In a recent discussion with Pansy Moss http://moss-place.blogspot.com/2003_09_01_moss-place_archive.html#106312141424572755, I said that I would try to post some research on divorce and domestic violence that specifically refutes certain commonly accepted “facts”. Due to lack of time my own comments will be brief. With respect to divorce, Dr. Steven Baskerville writes http://www.ejfi.org/family/family-3.htm in Catholic World Report:

“Arizona State University psychologist Sanford Braver has shown that at least two-thirds of American divorces are initiated by women. Moreover, few of these divorces involve grounds such as desertion, adultery, or violence. The reasons most often given are ‘growing apart’ or ‘not feeling loved or appreciated.’ Other studies have reached similar conclusions. The proportion of divorces initiated by women climbed to more than 70 percent when no-fault divorce was introduced, according to Margaret Brinig of the University of Iowa and Douglas Allen of Simon Fraser University. Mothers ‘are more likely to instigate separation, despite a deep attachment to their children and the evidence that many divorces harm children.'”

Linda Chavez cites data revealing that women seem to be less committed than men when it comes to marriage http://www.townhall.com/opinion/columns/lindachavez/2003/06/11/160712.html

“Nonetheless, significantly more women than men believe that one parent can raise a child successfully, according to the Child Trends report. Overall, 42 percent of women, but only 26 percent of men, said that ‘one parent can bring up a child as well as two parents together.’ … Women also appear less likely to stay married ‘for the sake of the children’ than men. While attitudes toward divorce have become increasingly tolerant since the 1960s — along with skyrocketing divorce rates over the same period — fewer women than men believe ‘when there are children in the family, parents should stay together even if they don’t get along,’ according to the study. Only 12 percent of women, compared with 20 percent of men, said they agreed with the statement, while nearly half of both men and women said that ‘Divorce is usually the best solution when a couple can’t seem to work out their marriage problems.'”

With respect to domestic violence, John Hamel, LCSW discloses that female-initiated violence is far more common than popularly believed http://www.familytx.org/research/john/gender.html

“Not wanting to engage in victim blaming, researchers were content to accept studies based on interviews with battered women (Saunders, 1984), which suggested that most female-initiated violence was in self-defense. Even Murray Straus, who carried out the NFVS, was initially willing to accept this view (Straus, 1980). It was only after conducting the second NFVS in 1985 that he began to question this assumption. Using data from the wives, he found that women strike the first blow 53 % of the time and men 42% (Gelles, 1996).

More alarming statistics can be found http://www.dvmen.org/dv-23.htm#frequency

“When the data from males were finally included in 1999, Maguire reports that:’The study shows roughly that 10.8% of men in the survey pushed, grabbed or threw objects at their spouses in the previous year, while 2.5% committed more severe acts, such as choking, kicking or using a weapon. By contrast, 12.4% of women committed acts of minor violence and 4.7% committed severe violence. The violence is seldom one-sided. Of those surveyed, 52% of women and 62% of men reported that both partners were violent. When questioned about who initiated the most severe conflicts, 67% of women believed they had started it; only 26% believed it was their male spouse.'”

With respect to child victims of domestic violence, researcher Nicholas Davidson http://www.fortfreedom.org/l31.htm

“In general, the grim facts of domestic violence do not support the contention that females are its especial victims, or males its especial perpetrators. Women commit two-thirds of child abuse. Boys are twice as likely to be abused as girls. A majority of the perpetrators of infanticide are female. Most child abuse is committed in households headed by a single female. Statistically speaking, a child’s best protection against abuse is the presence in the home of its biological father.”

Do follow the links. Some of the information is dated, and the picture is not one-sided by any means. But the research does seem to vindicate my own personal observations over the years: women in general are quicker than men to give up on marriage, and women are the more volatile sex when it comes to domestic conflict.