Latinas' Narratives of Domestic Abuse: Discrepant versions of violence

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John Benjamins Publishing, Nov 24, 2003 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 315 pages
In the American legal system valid witness-testimony is supposed to be invariable and unchanging, so defense attorneys highlight seeming inconsistencies in victims accounts to impeach their credibility. This book offers an examination of how and why victims of domestic violence might seem to be changing their stories, in the criminal justice system, which may leave them vulnerable to attack and criticism. Latinas Narratives of Domestic Abuse: Discrepant versions of violence investigates the discourse of protective order interviews, where women apply for court injunctions to keep abusers away. In these encounters, two different versions of violence, each influenced by a range of ethnolinguistic, intertextual and cultural factors, are always produced. This ethnography of Latina women narrating violence suggests that before victims even get to trial, their testimony involves much more than merely telling the truth. This book provides a unique look at pre-trial testimony as a collaborative and dynamic social and cultural act.

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Contents

1 Narrating violence in institutional settings
1
2 Telling the truth about violence
15
3 Representation ownership and genre
37
4 Telling and retelling
57
5 The protective order interview
87
6 Disappearing acts
121
7 Disfigurement and discrepancy
155
8 Transforming domestic violence into narrative syntax
191
9 Beyond the storytelling taboo
225
10 Discrepant versions and the margins
269
References
279
Glossary of legal terms
295
Author index
301
Subject index
305
STUDIES IN LANGUAGE AND SOCIETY
315
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