal violence and hate speech on the Internet, to rape or murder.

What are the examples of gender-based violence? ›

Types of gender-based violence
  • psychological violence (Art. ...
  • stalking (Art. ...
  • physical violence (Art. ...
  • forced marriages (Art. ...
  • sexual violence, including rape (Art. ...
  • female genital mutilation (Art. ...
  • forced abortion and forced sterilisation (Art. ...
  • sexual harassment (Art.

Does gender bias still exist today? ›

Overall, in the United States women are discriminated against and paid less than men by $324 million. Bringing to light the injustices which prevent gender equality is necessary for our society today.

How to avoid gender bias? ›

7 Ways of overcoming gender bias
  1. Learn to recognise gender bias. ...
  2. Check your own interactions for bias. ...
  3. Audit your media choices. ...
  4. Look around your workplace. ...
  5. Understand and use your privilege to influence. ...
  6. Representing female role models. ...
  7. Share learning and speak up.
Mar 8, 2022

What does gender bias mean in psychology? ›

A gender bias is the differential treatment and/or representation of males and females, based on stereotypes and not on real differences.

Why is it important to challenge gender bias? ›

Helping children of all ages and all genders find inspiration and courage from women role models is key to education. Teaching children and young adolescents to actively question and openly challenge stereotypes and bias is important because it helps forge a more inclusive world.

What is an example of gender bias in research? ›

For example, research funding for coronary artery disease in men is far greater than for women, yet the at risk population of women, which is an older age group, suffers more morbidity and mortality. The lack of funding for women's disease in effect maintains women's lower economic status.

How does gender bias work? ›

Gender Bias Definition

Gender bias is the tendency to give preferential treatment to one gender over another. It is a form of unconscious bias, which occurs when someone unconsciously attributes certain attitudes and stereotypes to a group of people.

How to reduce gender bias in psychology? ›

In addition to self-awareness, demonstrating empathy (understanding and sharing the feelings of someone else) and taking a culturally relativist perspective is another way to reduce gender bias.

What are some examples of gender bias at home? ›

Boys are more likely than girls to have maintenance chores like mowing the lawn or painting, while girls are given domestic chores like cooking and cleaning. This segregation of household labour tells children that they are expected to take on different roles based on their gender.

What are the statistics for domestic violence by gender? ›

1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner. This includes a range of behaviors (e.g. slapping, shoving, pushing) and in some cases might not be considered "domestic violence." 1 in 7 women and 1 in 25 men have been injured by an intimate partner.

Who is affected by gender-based violence? ›

Both women and men experience gender-based violence but the majority of victims are women and girls. Gender-based violence and violence against women are terms that are often used interchangeably as it has been widely acknowledged that most gender-based violence is inflicted on women and girls, by men.

Who is most at risk of gender-based violence? ›

Certain groups are more vulnerable to violence, including girls and young women from poor, rural or indigenous communities, those who are or are perceived to be LGBTQIA+, those living with disabilities, and girls and women who speak out about political, social and cultural issues and gender inequality.

What are five effects of gender based violence? ›

Women and girls may experience severe physical injuries, unwanted pregnancies and exposure to HIV or other sexually transmitted infections. Depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the limited ability to complete daily tasks, and suicidal thoughts are also common.

What are the main characteristics of gender based violence? ›

Gender-based violence may include physical, sexual, emotional, psychological and financial abuse, or threats of abuse. People of all genders, sexual orientations and gender-identities may experience gender-based violence, but women and girls are impacted the most.

What is the difference between gender-based violence and domestic violence? ›

“Domestic violence includes any form of violence and abuse that happens within a family unit, whereas gender-based violence involves men and women, in which the female is usually the target, and is derived from unequal power relationships between men and women,” she said.

What is the most common form of gender violence? ›

Domestic violence is the most common type of GBV, impacting one in four women. But violence takes many forms, including: Femicide, the killing of a woman because of her gender. Domestic violence, including familiar and intimate partner violence.

When did gender-based violence start? ›

General Recommendation No. 19 from 1992 was historic as it clearly framed violence against women as a form and manifestation of gender-based discrimination, used to subordinate and oppress women. It also declared Gender based violence as a violation of human rights.

Is gender bias natural? ›

Naturally, gender bias is one type of demographic bias among many others (e.g. social, race, origins) and an important question is how to extend the findings of all the gender bias studies to these other dimensions.

How do you use gender bias in a sentence? ›

unfair difference in the way women and men are treated: She said that she has not experienced gender bias in the medical profession.

What are the causes of gender-based violence in the workplace? ›

Threats and acts of physical and sexual violence. Abusive working conditions such as poor health and safety (including building and equipment safety). Inadequate or inappropriate sanitary facilities and rules about their use. Involuntary excessive long working hours and unpredictable or late demands to work overtime.

What gender has the highest domestic violence rate? ›

More women (23%) than men (19.3%) have been assaulted at least once in their lifetime. Rates of female-perpetrated violence are higher than male-perpetrated (28.3% vs. 21.6%).

What are the domestic violence rates between genders? ›

  • 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner. ...
  • 1 in 7 women and 1 in 25 men have been injured by an intimate partner. ...
  • 1 in 10 women have been raped by an intimate partner.

What gender is more likely to be a victim of violence? ›

Victims of violence mostly young

In the age categories 15 to 24 years and 25 to 34 years, more men are subjected to violence than women.

What are the drivers of gender-based violence? ›

Apartheid's legacy of violence and inequities, a government that does not invest enough in combating GBV, women's poorer socioeconomic status, and ongoing patriarchy have all been identified as key drivers of GBV. Women who report acts of violence are frequently sent home because the issue is 'domestic.

What are the solutions to gender-based violence? ›

  • Educate, educate, educate. ...
  • Understand the specific root causes of GBV in each country and community. ...
  • Believe and support survivors. ...
  • Pay special attention to high-risk groups. ...
  • Find non-harmful alternatives to harmful traditions. ...
  • Challenge other gender norms. ...
  • Engage men as allies and partners. ...
  • Focus on community change.
Sep 15, 2022

How can gender-based violence be prevented? ›

Tips for Youth to Prevent Gender-Based Violence and Inequality
  1. Educate yourself on the root causes of violence. ...
  2. Interrupt sexist and discriminatory language. ...
  3. Be critical and question. ...
  4. Interrupt abuse. ...
  5. Stop sexual harassment. ...
  6. Develop an action plan. ...
  7. Stop victim blaming. ...
  8. Stop rape culture.


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