Cultural Anthropology

Why are men more violent than women?
Answered by Discovery Fit & Health
  • Discovery Fit & Health

    Discovery Fit & Health

  1. Around the world, women report physical and sexual violence against them from an intimate partner at a rate of 15 to70 percent, depending on the country. That means that at some point in their lives, between 15 percent and 70 percent of all women have experienced violence at the hands of a partner. Up to 11 percent also report violence from someone other than a partner [source: World Health Organization].

    In the United States in 2008, there were more than 550,000 women or girls age 12 and older who were victims of violence at the hands of intimate partners -- or ex-partners. To be fair, however, men also are victims of domestic violence. In the same year, about 101,000 men experienced violence from partners [source: Department of Justice]. Some of this violence might have come from same-sex partners, but the same could be said for some abused women. Women are killed by intimate partners twice as often as men, while men are more likely to be killed by people they don't know.

    Sociologists and psychologists debate why men display violent tendencies more often than women. One theory is that it stems from a basic gap in equality between genders. The argument states that men have more opportunities to commit violence than women. The fact that men dominate most criminal organizations seems to provide evidence for this theory. But other experts disagree with this assessment, calling it too narrow a view. They suggest there may be psychological differences between men and women that can explain the disparity. Physiological differences also have been proposed. For instance, adult men have twice as much testosterone as women do [source: deMause]. This theory also can be debated, however, because testosterone levels are equal in young children, yet boys tend to play more violent games and act in domineering ways compared with girls.

    The ways in which boys and girls learn to deal with fear and adversity might explain some of the violent tendencies in men. Girls tend to retreat within themselves or try to please, but boys might act out their fears with violence, risk-taking and even self-destructiveness [source: deMause]. Recent research on chimps has quieted long-held beliefs that both chimps and humans -- particularly the species' males -- evolved with a propensity toward violence. Instead, it is more likely that cultural and societal practices have led to violence among men and some women [source: Narvaez]. The bottom line is that there really is no single reason why men are more violent.

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