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Some say “It takes two to tango” and believe that abuse in relationships is caused by both people but the reality is mutual abuse is not common.  A 'fight' involving violence where both people share equal power in the relationship is rare.  A pattern of violence that includes control and domination by one of the partners is more common.   Whilst the use of violence is never condoned it is helpful to understand that the violence used by women against their male partners can take several forms:

Self defence

Is when a woman uses as much force as is reasonably necessary to defend herself against an assault in an effort to protect herself from further violence. 

Resistance to oppression 

Describes a situation when a woman hits back after experiencing a long history of violence and abuse from her partner in the relationship.  Although she may use violence in this incidence she is not the most powerful or most dangerous person in the relationship.  She may continue to fear for her safety.

Violence used to control

There is a small percentage of relationships where women use violence as a pattern of abuse using power and control against their partners.  However, statistics compiled from Police reports, Hospital Accident and Emergency Departments, Court data, Domestic Violence Counselling Services and surveys suggest these types of relationships are a minority.  Research indicates that men experience the impact of domestic violence very differently than women. These studies show that men report they were not living in their homes in an on-going state of fear of the perpetrator. Men generally did not have prior experiences of violent relationships and men rarely experience post-separation violence (Scottish Crime Survey 2000).  Because this type of violence is not common it can be difficult for men to reach out to seek help.

The Domestic Violence Prevention Centre provides safety information and referrals for men who are victims of domestic and family violence and have been abused by their partner, son, brother, other family member or same sex partner.

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