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Voorkant Mills 'Insult to injury - Rethinking our responses to intimate abuse' Linda G. MILLS
Insult to injury - Rethinking our responses to intimate abuse
Princeton/Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2003; 178 blzn.; ISBN: 06 9109 6392

[Eerste een pagina's lange reeks van dankbetuigingen. Ik begrijp werkelijk niet waarom dat nodig is.]

(10) Prologue

Dit boek gaat over de alomtegenwoordigheid van geweld in 'intimate lives' en hoe we er over oordelen. Geweld wordt vaak ontkend, komt zogegezegd 'alleen bij anderen' voor. En hierbij identificeren we ons gemakkelijk met de kwetsbaren als kinderen en ouderen. Ze geeft het voorbeeld van een moeder die haar 5-jarig kind een flinke mep verkoopt waarna dat kind haar terugslaat.

"Becoming conscious of violence is always met with resistance. We have a hard time believing violence is occurring, even when it is direct and personal. We tend to run, either literally or metaphorically, so as to ignore it or put it behind us. Denial kicks in, and we are left pretending it never happened.
The only time we are truly comfortable thinking about violence is when it affects other people."(2)

"Consider this disturbing fact: after a few years have passed and the boy who hit his mother on Bethnal Green Road has become a man, it is statistically likely that he will hit a woman again. At that time, some people, especially a group called “mainstream feminists,” will argue for his arrest and prosecution. What is perhaps most troubling about this situation is that mainstream feminists would at the same time leave the mother blameless. Paradoxically, mainstream feminists are arguing in this situation for the disempowerment of the violent mother and the empowerment of the violent man. The mother, viewed as a victim, is without blame. The man is the cause and the sum of the violence he inflicts. The mother’s contribution to his trained reaction to women is ignored. In the most traditional of terms, he is everything, and she is nothing." [mijn nadruk] (3)

[Het probleem wordt geweldig goed neergezet: de vrouw die de jongen leerde om een gewelddadige man te worden wordt niet gezien, omdat vrouwen - vooral door feministes - als slachtoffer van mannen worden beschouwd.]

"The moment that he hits a woman, mainstream feminists have legislated that he be taken out of the context of his biography and into an automatic legal process in which he will be held absolutely accountable for any violence he committed. He will be defined as a product of patriarchy, and his masculine privilege will account for the sole source of his aggression. For many mainstream feminists, the causal relationship between patriarchy and violence is uniform and singular; heterosexual men beat women because of patriarchy. Domestic violence involves perpetrator and victim, and nothing more. While this makes for easy policy and uniform legislative solutions, it addresses the symptoms of intimate abuse and not its causes."(3)

"Many of the feminists who started and supported the battered women’s movement, however, have now begun to question the decision to focus so heavily on the criminal justice system.(...) Their continued advocacy for an almost exclusive focus on punishment in response to domestic violence represents the privilege of their assertion and the positions of power they hold. It also represents, I believe, their fear that if they capitulate in any way, or recognize any limitations to their approach, they will lose the benefits they have gained."(4)

"This book is a reflection on where I think some feminists went wrong in relation to domestic violence and the need for other feminists to assert a different agenda."(5)

"Whether by virtue of denial, projection, or privilege, mainstream feminists have been able to advocate for a uniform, and ironically conservative, law-and-order response to intimate abuse that blames men and ultimately treats women as innocent victims." [mijn nadruk] (6)

"What may come as a surprise to many people is that study after study confirms that arrest, prosecution, and incarceration do not necessarily reduce the problem of domestic violence and may even be making the problem worse. Arrest has been shown to have a positive deterrent effect on men who are “good-risk” perpetrators, that is, people who have something to lose by being incarcerated. On the other hand, the men most likely to be arrested because of the criminal justice system’s inherent class and race bias can become more violent in response to arrest. Even a coordinated response that includes arrest, prosecution, and incarceration has not shown better outcomes. Although there are conflicting results, no study documents an overwhelming reduction in intimate violence in the groups most likely to be arrested. At worst, the criminal justice system increases violence against women. At best, it has little or no effect." [mijn nadruk] (6)

"My argument is that recognizing that some men inflict severe physical and emotional violence on women is important, but in many cases it is neither the whole story of violence in that relationship, nor the most common instance of violence in the intimate sphere."(7)

"They called these battered women “victims.” The irony is that statistics reflected the fact that many of these women stayed and/or returned to their abusers. Yet shelter workers were politically motivated and did not stop to listen to the women who said that they sought only temporary refuge, that they were returning to their abusers. Women in abusive relationships remained unheard." [mijn nadruk] (7)

"Years of research, which mainstream feminism has glossed over or ignored, shows that when it comes to intimate abuse, women are far from powerless and seldom, if ever, just victims. Women are not merely passive prisoners of violent intimate dynamics. Like men, women are frequently aggressive in intimate settings and therefore may be more accurately referred to as “women in abusive relationships” (a term I prefer to the more common usages “battered women,” “victim,” or “survivor”)." [mijn nadruk] (8)

"We need to put aside our preconceptions of gender socialization and roles. Women are abusive in all forms and expressions in the intimate sphere, and it is up to feminists to do something about it."(9)

"Once we recognize intimate abuse as a dynamic, we can become more accepting of certain of its often inevitable features. Women stay in abusive relationships whether we approve or not. Studies have shown that half of women return to their abusive partners after they are discharged from a shelter. Women stay in violent and abusive intimate relationships for emotional, familial, cultural, religious, and economic reasons. They stay because they have an intimate relationship with and emotional attachment to their partners, their children, and the life they have built. For better or worse, their staying shows at least some resilience and strength, an ability to negotiate and to remain attached. Seeing staying in an abusive relationship as more than just women’s socialization within a patriarchal system is an important starting point for interrupting violence. This fact has been denied by mainstream feminists." [mijn nadruk] (9-10)

[Ik ben het erg met haar eens dat het barst van de vooroordelen rondom 'abuse' en dat je beter van 'abuse relationships' kunt spreken waarin vrouwen net zo agressief en vervelend kunnen zijn als mannen. Maar ik vind haar nog veel te mak als het gaat om de betrokken vrouwen. Als je terugkeert bij iemand die de vloer met je aanveegt, wat voor persoonlijkheid heb je dan? Is überhaupt onderzocht waarom dat gebeurt en wat daarvan de gevolgen zijn? En is er naar gekeken vanuit het perspectief dat je op die manier dus dat mannengedrag in stand houdt waarvan vrouwen zeggen dat ze er zo'n hekel aan te hebben? Menen die vrouwen dat wel? Vinden ze het stiekem toch niet leuk, zo'n agressieve man, zo'n echte kerel? Blijkbaar wel.]

"The reason that I label domestic violence as “intimate abuse” is precisely to draw attention to the crucial fact that intimate violence is intimate, a product of intimacy and an expression of relationship. Intimate abuse is a mode, however failing, of communication between lovers, friends, and family members, and not just between a mythologized patriarch and an innocent woman."(10)

"The war on drugs gets repeated in a war on violence and with similarly nugatory effects. Just as attempting to eradicate drugs without understanding their appeal tends to preclude both insight and effective policies in reducing their use, attempting to obliterate intimate violence without understanding it may increase the violence rather than reduce it. It is the intellectual equivalent of sweeping it under the carpet."(13)

[Dit boek bekritiseert dus bepaalde feministische opvattingen over huiselijk geweld. De proloog is in feite een samenvatting in grote lijnen van het belangrijkste van het boek. Ik ga de uitwerking verder niet lezen, het is niet helemaal mijn onderwerp zo bleek.]

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