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Lecture

Intimate Partner Violence.docx


Department
Social Science
Course Code
SOSC 1350
Professor
Julie Dowsett

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February 15, 2012
INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE
Violence is a term associated with the family, labor, intimate partner it’s impossible to talk about
the family and relationships unless you also talk about the violence that’s present within the
family and many intimate relationships
29% of women at some point in their lives will be a victim of violence in some point of their lives
Power dynamics can be said to exist within every single Canadian family. There are substantial
difference between family members (i.e., income, age, strength, height, weight etc.), and these
differences significantly contribute to power dynamics
Sometimes these power dynamics translate into violence
The single most dangerous place for women is the family home not the sort of people that
women are told that they should fear (i.e., not an alley way, it’s not a “sketchy” neighborhood etc.)
The leading cause of death for women at work is being murdered by her spouse or partner if
she’s murdered at work, it’s not because of an accident relating to work machinery etc., but
because her spouse knows where to find her and that’s where he’ll kill her – violence from within
the family home extending to the workplace
Intimate partner violence is a very significant problem in Canada 1 in 2 people will be the victim
of violence, and 29% will be a victim of abuse because of an intimate partner
Multiculturalism Prof. Dowsett is very critical of the discourse that assumes that violence against
women only takes place in so-called “backward” or “uncivilized” countries.
o Article in the Globe and Mail critiques this discourse. The author is critiquing the
mainstream media’s focus on honor killings. It argues that the problem with violence
against women is that honor killing is just a ‘drop in the bucket’ in terms of how much
violence against women there is in Canada
February 16, 2012
Tutorial
Battered Women Syndrome (BWS) a psy discourse a psychological explanation that is
often used as a defense in cases where women have committed harm toward their partner (i.e.,
murder).
o It explains why an abused woman stays in a particular relationship and why she lashes out.
This discourse explains why the woman has committed the crime
o It explains it in the sense that she’s put up with years of abuse.
o Men are often killed when they are sleeping BWS is used to defend this in that it explains
that the woman is basically experiencing “learned helplessness” – which is a psychological
state in which you’re conditioned to a state of helplessness.
Limitations of BWS (see Comack reading):
o Psychology it looks at each individual (rather than the entire social construct) and sees
something lacking, and if the focus is only on the women as missing something, some
women don’t leave their husbands because economically it’s not good for them. This
explanation doesn’t look to solve the entire problem of violence against women
o Not a defense bias toward male, it’s not all the time that when a woman is being beaten
that she’ll retaliate, therefore its questionable as to whether or not she can actually plead
guilty using self-defense. In order for BWS to be applicable, it must reasonably occur to the
accused that the threat is imminent. There’s a male bias because if we were to understand
the way women and men are, men tend to be physically stronger than women. Therefore,
it’s not always equal

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o Woman has to fit a particular idea of a battered woman BWS is bias, and makes particular
assumptions about women there’s a conception of what a battered woman is and it’s
problematic because there are only certain cases when this defense will be accepted, and
it’s all about how the court will perceive you
o Doesn’t look at the behavior of male – why do men continue to violate women? (i.e.,
marriage and divorce reading there’s this understanding that women are the property of
men and historically, men were allowed to beat there wives) doesn’t take into account out
patriarchy and paternalism are involved. Social services, funding towards this issue to that
women can access these services in order to not limit the defense to purely psychological
February 29, 2012
1. What is Violence?
The nature of violence is not always self-evident
Violence can be physical (i.e., punching, kicking, murder etc.), sexual (i.e., rape, unwanted
touching), verbal/psychological (i.e., threats to harm children, destruction of a women’s favorite
clothing or photographs, repeated insults either private or in front of others, insults meant to
diminish self-esteem, threats to further violence or deportation)
Can also include stalking, persisted/unwanted attention, financial (i.e., taking away a woman’s
wages or other income, or limiting access to family income)
a. Violence involves control and abuse of power
Today in the feminist literature, violence is known to take over many different forms, and
all of these forms involve the control and abuse of power
b. Violence against women is about the control and coercion of women
This is particularly the case with violence against women which is about the control and
coercion of women
2. Violence Against Women in Canada: A Snapshot
a. 1 in 2 Canadian women have survived at least one incident of physical or sexual
violence
b. Over a quarter (29%) of Canadian women have been assaulted by a spouse
Of these women, 45% suffered physical injury (includes internal injuries, scratching,
burning, miscarriages etc.)
In Canada 4 out of 5 people murdered by their spouses are women murdered by their male
spouse every week 1 or 2 women are killed by their spouse
Violence within in families doesn’t just occur against women, but children as well – both
boys and girls. However, 4 out of 5 victims of family-related sexual assaults are girls, and
they tend to be targets of violence of all kinds more than boys
Spousal homicide accounts for 1/3 of all murders of women over 65
Over 1 million children have witnessed violence against their mothers by their fathers
In 52% the mother feared for her life, and in 61% the mother sustained physical injury
In Canada, a man who abuses his female partner is able to stay in his own home while
women and children must often move from shelter to shelter
c. 21% of women abused by a partner were assaulted during pregnancy; for 40% of
these women report that the abuse began during pregnancy
abuse often begins or worsens during pregnancy which is problematic because it’s during
this time that women are most vulnerable and in need of support
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