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Journal Article


Kappler KE, Kaltenbrunner A. PLoS One 2012; 7(7): e40289.


Barcelona Media - Innovation Centre, Barcelona, Spain.


(Copyright © 2012, Public Library of Science)








BACKGROUND: Violence against women--despite its perpetuation over centuries and its omnipresence at all social levels--entered into social consciousness and the general agenda of Social Sciences only recently, mainly thanks to feminist research, campaigns, and general social awareness. The present article analyzes in a secondary analysis of German prevalence data on violence against women, whether the frequency and severity of violence against women can be described with power laws. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Although the investigated distributions all resemble power-law distributions, a rigorous statistical analysis accepts this hypothesis at a significance level of 0.1 only for 1 of 5 cases of the tested frequency distributions and with some restrictions for the severity of physical violence. Lowering the significance level to 0.01 leads to the acceptance of the power-law hypothesis in 2 of the 5 tested frequency distributions and as well for the severity of domestic violence. The rejections might be mainly due to the noise in the data, with biases caused by self-reporting, errors through rounding, desirability response bias, and selection bias. CONCLUSION: Future victimological surveys should be designed explicitly to avoid these deficiencies in the data to be able to clearly answer the question whether violence against Women follows a power-law pattern. This finding would not only have statistical implications for the processing and presentation of the data, but also groundbreaking consequences on the general understanding of violence against women and policy modeling, as the skewed nature of the underlying distributions makes evident that violence against women is a highly disparate and unequal social problem. This opens new questions for interdisciplinary research, regarding the interplay between environmental, experimental, and social factors on victimization.

Language: en


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