(cross-posted on MzellenReads)
"In Violent Partners, Linda Mills continues to ask dangerous questions - about women's propensity to violence; about the murky powers stirring partnerships; about the ways in which the flaws and failures of the women's movement's response may have unintentionally sustained some of our collective risk. In addition, she bravely confronts her own complicity in the violence that helped shape her life: (Adrian Nicole LeBlanc, author of "Random Family")
Even the introduction is packed with information. Mills asks,
"(...)But has this enormous revolution in both public perception and public policy made America less violent? Are there fewer batterers than before? Are batterers learning to take responsibility for their behavior? Are women safer or more in control of their own lives?"
She begins to answer:
"(...)the ideology and rhetoric of the anti-domestic violence movement have become so rigid that they have created a new set of myths - or, at the very least, a new set of highly partial truths - that can be as pernicious as those we fought so hard to dispel years ago."
The book is about realities:
- the popular perception of domestic violence (...)represents only a small fraction of the American couples struggling with violence today
- Yesterday's victims often become tomorrow's criminals. Most researchers (...) now agree that child abuse if far more responsible for creating batterers than sexist attitudes and beliefs, and yet most batterer intervention programs fail to acknowledge this troubling legacy
- Violence is dehumanizing not only for the victim for for ther perpetrator as well. When we treat the batterer as a pariah, we may be discouraging them from seeking help
- Women frequently strike out - and not only in self-defense; in 24% of American marriages only the woman is abusive
Mills (in the introduction) makes it clear that she is not trying to demonize the movement, but rather expand it and adjust it to include the greater needs that have been covered up to this point (unintentionally, but unnoticed just the same)