58,000 men were killed in Vietnam while more than that number of females were killed by spouses or boyfriends during the same time period in the US

This "statistic" was recently posted to a mailing list of teachers and others interested in the subject of gender equity in education. A similar formulation appears on the web site of the Island County Community Health Advisory Board (Coupeville, Wahington) , where it is attributed to the American Medical Association. A somewhat less exaggerated version, which puts the number of "women and children killed in their own homes" at 21,000, appears on the web site of the Police Department in Kennebunk, Maine. In an editorial by Don Hunt the number of women killed in the U.S. during the war is said to have been 51,000.

As happens quite frequently with statistics offered by advocates in the domestic violence field, this statement appears to have been constructed for "sound bite" value without regard for whether it is true.

It is not true. It is not even remotely close to being true. President Lyndon Johnson sent the first combat troops to Viet Nam in 1965. The last were withdrawn in 1973. During that period, there were a total of 27,103 females of all ages murdered in the United States. Not by intimates -- from all causes. This number is taken from Table 3.141 of the Bureau of Justice Statistics publication Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics, which is maintained on the World Wide Web by the University of Albany. 

Obviously if there were 27,103 females murdered in total, it is impossible that more than 58,000 of them were murdered by spouses or boyfriends. The Sourcebook does not provide victim-offender relationships for murders in that era, but in recent years the proportion of female homicide victims who were killed by intimates has been around 30% of the total. If things were about the same in the 1960's -- and there is no reason to believe otherwise -- then the number of women killed by intimates during the eight years of the Viet Nam war was about 8,100. This is only one-seventh the number of men killed in the war.

It is an unfortunate fact that the sort of wild exaggeration made here is the rule rather than the exception when dealing with domestic violence advocates.

To complete the picture, there were 91,201 males murdered in the U.S. during the Viet Nam war, about 3,500 of them by spouses or girlfriends.