GAINESVILLE, FL—A study released Monday by researchers at the University of Florida indicates a strong link between domestic violence against women and burned pot roasts.
"After five years of research, we have found a direct causal link between overcooked, poorly prepared dinners and spousal abuse," Florida sociology professor and study head Dr. Patrick Redmond said.
Study data was gathered from interviews, police records, and first-hand observations conducted between 5 and 8 p.m., the hours during which a majority of American men come home from a long, hard day at work and expect a hot meal to be waiting for them on the table.
According to one 42-year-old male study participant, abuse in his home occurs most frequently "when I sit down at the table, and I gotta eat a goddamn black roast because the broad was yapping on the phone with her mother's hospice unit nurse again."
In addition to unsatisfactorily prepared meals, the study found that a number of other factors were linked to domestic violence, including: always nagging about getting the roof fixed, blocking the TV when the big game is on, and repeatedly demanding to know exactly what goes on at that bar all day and night.
While domestic violence is widespread, Redmond said there are steps women can take to protect themselves.
"Based on interviews we conducted with more than 1,000 abusive men, women can significantly reduce safety risks by quickly responding to requests of 'Get me another beer,' and making sure that the beer is cold, in addition to making sure that non-burned pot roasts are served hot and in a timely fashion," said Gregory Ormond of the New York-based Family Crisis Center.
"Further," Ormond added, "a majority of the wife batterers we spoke to indicated that it wouldn't hurt if their spouses took a little effort to make themselves appear more attractive once in a while."
Interviews with abusive men also indicated that women who "let themselves go" and "balloon up" shortly after the first few years of marriage are 20 percent more likely to get pasted right in their fat faces, Redmond said.
In addition to interviews, the Florida researchers conducted a wide range of laboratory experiments involving women who live with abusive partners. Among the experiments' findings: When the smell of burned pot roast is combined with the simulated sound of a station wagon pulling into a driveway, 43 percent of the women were observed to burst into tears instantaneously.
Upon learning of the study, American Women's Health Council president Marsha Hauge expressed hope that its findings will spark a reduction in future incidents of domestic abuse.
"Education is the key," Hauge said. "Women need to know there are places to go for help. It isn't easy to make good, tender pot roast, or even, in some cases, turkey casserole." Hauge noted that AWHC plans to offer free classes across the country dealing with proper meat preparation.
"Spousal abuse can be prevented," Redmond said. "Our research shows that all these men are asking for is a little peace and quiet, and a hot meal each night. Is that too much to ask?"