Page 18, Section 1 *** Houston Chronicle *** Thursday, July 15,1982
Battering of women is termed
top crime problem in state, U.S.
BY BOB TUTT
Chief, Chronicle Austin Bureau
AUSTIN — The battering of women during domestic
violence should be viewed as the No. 1 crime problem in
Texas and the United States, say two sociologists.
In a report submitted here Wednesday to a legislative
committee studying violence in the family, Drs. William
Stacey and Anson Snupe, stated:
"If woman-battering — affecting anywhere from one
out of five to one out of two women — was defined as a
medical disease, then our nation's public health officials
would not hesitate to claim we are currently experiencing a veritable epidemic."
Such domestic violence is "the single most frequently
countered (and likely to be encountered) crime by
Americans," said Stacey and Shupe, sociology profes-
-sors at the University of Texas at Arlington.
Because so many cases appear to go unreported, they
said, "there is strong evidence that points to wife-beat-
ing America's No. 1 unreported crime."
Their study "indicates that 208,000 women (in Texas)
have been abused within the past 18 months and that
97,500 women have experienced serious physical abuse.
This report estimates that 87,000 adults in Texas are
abused by a spouse on a weekly basis."
They based their conclusions on a number of national
in and Texas studies end surveys and their findings in a
study .of 542 women entering shelters in Dallas and
Denton for physically abused women. They also investi-
gated more than 2,000 calls to hotlines in the Dallas-Fort
Worth area. They said they believe their findings are
applicable to all of Texas.
Their report sketches this profile of the battered
Their average age is 25. Almost three-fourths are
.married with children. Almost 65 percent are white. A
slight .majority has a high school education and may
have' some done some college work. Few are college
graduates. Most fall in the lower-middle and lower
socio-economic classes, but only 10 percent are receiv-
ing some sort of welfare. More than half are full-time
"Most follow traditional child-rearing, homemaking
domestic roles in their marriages," the report said.
"This is a significant fact in light of some criticisms,
particularly from those of a conservative religious per-
suasion, that have related problems of divorce and
domestic violence to women's failure' to devote them-
selves exclusively to the traditional domestic role.''
A quarter of the women reported sexual abuse and
more than 40 percent said they were battered while they
were pregnant. More than 20 percent suffered broken
"Marital issues such as sex demands, pregnancy and
otfier family matters become involved" in domestic
violence, the report said, but in almost 60 percent of the
cases the cause was "something the woman has little
controlover: job pressures."
Economic bad times are likely to aggravate this prob-
lem, the report said.
While many of the men doing the assaulting "may
'feel sorry,' experience guilt or try to 'patch up* the
relationship after a beating incidence, roughly half (49
dripbisoent) felt the battering was justified, the report
It said "the batterer typically has a high school
education, is employed in a skilled job, Is about 30 years
of age, is married, and earns approximately $15,000
annually" and in many ways "closely approximates the
typical American male"
The study indicates that the batterer is likely to have
a background "in which family violence was present"
and in almost 40 percent of cases was physically abused
as a child.
The batterers also tend to be violent toward animals,
children and objects and over 40 percent of them have
arrest records, it said.
Stacey and Shupe made these recommendations:
• Training should be provided for battered women
who wish to overcome their economic dependence and
establish an independent life.
• Shelters for the abused must also provide services
for children because so many of them accompany their
mothers to the refuges.
• Some type of therapy or counseling should be attempted in less severe cases, but the criminal courts
should handle more serious cases.
• Police officers, who are called on to handle many,,
often dangerous domestic disputes, should get special
training to deal with such situations. .
The sociologists gave their report to the state Senate
Committee on Human Resources, chaired by Sen. Chet
The community will recommend measures for consideration of the Legislature next year to help combat
abuse of women, children and the elderly.
We are grateful to all the diligent NOW members
who ha'/e agreed to be telephone captains for our
new phone tree system. This system is working
fantastically! Note the increased atteridence at
our meetings. The following great women are leading
the phone groups:
Fran Studdard, Judi Hoffman, Elizabeth Polifka,
Caroline Pere»f Wendy PwUdniki, Mary McFadin, Susan
Lab, Reeky Monroe, Bobby Faulkner, Marie Stimson,
Sandra Hamilton, Bonnie Huval, Elizabeth Glenn,
Mary Skinner, Bonnie Dombroski, & Kathy Beard.
HOUSTON AREA WOMEN'S CENTER WILL HOST AN EVENT TO MARK WOMEN'S SUFFRAGE
DAY ON THURSDAY, AUGUST 26 AT SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH. ORGANIZATIONS ARE
ASKED TO BE SPONSORS AT $15 TO DEFRAY COSTS OF INVITATIONS, WINE AND CHEESE.
FILM WILL BE SHOWN, PROBABLY "SHE'S NOBODY'S BABY" PRODUCED BY MS. FOUNDATION.
ADMISSION TO EVENT IS FREE. CONTACT HELENE BERNSTEIN TO SPONSOR 528-6798.
PLEASE RESPOND SOON IF YOU WISH TO BE LISTED AS SPONSOR ON THE INVITATIONS.