These headlines were based on findings from the "National Violence Against Women in America Survey" (called the NVAW survey from here on).
The NVAW surveyed 8,000 women and 8,000 men representing 16,000 households.
Nevertheless, an even greater wrong does not excuse the lesser wrong.
A society in which dating, cohabiting, and married partners never hit each other is not a more unrealistic goal than a society in which co-workers never hit each other, and is certainly no less a hallmark of a humane society.
In a nutshell, service providers and feminist activists take a broad view of violence, as a symbol of male oppression of women.
Withholding money is seen as an act of violence, as is shouting or demeaning women.
The link between partner violence and child behavior problems occurs not only when both partners are violent (about half of families with partner assaults), but also when the assaults are committed exclusively by the male partner (about a quarter of the cases), as well as when the assaults are committed exclusively by the female partner.
The most fundamental reason for giving attention to assaults per se, regardless of whether an injury occurs, is the intrinsic moral wrong of assaulting a partner.
Assaults by women also help perpetuate the now implicit, but once explicit cultural norms that gave husbands the legal right to "physically chastise an errant wife." The legacy of that norm continues to make the marriage license a hitting license for both parties.
To end "wife beating," it is essential for women to cease what may seem to be "harmless" slapping, kicking, or throwing things at a male partner who persists in some outrageous behavior or "won't listen to reason." Assaults by women also need to be a focus of social policy because of the harm to children from growing up in a violent household.
One reason is the overwhelming accumulation of evidence from more than a hundred studies showing approximately equal assault rates.