Violent Touch: Breaking Through the Stereotype

David L. Fontes, Psy.D.
Licensed Clinical Psychologist, PSY#18439
(916) 685-5258, ex. 18


Violent Touch attempts to present the topic of domestic violence in a more complete manner. For too long domestic violence campaigns and presentations have minimized three very important areas in their discussion, namely the male victim, the female perpetrator and mutual partner assault. Dr. Fontes is both the Employee Assistance Program manager for the California Department of Social Services for over 4,500 state employees and is a psychologist in private practice. During the mid-1990s he was confronted with his own bias about victims of domestic violence when as male victim sought his help. He realized that he did not ask men the same questions he asked women when it came to their victimization by the hands of their intimate partner. Faced with his own biases and stereotyping of victims of domestic violence, he decided to do his doctoral dissertation on the topic of the male victim of intimate partner violence. His three years of research found many things that opened his eyes to a more gender inclusive approach to this topic.

Violent Touch is a summary paper based on his 175 page dissertation:
Domestic Violence Against Men: Development of a Comprehensive Partner Conflict Survey

available from UMI - Bell and Howell Information and Learning

Violent Touch covers the following topics:

  • The double standard that is used when addressing male and female victims of domestic violence
  • Can women be as aggressive as men in our culture?
  • Are we more likely to tolerate violence by women than we do from men?
  • The very important difference between domestic violence statistics that come from archival clinical samples vs. randomized surveys studies
  • That while women are twice as likely to report an injury as a result of being assaulted than men who are assaulted, nevertheless men and women are assaulting each other at nearly the same rates in the general population
  • That while many in the current domestic violence movement claim that if women do assault their partner it is for reasons of self-defense, available research suggests that only 10 to 20 percent of women assault their intimate partner for reasons of self-defense and that women are more likely to strike the first blow
  • That male victims are 8 times less likely to report their victimization than do women who report their victimization
  • How patriarchal attitudes work against men who need to share their victimizations by others
  • How patriarchal attitudes, gender feminism, and gender politics works against the plight of the male victim of domestic violence in the public arena
  • How we can break through the stereotype of the victim of domestic violence to more affectively reduce domestic violence in our generation

Violent Touch : full document in pdf format