Feminists like to portray domestic violence as being a result of the "social construction of masculinity".
This gives the impression that there is reason for women to fear men in general, especially masculine men. It also suggests that men need to reform by rejecting a traditional masculinity.
However, before men rush off to sign up for basket-weaving courses, they should consider the following. As I pointed out in a recent article, research shows that men initiate violence in only 15% of cases of domestic violence. It is much more common for the violence to be mutual, or for it to be initiated by women alone.
(Those who doubt that women can inflict serious harm on a male partner might consider cases such as the Swedish woman who earlier this month poured boiling water on her sleeping husband.)
And what of those 15% of cases where the woman is the victim of male violence? A newly released British study suggests that roughly a quarter of such women go straight from one abusive relationship to another. In other words, for psychological reasons they seek out abusive men.
This doesn't excuse the abusive men. But it decreases the statistical likelihood that a well-adjusted woman will be abused by her male partner.
As I noted in my earlier article, in the course of a year there is a roughly 1.5% chance of a woman being hit by her male partner. That figure of 1.5% includes those women who seek out violent partners. So women who aren't seeking out abuse will be the victims of hitting in a little over 1% of all relationships.
So should women fear the garden variety male? Given the research, I don't see why. A woman who chooses an emotionally stable, protective, non-alcoholic, socially successful male is statistically unlikely to be physically attacked by her partner.
The traditional masculine code forbidding violence against women works well in general. It needs to be encouraged, not overthrown.