In the preface to her memoir, Ercenia “Alice” Cedeño recalls the secrecy and turmoil that marked her youth: “I spent most of my growing years mad at my mother and wanting her to change to fit in with the rest of the world,” she writes. “When my sisters and I wanted her to visit our friends’ mothers, she would say, ‘Why do people need to know other peoples’ lives?’ Looking back, I wonder if she was really saying, ‘I don’t want them to know our business.’ There was so much to hide.” Now bringing those hidden memories to light, Amá, Your Story Is Mine traces the hardship, violence, deceit, and defiance that shaped the identity of two generations of women in Alice’s family. Born in the mountains of northern Mexico, Alice’s mother married at age 14 into a family rife with passion that often turned to anger. After losing several infant children to disease, the young couple crossed into the United States seeking a better life.Unfolding in a series of powerful vignettes, Amá, Your Story Is Mine describes in captivating detail a daring matriarch who found herself having to protect her children from their own father while facing the challenges of cultural discrimination. By turns wry and tender, Alice’s recollections offer a rare memoir that fully encompasses the Latina experience in the United States.
When South Asians immigrated to the United States in great numbers in the 1970s, they were passionately driven to achieve economic stability and socialize the next generation to retain the traditions of their home culture. During these years, the immigrant community went to great lengths to project an impeccable public image by denying the existence of social problems such as domestic violence, sexual assault, child sexual abuse, mental illness, racism, and intergenerational conflict. It was not until recently that activist groups have worked to bring these issues out into the open.
In Body Evidence, more than twenty scholars and public health professionals uncover the unique challenges faced by victims of violence in intimate spaces . . . within families, communities and trusted relationships in South Asian American communities. Topics include cultural obsession with women's chastity and virginity; the continued silence surrounding intimate violence among women who identify themselves as lesbian, bisexual, or transgender; the consequences of refusing marriage proposals or failing to meet dowry demands; and, ultimately, the ways in which the United States courts often confuse and exacerbate the plights of these women.
Women’s agency: Is it a matter of an individual’s capacity for autonomy? Or of the social conditions that facilitate freedom? Combining theoretical and empirical perspectives, Carisa R. Showden investigates what exactly makes an agent and how that agency influences the ways women make inherently sensitive and difficult choices—specifically in instances of domestic violence, assisted reproduction, and sex work.
In Showden’s analysis, women’s agency emerges as an individual and social construct, rooted in concrete experience, complex and changing over time. She traces the development and deployment of agency, illustrating how it plays out in the messy workings of imperfect lives. In a series of case studies, she considers women within situations of intimate partner violence, reproductive decision making, and sex work such as prostitution and pornography. Each narrative offers insight into how women articulate their self-understanding and political needs in relation to the pressures they confront.
Showden’s understanding of women’s agency ultimately leads her to review possible policy and legal interventions that could improve the conditions within which agency develops and that could positively enhance women’s ability to increase and exercise their political and personal options.
Joan McCord (1930-2004) was one of the most famous, most-respected, and best-loved criminologists of her generation. A brilliant pioneer, Dr. McCord was best known for her work on the Cambridge-Somerville Youth Study, the first large-scale, longitudinal experimental study in the field of criminology. The study was among the first to demonstrate unintended harmful effects of a well-meaning prevention program. Dr. McCord's most important essays from this groundbreaking research project are among those included in this volume.McCord also co-wrote, edited, or co-edited twelve volumes and authored or co-authored 127 journal articles and book chapters. She wrote across a broad array of subjects, including delinquency, alcoholism, violence, crime prevention, and criminal theory. This book brings her most important and lasting work together in one place for the first time.
Elizabeth Pleck's Domestic Tyranny chronicles the rise and demise of legal, political, and medical campaigns against domestic violence from colonial times to the present. Based on in-depth research into court records, newspaper accounts, and autobiographies, this book argues that the single most consistent barrier to reform against domestic violence has been the Family Ideal--that is, ideas about family privacy, conjugal and parental rights, and family stability. This edition features a new introduction surveying the multinational and cultural themes now present in recent historical writing about family violence.
