By Kristin Anderson
Domestic violence happens to all social groups, but it is more likely to occur among those who have to worry about paying the rent or keeping kids safe from neighborhood violence. Data from the 2010 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS), the most recent large national survey of domestic violence victimization among U.S. adults, show that women who live in households with incomes under $25,000 experience annual victimization at over three times the rate of women in households with incomes of $75,000 or more (here). Study after study finds that heterosexual women with less access to education and income suffer the highest rates of abuse.
Does this pattern also occur among men? Are the least educated and poorest men at greatest risk for victimization? My research with Mick Cunningham shows that the story is more complicated among straight men. Our analysis of NISVS data finds that both women and men report the highest rate of physical abuse by a partner when they have less than a high school education (11 years, see Figure 1 below). For women, the risk of abuse falls as their level of education increases. Among men, the decline is much less steep. Additionally, the gender gap widens as educational attainment increases: men with college degrees report almost twice the rate of victimization as women with college degrees. We find the same pattern when we look at earnings: women are less likely to be victims as they earn more income, but men with higher incomes report being abused at similar or even higher levels than men who earn less. Continue reading “Angry White Men and Domestic Violence”