Domestic Violence Not Leading Cause of Injury to Women

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The 1992 Surgeon General’s statement on domestic violence prompted proliferation of grotesquely false claims of the type that domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women. High-quality data on causes of injury, publicly available since 1994, make clear that such claims are false.

Age specifications are relevant to considering causes of injury. But domestic violence is not the leading cause of injury to women across any of the different age specifications associated with that claim.

Domestic violence policies have been central to the rise of mass incarceration in the U.S. since 1980. Publicly prevalent, grotesquely false claims about domestic violence against women and anti-men gender-biased domestic violence policies have drawn upon deeply root gender animus: criminal suspicion of men. Public reason has provided little constraint on criminal suspicion of men.

Injury-Related Visits to U.S. Hospital Emergency Departments
by Cause of Injury, 1992, Ages 15 to 44

(counts of emergency-department visits in 1000s of visits)
cause rankcause of injurywomen's injury-related visitsmen's injury-related visitsdifference women / men
1Accident - motor vehicle1,3031,489-12%
2Accident - falls1,2551,433-12%
3Accident - struck (ex. vehicle/machinery)6821,298-47%
4Accident - cut or pierced5631,263-55%
7Accident - other419731-43%
8Accident - natural and environmental factors315319-1%
9Drugs (medical) and medical procedures24314963%
10Accident - fire, flames, submersion, suffocation173192-10%
11Accidental poisoning135163-17%
12Accident - machinery94232-59%
14Law enforcement and war1142-74%
Cause Not Specified (inc. just place of occurrence)1,1502,040-44%
Source: Tabulated from NHAMCS 2001. Injury-related visits accounted for 38% of all visits to hospital emergency departments. Illness-related visits (heart attack, etc.) accounted for 62%.

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