Domestic Violence and the Law in Colonial and Postcolonial Africa reveals the ways in which domestic space and domestic relationships take on different meanings in African contexts that extend the boundaries of family obligation, kinship, and dependency. The term domestic violence encompasses kin-based violence, marriage-based violence, gender-based violence, as well as violence between patrons and clients who shared the same domestic space. As a lived experience and as a social and historical unit of analysis, domestic violence in colonial and postcolonial Africa is complex. Using evidence drawn from Subsaharan Africa, the chapters explore the range of domestic violence in Africa’s colonial past and its present, including taxation and the insertion of the household into the broader structure of colonial domination. African histories of domestic violence demand that scholars and activists refine the terms and analyses and pay attention to the historical legacies of contemporary problems. This collection brings into conversation historical, anthropological, legal, and activist perspectives on domestic violence in Africa and fosters a deeper understanding of the problem of domestic violence, the limits of international human rights conventions, and local and regional efforts to address the issue.
Human dignity insists that every human deserves respect and a safe place to live. For many, this is not a reality. The essays collected here analyze the background of this problem in contemporary family life and society at large, with special emphasis on the role of women and on the Bible as a source of inspiration and transformation. The collection is the product of a six-year conversation on family, violence, and human dignity between the Protestant Theological University in Kampen, The Netherlands, and the Faculty of Theology at Stellenbosch University, South Africa, a North-South dialogue that included annual conferences, a series of responsive letters, and additional external responses. The contributors are Cheryl B. Anderson, Hendrik Bosman, Gerrit Brand, Athalya Brenner, L. Juliana Claassens, Dorothea Erbele-Küster, Leo J. Koffeman, Frits de Lange, Monica Jyotsna Melanchthon, Magda Misset-van de Weg, Beverly Eileen Mitchell, Anne-Claire Mulder, Ian Nell, Mary-Anne Plaatjies-van Huffel, Jeremy Punt, Petruschka Schaafsma, D. Xolile Simon, Lee-Ann J. Simon, Gé Speelman, Klaas Spronk, Ciska Stark, Elsa Tamez, Charlene van der Walt, Robert Vosloo, and Yusef Waghid.
Women in Haiti are frequent victims of sexual violence and armed assault. Yet an astonishing proportion of these victims also act as perpetrators of violent crime, often as part of armed groups. Award-winning legal scholar Benedetta Faedi Duramy visited Haiti to discover what causes these women to act in such destructive ways and what might be done to stop this tragic cycle of violence.
Gender and Violence in Haiti is the product of more than a year of extensive firsthand observations and interviews with the women who have been caught up in the widespread violence plaguing Haiti. Drawing from the experiences of a diverse group of Haitian women, Faedi Duramy finds that both the victims and perpetrators of violence share a common sense of anger and desperation. Untangling the many factors that cause these women to commit violence, from self-defense to revenge, she identifies concrete measures that can lead them to feel vindicated and protected by their communities.
Faedi Duramy vividly conveys the horrifying conditions pervading Haiti, even before the 2010 earthquake. But Gender and Violence in Haiti also carries a message of hope—and shows what local authorities and international relief agencies can do to help the women of Haiti.
Marriage among the Maya of Central America is a model of complementarity between a man and a woman. This union demands mutual respect and mutual service. Yet some husbands beat their wives.In this pioneering book, Laura McClusky examines the lives of several Mopan Maya women in Belize. Using engaging ethnographic narratives and a highly accessible analysis of the lives that have unfolded before her, McClusky explores Mayan women’s strategies for enduring, escaping, and avoiding abuse. Factors such as gender, age inequalities, marriage patterns, family structure, educational opportunities, and economic development all play a role in either preventing or contributing to domestic violence in the village. McClusky argues that using narrative ethnography, instead of cold statistics or dehumanized theoretical models, helps to keep the focus on people, "rehumanizing" our understanding of violence. This highly accessible book brings to the social sciences new ways of thinking about, representing, and studying abuse, marriage, death, gender roles, and violence.
Housing matters for everyone, as it provides shelter, security, privacy, and stability. For survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV), housing takes on an additional meaning; it is the key to establishing a new life, free from abuse. IPV survivors often face such inadequate housing options, however, that they must make excruciating choices between cycling through temporary shelters, becoming homeless, or returning to their abusers.
