Misogyny can be defined as the characterizing of women as bad or dangerous. However, for purposes of discussion about domestic abuse, a more useful definition is that misogyny is the characterization of feminine traits and female sexuality as bad and dangerous.

Feminist contributions to the understanding of domestic abuse place a lot of the responsibility on the overall misogyny in the culture. Debating the role of misogyny in modern American culture is beyond the scope of this website. However, misogyny is clearly expressed by most male primary aggressors.

In a relationship misogyny usually plays out by the primary aggressor characterizing women other than his partner with sexist stereotypes, and admonishing his partner to be different. The specifics are likely to be contradictory. The primary aggressor may want his partner to dress and groom attractively but also label her a slut for doing so. Overall this causes the survivor to be so self-conscious of her feminine characteristics that it robs her of her true femininity.

Misogyny also belittles the work women do. This often puts an exhausted survivor on the defensive, trying to justify how she spends her time. This is especially severe if there are children. Few people who have tried both will dispute that caring for children is more difficult than a paid job. Primary aggressors often escalate when returning to a house that has not been prepared for them (dinner not ready etc..), because the survivor has been busy with children.