Last June, the progressive blogosphere erupted in outrage over an article I published in the Washington Post on marriage and domestic violence. Much of the outrage was understandable, as the first headline the Post ran was inflammatory, inaccurate, and unapproved by me:
“One way to end violence against women? Stop taking lovers and get married.”
But some of the outrage directed towards the article focused on the conclusion that Robin Fretwell Wilson and I drew about the connection between family structure and the safety of women and children. We pointed out the data show that women and children are much less likely to be the victims of violence when they are living in an intact marriage: “Married women are notably safer than their unmarried peers, and girls raised in a home with their married father are markedly less likely to be abused or assaulted than children living without their own father.”
This conclusion, and the substance of our article, raised the ire of Mona Chalabi at FiveThirtyEight, who wrote that we “misused the data on violence against women.” Our sins? We reported a Department of Justice study showing that married women are markedly less likely to be the victims of intimate partner violence than are single women and women living in “other household” arrangements, and another DOJ study that found that never-married women are almost four times more likely to be victims of violent crime, compared to married women.