Home Safe Home offers a multifaceted analysis that accounts for both IPV survivors’ needs and the practical challenges involved in providing them with adequate permanent housing. Incorporating the varied perspectives of the numerous housing providers, activists, policymakers, and researchers who have a stake in these issues, the book also lets IPV survivors have their say, expressing their views on what housing and services can best meet their short and long-term goals. Researchers Hilary Botein and Andrea Hetling not only examine the federal and state policies and funding programs determining housing for IPV survivors, but also provide detailed case studies that put a human face on these policy issues.
As it traces how housing options and support mechanisms for IPV survivors have evolved over time, Home Safe Home also offers innovative suggestions for how policymakers and advocates might work together to better meet the needs of this vulnerable population.
'Honor' is used as a justification for violence perpetrated against women and girls considered to have violated social taboos related to sexual behavior. Several ‘honor’-based murders of Kurdish women, such as Fadime Sahindal, Banaz Mahmod and Du’a Khalil Aswad, and campaigns against 'honor'-based violence by Kurdish feminists have drawn international attention to this phenomenon within Kurdish communities.
Honor and the Political Economy of Marriage provides a description of ‘honor’-based violence that focuses upon the structure of the family rather than the perpetrator’s culture. The author, Joanne Payton, argues that within societies primarily organized by familial and marital connections, women’s ‘honor’ is a form of symbolic capital within a ‘political economy’ in which marriage organizes intergroup connections.
Drawing on statistical analysis of original data contextualized with historical and anthropological readings, Payton explores forms of marriage and their relationship to ‘honor’, sketching changing norms around the familial control of women from agrarian/pastoral roots to the contemporary era.
In 2002 young Fadime Sahindal was brutally murdered by her own father. She belonged to a family of Kurdish immigrants who had lived in Sweden for almost two decades. But Fadime’s relationship with a man outside of their community had deeply dishonored her family, and only her death could remove the stain. This abhorrent crime shocked the world, and her name soon became a rallying cry in the struggle to combat so-called honor killings.
Unni Wikan narrates Fadime’s heartbreaking story through her own eloquent words, along with the testimonies of her father, mother, and two sisters. What unfolds is a tale of courage and betrayal, loyalty and love, power and humiliation, and a nearly unfathomable clash of cultures. Despite enduring years of threats over her emancipated life, Fadime advocated compassion for her killer to the end, believing him to be trapped by an unyielding code of honor. Wikan puts this shocking event in context by analyzing similar honor killings throughout Europe, Canada, and the United States. She also examines the concept of honor in historical and cross-cultural depth, concluding that Islam itself is not to blame—indeed, honor killings occur across religious and ethnic traditions—but rather the way that many cultures have resolutely linked honor with violence.
In Honor of Fadime holds profound and timely insights into conservative Kurdish culture, but ultimately the heart of this powerful book is Fadime’s courageous and tragic story—and Wikan’s telling of it is riveting.
Las hijas de Juan shatters the silence surrounding experiences of incest within a working-class Mexican American family. Both a feminist memoir and a hopeful meditation on healing, it is Josie Méndez-Negrete’s story of how she and her siblings and mother survived years of violence and sexual abuse at the hands of her father.
Méndez-Negrete was born in Mexico, in the state of Zacatecas. She recalls a joyous childhood growing up in the midst of Tabasco, a vibrant town filled with extended family. Her father, though, had dreams of acquiring wealth in el norte. He worked sun-up to sun-down in the fields of south Texas. Returning home to Mexico, his pockets full of dollars, he spent evenings drinking and womanizing.
When Méndez-Negrete was eleven, her father moved the family to the United States, where they eventually settled in California’s Santa Clara Valley. There her father began molesting his daughters, viciously beating them and their mother. Within the impoverished immigrant family, the abuse continued for years, until a family friend brought it to the attention of child welfare authorities. Méndez-Negrete’s father was tried, convicted, and imprisoned.
Las hijas de Juan is told chronologically, from the time Méndez-Negrete was a child until she was a young adult trying, along with the rest of her family, to come to terms with her father’s brutal legacy. It is a harrowing story of abuse and shame compounded by cultural and linguistic isolation and a system of patriarchy that devalues the experiences of women and girls. At the same time, Las hijas de Juan is an inspiring tale, filled with strong women and hard-won solace found in traditional Mexican cooking, songs, and storytelling.
