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August 4, 2004

Rates of Domestic Violence in Southern Iraq—Reply

Author Affiliations

Letters Section Editor: Robert M. Golub, MD, Senior Editor.

JAMA. 2004;292(5):565. doi:10.1001/jama.292.5.565-b

In Reply: We agree with Dr Tayeb that the prevalence of domestic violence is difficult to determine. Domestic violence goes unreported in many cases, and there is not a unified method in the United States of gathering data on reported or unreported domestic violence cases.1 We defined domestic violence in our study as a beating or forced intercourse by a spouse.2 The questions were asked as behavioral questions: "In your lifetime, have you ever been subjected to beatings by a spouse?" and "In your lifetime, have you ever been forced to have sex by your spouse?" Had we included in our definition slapping, pushing, shoving, and threats with a weapon or throwing objects, it is likely the prevalence we found would have been higher.