Sex Roles

, Volume 62, Issue 3–4, pp 201–211 | Cite as

Do Violent Acts Equal Abuse? Resolving the Gender Parity/Asymmetry Dilemma

  • Evan StarkEmail author
Feminist Forum


This commentary revisits a core dilemma in “Controversies involving Gender and Intimate Partner Violence in the United States” by Langhinrichsen-Rohling (2010), how to reconcile gender parity in the use of force by partners with the gender asymmetry in the dynamics and effects of partner abuse. This dilemma is a byproduct of a domestic violence paradigm that confounds the normative use of violence in families and relationships and the types of partner assault and coercive control targeted by the advocacy movement. I argue that the dimensions of abuse victims present at points of service contradict the basic assumptions of the paradigm and outline an alternative model of coercive control that sets violent acts in their historical, experiential and political context.


Abuse Coercive control Domestic violence Feminism Sexual inequality 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Public Affairs and AdministrationRutgers UniversityNewarkUSA

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