In your April 17 article you quoted Jacque Reid, a navigator at the Family Justice Center in Santa Rosa, who claimed that “domestic violence is the number one cause of injury for women in the United States and it crosses all cultural and economic lines.” But according to University of Pennsylvania domestic violence researcher Richard Gelles, “as good a sound bite as it is, the statement is simply not true.”
Sure enough, according to Department of Health and Human Services, the leading cause of injury for women in the United States is falls, followed by motor vehicle accident and overexertion. In fact, domestic violence doesn’t even appear on the list of leading causes of injury for women.
The actual research behind this factoid is based on a survey of one emergency room. The facts, as reported in a U.S. Department of Justice study, are that all violence is responsible for about 3 percent of women's injury-related visits to emergency rooms with domestic violence accounting for about 1 percent of such. By comparison, Centers for Disease and Control numbers show that more than twice as many women visit emergency rooms due to being injured by an animal than by a male partner.
But what if you broke the numbers down by race, as Attorney General of the U.S. Eric Holder did in 2010? "The facts are clear," said Holder. "Intimate partner homicide is the leading cause of death for African-American women ages 15 to 45."
Yet, according to the CDC and the Justice Department's own Bureau of Justice Statistics, the leading causes of death for African-American women between the ages 15–45 are cancer, heart disease, unintentional injuries such as car accidents, and HIV disease. Homicide comes in fifth — and includes murders by strangers. In 2006 (the latest year for which full statistics are available), several hundred African-American women died from intimate partner homicide — each one a tragedy, but far fewer than the approximately 6,800 African-American women who died of the other leading causes.
Unfortunately, misinformation spread by battered women advocates, government officials and unquestioning journalists leads to hysteria, not to mention misandry.
Joe Manthey is a Petaluma resident and male advocate.
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