Sourcebook on Violence against Women


Claire M. Renzetti, Jeffrey L. Edleson & Raquel Kennedy Bergen

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  • Front Matter
  • Back Matter
  • Subject Index
  • Part I: Theoretical and Methodological Issues in Researching Violence against Women

    Part II: Types of Violence against Women

    Part III: Prevention and Direct Intervention

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    Foreword to the Second Edition

    It is with heavy hearts that we remember the two passionate, tireless advocates who authored the first foreword for this Sourcebook on Violence Against Women. When we lost Paul and Sheila Wellstone on October 25, 2002, Minnesotans were deprived of a critical voice in Congress and “the conscience of the Senate,” and women everywhere lost two powerful voices on domestic violence issues. Paul and Sheila fervently believed that domestic violence wasn't just a law enforcement issue—it was an issue about civil rights, about justice and human dignity.

    We honor their memory, however, by carrying on their work today.

    In the past several decades, thanks to the work of many individuals and organizations, there has been a sea change in the way our society looks at violence in the home. Police, the courts, and the public used to consider domestic violence a private family matter. It is not surprising that domestic violence was the most underreported crime in the country. Too many women, for too long, silently fought what some advocates have called “the war at home.”

    There is more awareness today, and in the last two decades, we've passed critical legislation to help combat domestic violence. In fact, last year was the 15th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), a groundbreaking Act that constituted federal recognition of the harm that domestic violence causes women, families, and society at large. VAWA has already been reauthorized twice and will need to be reauthorized again in 2011—an effort we will support enthusiastically.

    Despite this remarkable progress, there is still more to be done.

    Last year, a survey done by the National Network to End Domestic Violence found that in one single day, more than 60,000 people received help from domestic violence programs—and nearly 9,000 requests for help went unanswered because the resources weren't there. And, despite years of effort to combat this problem, the statistics on domestic violence are still staggering:

    • Currently, almost one in four women will experience abuse in her lifetime.
    • Women make up 70% of victims killed by an intimate partner—a proportion that has changed very little since 1993.
    • One in six children of all ages have reportedly witnessed domestic violence, and more than one in three older children—14 to 17 years of age—reported they have witnessed domestic violence in their lifetime.

    We must recognize that it doesn't take a bruise or a broken bone for a child to be a victim of domestic violence. Witnessing violence between adults in the home—especially when it is ongoing—inflicts a very real trauma on kids that can have damaging effects for years to come. In fact, boys who witness domestic violence are statistically far more likely to repeat the cycle of violence by becoming abusers themselves. Thus, preventing violence against women is critical for more than one generation of victims.

    This second edition of the Sourcebook on Violence Against Women continues the important work that the first edition began. It will be an invaluable resource for policy makers, advocates, researchers, and students who want to understand the constellation of issues surrounding violence against women so that we can better assist women who are harmed and so that we can prevent these acts of violence in the future.

    As Paul and Sheila Wellstone wrote in the foreword to the first edition, violence against women “is startlingly common, and our efforts to stop it must be relentless to be effective.” We vow to be relentless—on behalf of Paul and Sheila, and for domestic violence survivors everywhere. Together, we can fight—and win—the war at home.

    AmyKlobuchar, United States SenatorAlFranken, United States Senator Minnesota

    Foreword to the First Edition

    Ten years ago, we began a journey. With the guidance of researchers, educators, and advocates, we set out to learn everything we could about the violence against women that affects so many. We traveled around the country to hear the stories of battered women and their children, to see firsthand the operation of shelters and crisis centers, and, ultimately, to gather the tools needed to create effective public policy. We were fueled by a collective passion not only to pass legislation that would affect the lives of women living with violence but also to concurrently create a heightened awareness of this epidemic.

    The grassroots efforts of women's organizations, college students, advocates, educators, policy makers, and courageous women who have survived this violence have caused a paradigm shift. In 1994, Congress passed the most comprehensive antiviolence legislation to date. The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) of 1994 put a legislative frame around the whole of our efforts. Our work now continues in the spirit of expanding this law and its enforcement, increasing women's access to services, and providing tools for those community-based organizations to expand their research, collaborations, and services.

    As we consulted the enormous amount of information available, we felt the lack of a comprehensive resource that would augment our experiences. We recognized that such a resource would serve as a valuable educational tool for the general public. We have now found a compilation of all of these resources in the Sourcebook on Violence Against Women.

    In the Sourcebook, we find a uniquely comprehensive resource on violence against women issues. Topics include types of violence, prevention and direct intervention strategies, and an informative essay on VAWA. Drs. Renzetti, Edleson, and Bergen have brought policy makers, advocates, and researchers together to address these issues in striking form, and the Sourcebook will serve as a comprehensive tool for students and consumers across lines of gender, age, and profession.

    For the first time in one book, great minds from three domains address the issue of violence against women in a more effective and thus life-saving form. For too long, researchers, advocates, and policy makers have engaged in separate efforts, and thus, their outcomes have lacked full efficacy. Only when all three entities work together can these issues be addressed authentically to truly help those who experience this violence. This shared work of a concerted group of experts promises to affect all of us by saving the lives of women.

    The Sourcebook encompasses multiple aspects of violence against women, including rape, female genital mutilation, sexual assault, and domestic violence. It addresses prevention and direct intervention by providing information on services, shelters, and other intervention strategies that will improve the way that violence against women is addressed, prosecuted, and prevented through education. In this book, we find ideas that will be catalysts to awareness, prevention, and intervention. The book will serve as a resource to people of any class, gender, age, and profession and will help to instill in our society the values that will alleviate violence against women.

