What is a critical in examining these data is the notion of intimate partner violence as a public health issue, Silverman said. "Although women and girls suffer far higher rates of abuse, are far more likely to be injured, and far more likely to be killed by male partners than are men reporting abuse from women, there is a push from some professional quarters to equate these experiences and remove considerations of gender," he noted.
In many countries, data indicate that violence from husbands and other male partners exacts a terrible toll on the health of women and children, and is a major factor in the increasing "feminization" of the HIV epidemic across the United States, Africa and Asia, Silverman said.
"Hopefully, we as a country can overcome this desire to remove gender from our public health approach and join the rest of the world in focusing on the major threats posed by violence against women and girls from their male partners," Silverman said.
For more on domestic violence, visit the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
SOURCES: Michele Black, Ph.D., epidemiologist, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta; Jay G. Silverman, Ph.D., assistant professor, society and human development and health, and director, Violence Against Women Prevention, Harvard University School of Public Health, Boston; Feb. 8, 2008, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report