My observation is that being attracted to jerks is gender and/or orientation independent, but can vary in how it shows itself between men and women. I've also observed that there are several different reasons for doing so.
- People who grew up in dysfunctional families, and honestly think that being treated like dirt is normal or inevitable.
- People who are hooked on the drama and enjoy the passion, excitement and adrenaline rush. If they get into a calm, respectful relationship with someone nice and even tempered, they get bored.
- People with really bad self-esteem or self image who think that this is genuinely what they deserve, or the best they can expect.
- Status seekers. They want a partner that the world sees as desirable and high status - the wealthy, powerful man, the hot woman, someone famous - and get stuck with the downsides that can come with someone who regards being powerful and wealthy (or really hot, or famous) as the most important part of their life.
- Fix-it-uppers. Either they figure they can take someone and reform them into the perfect SO, or they feel sorry for them, and want to help. I've seen guys do this too - start dating a woman who was really needy and a complete mess, and then couldn't break up with her because she needed him so much.