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The Viewer’s Guide cites Prof. Murray Straus in support of the following assertion:

“Three million to 10 million children witness abuse each year in their homes.”

Prof. Straus comments as follows:

“The statement in bold above is quoted from my 1992 article.   However, the research results in that that article do NOT demonstrate that men and fathers are the primary source danger to children, as is implied by quoting this statistic in the context of a document intended to prove that men and fathers are the perpetrators of physical child abuse.  On the contrary, the evidence in that article shows that mothers perpetrate violence against their male partners at about the same rate as do fathers.   The evidence in another article reporting more results for that same sample shows that the percent who hit the other parent in self-defense is about the same for father and mothers.   The evidence from many studies, including Federal statistics on child abuse, show that mothers physically abuse children at a slightly higher rate than fathers.”

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, the majority of child abuse, parental murder of children, child neglect, and child endangerment are committed by mothers, not fathers

Straus, Murray A., Gelles Richard J., and Smith, Christine.  1990. Physical Violence in American Families; Risk Factors and Adaptations to Violence in 8,145 Families.  New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers.

The Viewer’s Guide cites Prof. Murray Straus in support of the following assertion:

“In a national survey of more than 6,000 American families, 50 percent of the men who frequently assaulted their wives also frequently abused their children.”

Prof. Straus comments as follows:

This is another example of a statement taken out of context to imply that it is only or predominantly violent men who physically abuse children.  On the contrary, the research results presented in the cited book (and in a more sophisticated analysis of the same data in an article by Susan Ross (Ross 1996)), shows that the focus on just men in the quote is  contradicted by the evidence.  The evidence shows  that (1) Relatively few fathers “frequently assault” their partners – less than five percent.  (2)  The percent of mothers who frequently assault their partners is about the same.  (3) The link between violence against a partner and physically abusing a child applies to mothers as well as fathers.

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