Former Vice President Joe Biden claimed during the fifth Democrat presidential debate in Atlanta that a situation where a man needs to defend himself against a woman “rarely ever occurs.”
Biden was speaking in the context of domestic violence and his track record of addressing the issue via legislation like the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which he cosponsored and passed in 1994.
His gaffe, that the problem of gendered violence must be solved by “punching at it and punching at it,” has drawn a lot of attention on social media.
But the factual inaccuracy of his claim that men “rarely” need to defend themselves against women also deserves attention.
In the context of domestic violence, which is what the VAWA sought to address, the claim is not accurate. Both late and recent studies of domestic violence show high rates of victimhood among men.
Centers for Disease Control (CDC) statistics released in 2013 show 29 percent of heterosexual men reporting domestic abuse at the hands of a partner, compared to 35 percent for heterosexual women.
A six-point percentage gap is not sufficient to declare the former “rare.”
An earlier meta-analysis of domestic violence studies in the United States, conducted in 2000, found that women were slightly more likely to commit acts of domestic violence but that men were more likely to cause injury. Nevertheless, the analysis still found that a “substantial minority of men were injured by a [female] partner.
“It is therefore not the case … that women’s violence toward men severe enough to cause physical injury is negligible or nonexistent,” concluded the analysis.
Another, more recent meta-analysis of 1,700 peer-reviewed studies on domestic violence encompassing cases from the U.S, Canada, and the U.K. found comparable rates of domestic violence victimhood for men and women (19.3 percent for men and 23 percent for women), as well as higher rates of female-perpetrated violence (28.3 percent female vs 21.6 percent male).
All of the studies on domestic violence show varying rates of female-on-male violence vs male-on-female violence. But none of them support Joe Biden’s contention that situations where men must defend themselves against women only “rarely” occur.
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Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News.