Title

Effects of Victim Sex on Perceptions of Intimate Partner Violence Severity in Heterosexual Relationships

Presenter Information

Alanna Shores

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Location

SURC 137A

Start Date

17-5-2012

End Date

17-5-2012

Abstract

In the present study, the perception of the severity of intimate partner violence (IPV) in heterosexual relationships based on the sex of the perpetrator was investigated. Traditionally, IPV has been framed as an issue in which men are almost always the perpetrators and women are almost always the victims. It is often assumed that, more often than not, IPV occurs when a violent husband physically abuses his wife. National surveys estimate that between 20% and 25% of women and 5% to 7% of men in the United States have been victimized by IPV, implying substantially higher rates among women than men (U.S. Department of Justice, 2000). However, researchers have found inconsistencies in data collection, suggesting that past research on the issue has been gender-biased toward female victims (Hamel, 2009). In the present study, participants were presented with three hypothetical situations in which a crime occurred, one of which involved IPV perpetrated by either a man or a woman. Participants rated crime severity in comparison with a base crime. The base crime was the act of stealing a bicycle and was given a value of “10.” If, for instance, a participant viewed the target crime as 5 times worse than the base crime, they would have assigned the target crime a value of 50. It was found that people perceive male-perpetrated IPV as about twice as severe as female-perpetrated IPV. Implications for this finding are discussed.

Faculty Mentor(s)

Marte Fallshore

Additional Mentoring Department

Psychology

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Effects of Victim Sex on Perceptions of Intimate Partner Violence Severity in Heterosexual Relationships

SURC 137A

In the present study, the perception of the severity of intimate partner violence (IPV) in heterosexual relationships based on the sex of the perpetrator was investigated. Traditionally, IPV has been framed as an issue in which men are almost always the perpetrators and women are almost always the victims. It is often assumed that, more often than not, IPV occurs when a violent husband physically abuses his wife. National surveys estimate that between 20% and 25% of women and 5% to 7% of men in the United States have been victimized by IPV, implying substantially higher rates among women than men (U.S. Department of Justice, 2000). However, researchers have found inconsistencies in data collection, suggesting that past research on the issue has been gender-biased toward female victims (Hamel, 2009). In the present study, participants were presented with three hypothetical situations in which a crime occurred, one of which involved IPV perpetrated by either a man or a woman. Participants rated crime severity in comparison with a base crime. The base crime was the act of stealing a bicycle and was given a value of “10.” If, for instance, a participant viewed the target crime as 5 times worse than the base crime, they would have assigned the target crime a value of 50. It was found that people perceive male-perpetrated IPV as about twice as severe as female-perpetrated IPV. Implications for this finding are discussed.