Talk about spoiling the party! Just as the 100th International Women’s Day dawns over a perfumed world Aussie professor Kim Halford has released a study on female violence.

Women wallop men just as much as men wallop women, says the prof who claims domestic violence can often be blamed on the missus getting in a pre-emptive whack first. That’s what he calls the “usual pattern”. She hits him, he hits her, now you’ve got a punch-up.

Halford  – he’s a Queensland clinical psychologist – doesn’t paint a very rosy picture of marriage. Almost a quarter of the 379 couples (22 per cent) told him there had been “at least one act of low-level violence in the year leading up to and including the wedding.” (Makes you wonder why gays want to join in the nuptial free-for-all and indeed angry word-regurgitator Helen Razer sneers at the concept in a current rant).That “low-level violence”, by the way, means slapping or shoving, rather than punching.

Interesting finding, this. In the comments to my recent blog “Do men get a rough deal?” there were all sorts of wild claims (well, they sounded wild) about men being bashed by women. I mean, men are usually bigger and stronger than women, aren’t they?

Well yes. Doc Halford says man-whacking is not a clever move by the ladies because “it is usually the women who end up getting injured and feeling psychologically intimidated”. But not always. Males everywhere recoiled at the report last month about Xian Peng, the 48-year-old bloke in Sydney whose former girlfriend drugged him, tied him up then stabbed him and cut off his penis. Peng bled to death and now Jian Chen has been charged by police. Ouch.

Let’s have a look at some stats. Los Angeles police data records a doubling of female violence against men from 1987 to 1995: from 340 women arrested for violence against men (7 per cent of 1987 total) to 1262 (14.3 per cent of 1995 total). Quote: “While the number of men arrested for domestic violence increased by 1.6 between 1987 and 1995, the number of women arrested for the same reason increased nearly fourfold (by 3.7) in the same time period.”

Of course that is in the US of A where the wives have long ruled the roost. An Oregon-based site notes: “Very little is known about the actual number of men who are in a domestic relationship in which they are abused or treated violently by women.  In 100 domestic violence situations approximately 40 cases involve violence by women against men.  An estimated 400,000 women per year are abused or treated violently in the United States by their spouse or intimate partner.  This means that roughly 300,000 to 400,000 men are treated violently by their wife or girl friend.”

In good old laid-back Oz another study in 1996-97 showed 5.7 per cent of men quizzed had been scratched or kicked or slapped or hit by their ever-loving brides – whereas 3.1 per cent of women said the same. “This remains an unacceptably high rate of domestic violence,” said the researchers. They also reported: “An important but unanticipated finding was that violence runs in couples. 54% of respondents who reported that they had been assaulted, also admitted that they had assaulted their partners.”

Some years back a bloke named Ray O’Sullivan used to wrestle on air with Melbourne radio 3AW’s Paul Barber about domestic violence stats, trying to convince a disbelieving Barber that women were just as culpable. O’Sullivan, now in Berlin, fired in this email after my earlier blog:

“Here are a few stats that never seem to get aired: 75% of suicides, men, and no wonder, when you look at the following stats.  80% of homeless, men. 90% of work place deaths, men.  99.9999% or war dead and injured, men. 90% of prisoners, men. More health related deaths at an earlier age, men.  Lowest gender specific government health spending, men. Most unemployed, men. lowest tertiary intakes, men.  Most discriminated in family courts, men.

“Feminism was constructed, paid for and supported by multi-national corporations who believe in the idea that work gives women freedom and this is what they have been selling women for years, and you don’t have to be Einstein to work out the advantages to big business, because more money earned, means more money spent, and governments getting more taxes. Yes gentlemen, we’ve fallen for the propaganda/spin again.  But who cares, we are only male chauvinist pigs.”

OK, so maybe the clergyman needs to add an extra line in that part of the wedding ceremony: “In sickness and in health… and in recovery from injury incurred by your spouse… do you take this assailant to be your lawfully wedded wife?”