Advocates for men are calling for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to apologize for suggesting that men are more likely than women to commit domestic violence, especially when they're out of work for long periods of time.
But Reid's spokesman told FoxNews.com on Tuesday that the Nevada Democrat is not apologizing for arguing during Senate debate a day earlier that the $15 billion jobs bill he is sponsoring should be passed to help prevent an uptick in violence.
Marty Nemko, co-president of The National Organization for Men, described Reid's comments as "irresponsible," citing numerous studies that show women are just as likely or even more so to commit domestic violence against their male partners.
Nemko also noted that that the police reports women advocacy organizations use are misleading because "men are embarrassed to say their wives beat them over the head with a frying pan."
"Instead of looking to try and find men jobs, he's bashing men completely unfairly," Nemko told FoxNews.com.
Reid's office responded by e-mailing articles that show domestic violence is increasing with unemployment, including one published by the Atlantic Monthly. And Reid repeated the assertion Tuesday, saying that two people who run domestic crisis shelters in Las Vegas told him that the high unemployment has "created lots of additional work for them they would rather not have."
"There is no question that people being out of work causes more people to be involved in domestic violence. I mean, I didn't make that up. I was told that by two people who run domestic crisis shelters," he said.
On Monday, the Nevada Democrat seized on a trend in the rise of domestic violence cases across the country that experts say can be linked partly to the recession that has left millions of Americans unemployed.
"I have met with some people while I was home dealing with domestic abuse. It has gotten out of hand. Why? Men don't have jobs. Women don't have jobs either, but women aren't abusive -- most of the time. Men, when they're out of work, tend to become abusive. Our domestic crisis shelters in Nevada are jammed. It's the way it is all over the country."
Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Abuse Reporting (RADAR) took Reid to task for his comments, arguing that the $787 billion stimulus package that he supported last year funneled close to half of the spending to programs that women while 80 percent of those who lost jobs in the recession were men.
"Grant for the moment that, in spite of all the scientific research to the contrary, maybe Sen. Reid is naïve enough to believe that only men, and not women, turn violence to their partners when unemployed," the group said in a press release. "What kind of misogynist promotes a bill as unjust as last year's massive stimulus package while sincerely believing that doing so will cause more women to be beaten?"
Reid, who is in a tough re-election bid this year, has a long history of making controversial comments. Most recently, a new book ignited a firestorm of controversy by disclosing comments Reid made a couple years ago on then-Sen. Barack Obama's race and dialect. Reid said Obama could win the presidency because he was "light-skinned" and didn't use a "Negro dialect."
The conservative blogosphere showed Reid little mercy in its reaction to his latest controversy.
HotAir.com questioned Reid's suggestion that abusive men outnumber their female counterparts, citing a British study in 2000 that found that women are just as likely to initiate domestic violence."
"If recession-related stress and money woes are shortening men's tempers, they're probably shortening women's too -- which, ironically, only improves Reid's argument about the jobs bill, although he's too captive to identify politics to try to make that point," reads one post.
Nemko also cited a California State University study that finds that women are as physically aggressive or more aggressive than men in their relationships with male partners.