In the Adopted Land: Abused Immigrant Women and the Criminal Justice System

By Hoan N. Bui | Go to book overview

5

WOMEN'S SAFETY AND FAMILY LIFE

Shortly after I obtained the restraining order, he was very angry because he was forced to move out. Then, he would use phone to yell at me and curse me, using very bad words several times a week…. Because of the children, I removed the restraining order. Once he went back home, he didn't change because he refrained from beating me after the arrest, but he verbally abused me more often…. While he didn't use force to attack me, he used words, and his language caused me a lot of pain. He criticized me for everything almost everyday to the point that I became emotionally exhausted and drained. I thought that it might be better for me to die in peace than to live with his mental torture. I finally had to file for separation and move to another location to avoid his abuse…. When I realized that there was no hope for reconciliation, I decided to file a divorce…. I have no longer to worry about his abuse, but I usually feel very sad because the children don't have a family with a father like others.

(Interview with Chau)

The shift from the definition of domestic violence as a private family matter to a view of domestic violence as a crime has led to major changes in criminal justice responses to the problem. There has been general agreement among activists for battered women that this shift in societal reaction to domestic abuse has been beneficial to battered women (Bowman, 1992; Cahn, 1992; Ferraro, 1993; Wanless, 1996). Advocates of criminal justice approaches to domestic violence have considered mandatory arrests, mandatory prosecutions, personal protection orders, and court mandated treatment as effective weapons to fight domestic violence and protect women's safety (Walsh, 1995; Wanless, 1996; Stark, 1993; Corsilles, 1994). These approaches, focusing on the victim and the assailant within the context of criminal laws, are founded on the principle of specific deterrence that invokes the threat of legal sanctions to deter undesired behavior. Despite high

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In the Adopted Land: Abused Immigrant Women and the Criminal Justice System
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Series Foreword vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • 1 - Introduction 1
  • 2 - Family Lives in Transition 17
  • 3 - Contacts with Criminal Justice Agencies 45
  • 4 - When Victims Become Offenders 71
  • 5 - Women's Safety and Family Life 93
  • Notes 112
  • 6 - Women's Differences and Social Policies 113
  • Appendix A 127
  • Appendix B 137
  • Bibliography 139
  • Index 151
  • About the Author 155
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