    Violence against women happens to the women we love, the women with whom we work and worship, our neighbors, and our friends. Violence knows no boundaries, not economic status, sexual identity, rural or urban residence, race or religious affiliation, age or gender. It is startlingly common, and our efforts to stop it must be relentless to be effective.

    The Sourcebook will facilitate these efforts. It will affect our communities and ourselves by providing ideas and awareness, which will lead to stronger prevention and intervention. Drs. Renzetti, Edleson, and Bergen have combined communities of thinkers in a concerted effort to challenge this convention of behavior and to change the lives of women by alleviating fear and ending the cycle of violence. It is a controversial and forward-thinking piece of work, which addresses topics that warrant attention and have often been taboo. This unfiltered look at the violence that permeates women's lives will no doubt enrich our understanding and expand our capacity to effect social and legislative change. Sourcebook on Violence Against Women is a landmark in this journey.

    Paul D.Wellstone, United States SenatorSheilaWellstone, National Domestic Violence, Advocate, August, 2000 St.Paul, Minnesota


    Welcome to the second edition of the Sourcebook on Violence Against Women. When Kassie Graves, editor at Sage, contacted us about revising the Sourcebook, the three of us had already discussed the possibility. The first edition had been widely used by faculty, students, researchers, practitioners, and librarians, and we received much helpful feedback. But much more material had been written in the nearly 10 years since the first edition was published, so the need for an update was critical. Not only had the literature on violence against women grown and matured, but it had also branched into new areas, both substantive and geographic. We felt the time was right for a second edition and we were pleased that Kassie thought so, too.

    This edition of the Sourcebook is composed of 18 chapters, organized into three Parts: theoretical and methodological issues in researching violence against women (Chapters 13), types of violence against women (Chapters 49), and prevention and direct intervention (Chapters 1018). Each Part opens with a brief introduction that previews the forthcoming chapters. Each chapter is original and was written specifically for this volume. As in the first edition, one of our goals was to be thorough in coverage, but it is nearly impossible to include all the topics worthy of discussion in this ever-growing field and still keep the book to a manageable size. We asked contributors to be cognizant of diversity issues and cultural contexts. We asked that, whenever possible, contributors discuss the intersecting effects of inequalities of race and ethnicity, social class, physical ability and disability, age, sexual orientation, and geographic location. Some topics that appeared in the first edition are covered here, of course, but we also include new topics in this second edition, such as assessment, pornography, economic issues, legislative initiatives to address violence against women, primary prevention, faith-based programs and initiatives, and school-based programs. Once again, our objective is less to provide exhaustive coverage and more to encourage discussion and debate about critically important topics.

    Also new to this edition are the personal reflections that follow each chapter. We asked prominent researchers and practitioners in the field of violence against women to tell us what sparked their interest in their particular specialty, where they see the field headed in relation to their specialty, and what they consider to be their major contributions or the major contributions of others to their specialized domain. These brief autobiographies provide insight into the individual motivations and accomplishments of professionals working in the area of violence against women. We hope they, along with the chapters, will inspire students especially to seriously consider a career in this challenging, but highly rewarding, field.

    As in the first edition, the ordering of the editorship for this book is arbitrary; the labor was shared equally among the editors, and the end product is the result of the genuine teamwork that characterized the entire editing process. Of course, we have incurred many debts over the past 16 months, so words of gratitude are in order. First, we thank Charles (Terry) Hendrix, retired editor extraordinaire of books on interpersonal violence for Sage. It was Terry who planted the idea for the first edition of the Sourcebook in our heads 10 years ago and encouraged us to pursue this project and many others. We also thank Kassie Graves, the current editor at Sage, who supported publication of the second edition; production editor Catherine Chilton; and copy editor Diana Breti. The book is better for your attention and care. We are indebted most of all to the chapter and personal reflection authors for their contributions to the Sourcebook and for their unflagging commitment to ending violence against women. We remember the late Senator Paul Wellstone and Sheila Wellstone, who wrote the foreword to the first edition and who worked tirelessly to address the problem of violence against women. And we thank Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Senator Al Franken (D-MN) for writing the foreword to this edition and for their advocacy in Congress on behalf of women victims of violence.

    Claire Renzetti wishes to acknowledge her sons, Sean and Aidan Curran, because she is proud of the young men they have grown to be: gentle men who respect others, appreciate difference, and seek nonviolent solutions to disagreements and conflict. Jeffrey Edleson wishes to acknowledge his partner, Sudha Shetty, who has shown him how a passionate advocate for battered women and their children can make a difference both in their day-to-day lives and in the systems worldwide that affect them. He also acknowledges his four sons, Daniel, Eli, Nevin, and Neil, who have all become young men and from whom he has learned so much. Raquel Kennedy Bergen wishes to acknowledge her children, Michael Ryan and Devon, who teach her the importance of loving, supportive relationships every day. She is also grateful to her Rape Education Prevention Program (REPP) students at Saint Joseph's University, who exemplify commitment and passion for ending violence against women. Finally, we're grateful to each other for hard work, collegiality, good humor, and most of all for our friendship over many years. With every project on which we have collaborated, our energy and support have sustained one another through even the most difficult and frustrating times, both personal and professional.


    SAGE Publications would like to thank the following reviewers:

    Stephanie Riger

    University of Illinois at Chicago

    Justin Holcomb

    University of Virginia

    Lu Zhang

    The Ohio State University

    Daniel Saunders

    University of Michigan

    Nancy Berns

    Drake University

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