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A Troubled Marriage


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A provocative exploration of how the legal system's response to domestic violence developed, why that response is flawed, and what we should do to change it.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments Introduction 1 Developing the Legal Response 2 Defining Domestic Violence 3 Deconstructing the Victim 4 Separation 5 Mandatory Interventions 6 Reframing Domestic Violence Law and Policy: Anti-Essentialist Principles 7 A Reconstructed Legal System 8 Beyond the Law Notes Bibliography Index About the Author

About the Author

Leigh Goodmark is Professor of Law, Director of Clinical Education, and Co-Director of the Center on Applied Feminism at the University of Baltimore School of Law.


"A Troubled Marriage is powerful and spot-on in its challenges to those of us who have given over so much to the state through law and funding. It is a must read for everyone involved in crafting law, litigating for reforms, creating new services and assistance (which may or may not be what battered women would chose) and surrendering to the power of the state in so many ways. I urge activists to come together for conversation and debate about A Troubled Marriage." -Barbara J. Hart, co-founder, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence "We all think we know what 'justice' is, what it looks like. But in this thoroughly researched and carefully argued book, Leigh Goodmark demonstrates that justice has multiple meanings, depending on who is doing the defining. She also makes clear that women who have been abused often find their ability to define and seek justice usurped by others who believe they know 'what's best.' Goodmark's analysis highlights the possibilities and limits of law for abused women seeking justice, and proposes extra-legal remedies that will undoubtedly spark debate, but ultimately may prove appealing to the true experts on domestic violence: women who have experienced abuse." -Claire M. Renzetti, author of Feminist Criminology "In this important book, Goodmark bravely exposes the range of feminist premises about violence in the home, steadfastly confronts the paradoxical reality of under- and over-enforcement of existing law, and calls for a wide new range of remedies far beyond the ken of dominance feminism's crabbed penal imagination. Respect for women's agency and women's strategies in and through sex and power animate this dramatic, comprehensive, immensely readable, completely new approach. Goodmark's anti-essentialist feminism is the voice of a new generation. It could change the program of legal feminism, vastly for the better." -Janet Halley, author of Split Decisions: How and Why to Take a Break from Feminism "[A] compelling reappraisal of domestic violence...outstanding for collections on women and the law, domestic violence, and victimization. Highly recommended." -D. Schultz, CHOICE

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