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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 76139 Find in a Library
Title: Violence Against Women - Some Considerations Regarding Its Causes and Its Elimination
Journal: Crime and Delinquency  Volume:27  Issue:1  Dated:(January 1981)  Pages:64-80
Author(s): D Klein
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 17
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Many forms of violence against women are explained in terms of women's experiences in male - dominated society and then related to relevant issues in contemporary criminal justice.
Abstract: A review of the female experience throughout history reveals that injuries to women are often linked to their sex roles as childbearers, sexual objects for men, and nurturers. Violent and nonviolent abuse of women is latently encouraged in a society which formally disapproves of it, as evidenced in abortion restrictions and media advertising. The rise of industrial capitalism in the 19th century altered the productive character of the home and isolated women from public economic and political institutions. As women were confined to their separate domestic sphere, male control over childbearing intensified through antibirth control legislation, sterilization of mental patients and criminal offenders, and replacement of the midwife by male gynecologists. Women have also been victimized as sexual objects for men. Beginning in the mid-19th century, a powerful double standard of sexuality has developed for both the genders and for different classes of women, along with contradictory marketing of sexuality as a universal and equalitarian commodity. The myth that women desire or secretly provoke rape lives on, despite documented reports of women's fears of rape. When men lack power over their own lives because of the political and economic system, they become accustomed to taking out their resentements on women. Nurturing is an integral part of most female occupations, but the nurturer becomes the scapegoat when things go awry. In Europe between the 14th and 17th centuries, female lay healers were persecuted as witches. Today, battered wives constitute a contemporary example of abuse of women as nurturers. As long as families remain microscosms of male domination and deposits for class and racial injustices, battles between men and women will continue and be fueled by a society torn by sexism and exploitation. Recent concern with violene against women from criminal justice professionals has focused on regulation rather than elimination, and policing individuals instead of reordering society. Although women have made gains in the areas of rape law, antipornography statutes, and help for abused wives, institutional supports for sexism remain unchanged. Viable solutions will emerge out of practical activities and will require forms of intervention that collectively and democratically develop from people' concerns. Over 30 footnotes are included. (Author abstract modified)
Index Term(s): Abortion; Battered wives; Female sex roles; Females; Rape; Sex discrimination; Victims of Crime; Violence; Women's rights
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