Tactics of Anti-feminist Backlash

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Dragiewicz, Molly
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Carrington, Kerry

Ball, Matthew

O’Brien, Erin

Tauri, Juan Marcellus

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In 1976, Del Martin published Battered Wives, the first book devoted to the subject of men’s violence against female intimate partners in the United States. Martin observed that: The news media have often treated wife-abuse as a bizarre and relatively rare phenomenon - as occasional fodder for sensa- tionalistic reporting - but rarely as a social issue worthy of thorough investigation’ (1981: 15). While many of the underlying cultural issues Martin described in 1976 are still relevant, there has been a sea change in hegemonic discourses on men’s violence against women. Opposition to men’s violence against female intimate partners has become politically popular in the United States. One of the most visible symbols of this marked social change is the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). VAWA is a federal law which has enjoyed broad-based support since its passage in 1994. VAWA has been refined and expanded with each subsequent reauthorisation. The United States Department of Justice website describes it this way: In 1994, the U.S. Congress enacted the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), a comprehensive legislative package focused on violence against women. VAWA recognised the devastating consequences that violence has on women, families, and society as a whole. VAWA also acknowledged that violence against women requires specialised responses to address unique barriers that prevent victims from seeking assistance from the justice system. (United States Department of Justice, n.d.: para. 4) This excerpt highlights the now-dominant conceptualisation of violence against women as an important and gendered social problem requiring collective action.

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Crime, Justice and Social Democracy: International Perspectives

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Dragiewicz, M, Tactics of Anti-feminist Backlash, Crime, Justice and Social Democracy: International Perspectives, 2013, pp. 162-174