"Andrea O'Donnell did not fit what criminal justice experts call the "victim profile." The twenty-seven-year old women's studies major at San Diego State University was the director of the campus Women's Resource Center and a self-defense instructor. Nevertheless, in the early morning hours of November 5, 1994, she was brutally murdered. Her decomposed body was discovered in the apartment that she shared with her boyfriend, Andres English-Howard. In August 1995, he was convicted of first-degree murder. The night before he was scheduled to appear in court for sentencing, English-Howard hanged himself in his jail cell."--BOOK JACKET. "Author Kathleen B. Jones, one of O'Donnell's professors, was particularly shaken by her death. In Living Between Danger and Love, she examines O'Donnell's death and what it has to say to all of us. She provokes readers to consider the irony that our ideas about choice might prevent us from imagining and discovering social relationships of intimacy where love and power are not in conflict
2002 American Sociology Association Asia/Asian America Section Book Award
Over the past 20 years, much work has focused on domestic violence, yet little attention has been paid to the causes, manifestations, and resolutions to marital violence among ethnic minorities, especially recent immigrants. Margaret Abraham’s Speaking the Unspeakable is the first book to focus on South Asian women’s experiences of domestic violence, defined by the author as physical, sexual, verbal, mental, or economic coercion, power, or control perpetrated on a woman by her spouse or extended kin. Abraham explains how immigration issues, cultural assumptions, and unfamiliarity with American social, legal, economic, and other institutional systems, coupled with stereotyping, make these women especially vulnerable to domestic violence.
Abraham lets readers hear the voices of abused South Asian women. Through their stories, we learn of their weaknesses and strengths, and of their experiences of domestic violence within the larger cultural, social, economic, and political context. We see both the individual strategies of resistance against their abusers as well as the pivotal role South Asian organizations play in helping these women escape abusive relationships.
Abraham also describes the central role played by South Asian activism as it emerged in the 1980s in the United States, and addresses the ideas and practices both within and outside of the South Asian community that stereotype, discriminate, and oppress South Asians in their everyday lives.
Arrests of women for assault increased more than 40 percent over the past decade, while male arrests for this offense have fallen by about one percent. Some studies report that for the first time ever the rate of reported intimate partner abuse among men and women is nearly equal. Susan L. Miller’s timely book explores the important questions raised by these startling statistics.
Are women finally closing the gender gap on violence? Or does this phenomenon reflect a backlash shaped by men who batter? How do abusive men use the criminal justice system to increase control over their wives? Do police, courts, and treatment providers support aggressive arrest policies for women? Are these women “victims” or “offenders”?
In answering these questions, Miller draws on extensive data from a study of police behavior in the field, interviews with criminal justice professionals and social service providers, and participant observation of female offender programs. She offers a critical analysis of the theoretical assumptions framing the study of violence and provides insight into the often contradictory implications of the mandatory and pro-arrest policies enacted in the 1980s and 1990s. Miller argues that these enforcement strategies, designed to protect women, have often victimized women in different ways. Without sensationalizing, Miller unveils a reality that looks very different from what current statistics on domestic violence imply.
Dismantling the image of the peaceful and serene colonial goodwife and countering the assumption that New England was inherently less violent than other regions of colonial America, Emily C. K. Romeo offers a revealing look at acts of violence by Anglo-American women in colonial Massachusetts, from the everyday to the extraordinary. Using Essex County as a case study, Romeo deftly utilizes seventeenth- and eighteenth-century sources to demonstrate that Puritan women, both "virtuous" and otherwise, learned to negotiate the shifting boundaries between acceptable and unacceptable violence in their daily lives and communities.
The Virtuous and Violent Women of Seventeenth-Century Massachusetts shows that more dramatic violence by women—including infanticide, the scalping of captors during the Indian Wars, and even witchcraft accusations—was not necessarily intended to challenge the structures of authority but often sprung from women's desire to protect property, safety, and standing for themselves and their families. The situations in which women chose to flout powerful social conventions and resort to overt violence expose the underlying, often unspoken, priorities and gendered expectations that shaped this society.