Domestic Violence, Essays

Cross Cultural Perspectives on Family Violence: A Reflection

My summer course has not yielded quite as much writing material as I had hoped it might. I have entered the final week of class and have submitted all coursework as of this morning. All I have left to do now is take the final exam, and I can put one more course behind me! Today I would like to share my weekly reflection paper to give you an idea of some of the more important issues discussed in this course.

Why doesn’t she “just leave?”

My understanding from all of the readings and other materials from this course is that it is very rare for batterers to ever change their behaviors, let alone as a response to court-ordered interventions. A batterer has to honestly admit to his wrongdoing, be held accountable for the damage he has caused, and make a personal commitment to change in order to stop his abusive behaviors.


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Most court-ordered treatment programs are frequented by batterers who are only doing what they have to do to meet the court’s minimum requirements. It is highly unlikely that the batterer will stop abusing his victim under such circumstances. In most cases, the best possible outcome for the victim is to successfully leave the relationship for good. Unfortunately, it is not as simple as “just leaving.” Continue reading “Cross Cultural Perspectives on Family Violence: A Reflection”

Book Reviews

Book Review: Spinster by Kate Bolick

Spinster by Kate BolickIn this fascinating memoir, Kate Bolick turns the history of women and marriage in America as I learned it completely on its head. According to Bolick, much of what has been spouted as truth by the  mainstream these past few decades  turns out to be false. Not just false, but one bald-faced lie after another.

This text so resonated with me, I could not put it down. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt this way about a book, and I have to wonder what has changed in me since my early 20s that I now find it so hard to relate to the characters in the books I read the way I used to. Why is no one writing about strong women whose lives do not revolve around “the question of when to marry and who?” Continue reading “Book Review: Spinster by Kate Bolick”

Bibliography

Annotated Bib: “Gender and Violence”

This week’s Annotated Bibliography entry reviews an article by Jacquelyn Knoblock, a domestic violence survivor who examines the role of gender expectations in her experience of a violent intimate partner relationship. You may view the full text here.

Annotated Bib Entry

Knoblock, Jacquelyn. “Gender And Violence.” Human Architecture: Journal of The Sociology of Self-Knowledge 6.2 (2008): 91-101. SocINDEX with Full Text. Web. 17 Mar. 2015.

In this article, Knoblock explores “how gender ideologies and practices contribute to gender based violence” (91). She discusses issues such as the process by which human beings are classified as male or female, the stratification of genders in which “men are ranked above women within the same race and class,” and the structure of our society that dictates gender roles and determines whether certain tasks – for example, household chores – are considered by society as either male or female. Knoblock then connects these elements to the prevalence of gender based violence in American society.

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Women are nine times less safe in the home than out of it.

Throughout the history of the world, and the United States, gender based violence has been widely considered to be a personal issue rather than a societal issue. Gender based violence occurs most often in situations where the perpetrator maintains the perception that he has the right to behave in a violent manner toward the victim. In the United States, this most often occurs within the context of an intimate partner relationship and thus has often been viewed as a private matter. This view has often lead bystanders to ignore the violence, believing that it is “none of their business.” Continue reading “Annotated Bib: “Gender and Violence””

Bibliography, Book Reviews

The Annotated Bib: Amazons and Mothers?

Have you ever had to write an annotated bibliography? I have, once, and I hated it! Well, guess what I get to do for the Studies in Women’s Writing course I am taking this semester. You guessed it: an annotated bibliography! This assignment requires that I read and analyze a minimum of ten scholarly secondary sources on the subject of “women’s writing.” The annotated bib will be almost as long as my final paper!

After all these years of blogging, it seems like a waste of time to me to put so much effort into writing something that will result in nothing more than a grade. As with much of my other school writing, I am adapting this assignment to generate content for my blog. Over the coming weeks, I will be posting my individual annotated bibliography entries as blog posts.

So, without further ado, I present to you the very first entry in my annotated bibliography!

Amazons and Mothers? Monique Wittig, Helène Cixous and Theories of Women’s Writing

Griffin Crowder, Diane. “Amazons and Mothers? Monique Wittig, Helène Cixous and Theories of Women’s Writing.” Contemporary Literature L’Écriture Féminine 24.2 (1983): 117-44. JSTOR. Web. 23 Feb. 2015.

This article explores the modern feminist notion that the oppression of women is a changeable social construct that does not depend on the fact that women are born with the potential to bear children. The article discusses the women’s writing theories of French feminists Monique Wittig and Helene Cixous. While “Cixous views motherhood as a primary trait of women” (132), Wittig views the tendency of women to identify primarily with the role of mother as oppressive. Continue reading “The Annotated Bib: Amazons and Mothers?”

Illinois, Women in the World

Stop apologizing for existing

Castle at Illinois State UniversityI recently started a new job at a large state university, and I have been a little disturbed by something I have witnessed since the students returned to campus last week. No, I’m not talking about how filthy the restroom outside my office is now (seriously, you’re supposedly adults: clean up after yourselves!) What I am talking about is how often I hear the young women in my vicinity apologizing for existing.

It happens to all of us, but especially to those of us who live or work in heavily populated areas where there are a lot of people coming and going. You step around a corner or go to open a door and almost run into someone who is coming toward you, heading in the opposite direction from which you are going. Neither of you has done anything wrong. You simply happen to be trying to exist in the same time and space, and each of you has a need to move in the opposite direction from the other. Not a big deal, right?

But the thing that bothers me about this common, everyday (sometimes every hour, when classes are letting out all at once) occurrence is that the males I am almost running into on a regular basis will usually say, “Excuse me,” while the females will invariably say, “I’m sorry.” Continue reading “Stop apologizing for existing”