Intimate terrorism by women towards men: Does it exist?

Denise A. Hines, Emily M. Douglas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

106 Scopus citations


Research showing that women commit high rates of intimate partner violence (IPV) against men has been controversial because IPV is typically framed as caused by the patriarchal construction of society and men's domination over women. Johnson's (1995) typology of common couple violence (CCV) and intimate terrorism (IT) attempted to resolve this controversy, but he maintained that IT was caused by patriarchy and committed almost exclusively by men. This study investigates Johnson's theory as it applies to a sample of 302 men who sustained IPV from their female partners and sought help, and a comparison sample of community men. Results showed that the male helpseekers sample was comprised of victims of IT and that violence by the male victims was part of a pattern of what Johnson labels violent resistance. Men in the community sample who were involved in IPV conformed to Johnson's description of CCV. Results are discussed in terms of research, policy, and practice implications of acknowledging women's use of severe IPV and controlling behaviour against their male partners.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-56
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2010


  • Common couple violence
  • Female perpetrators
  • Female violence
  • Female-to-male violence
  • Intimate partner violence
  • Intimate terrorism
  • Male victims


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