Women, Violence, and Social Change

Women, Violence, and Social Change

Women, Violence, and Social Change

Women, Violence, and Social Change

Synopsis

Women, Violence and Social Changedemonstrates how refuges and shelters stand as the core of the battered women's movement, providing a basis for pragmatic support, political action and radical renewal. From this base movements in Britain and the United States have challenged the police, courts and social services to provide greater assistance to women. The book provides important evidence on the way social movements can successfully challenge institutions of the State as well as salutatory lessons on the nature of diverted and thwarted struggle.
Throughout the book the Dobashes' years of researching violence against women is illustrated in the depth of their analysis. They maintain the tradition established in their first book, Violence Against Wives, which was widely accalimed.

Excerpt

For the women who have been physically abused in the home by the men with whom they live, the past two decades have seen both radical change and no change at all. The lives of some have been touched by an ever expanding, worldwide movement to support women who have been battered and to challenge male violence. Some legal and social institutions have begun to respond, while others remain in a nexus of traditional tolerance of male violence and indifference to those who suffer from such violence. This is a time marked by social change and resistance to change, by innovation and reassertion of tradition. Both the new and the old responses are used, challenged and defended by those with differing views about the nature of this problem and how best to confront it. The arena of change and challenge is alive with ideas and activity.

Increasingly, women who have been abused come forward for support in directly challenging the violence or organizing their escape from it. Although relatively few violent men are being confronted with the unacceptability of their violence and their responsibility for its elimination, the numbers are growing. The fact that this occurs at all is due almost solely to the efforts of the battered-women's movement in bringing the issue to public attention and organizing a pragmatic response to assisting women based on a wider philosophy of feminist inspired change. The story of the development of these innovative changes covers individual terror and personal triumph as well as institutional action and reaction. It is a story of one of the important social movements of our time. It is about deeply held cultural beliefs, entrenched patterns of response and the struggle to move away from supporting male violence and towards its rejection. It is a story that is at once personal and institutional, local and international, depressing and inspirational.

In many countries it is now well known that violence in the home is

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