Battering of Women: The Failure of Intervention and the Case for Prevention

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Westview Press, 1993 - Family & Relationships - 230 pages
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Why have most interventions failed to decrease domestic violence in this country? Larry Tifft provides reasons—and suggests possible solutions—in this revealing study of the cultural, social structural, and interpersonal dynamics that support a man’s choice to batter his intimate partner.Tifft addresses the cultural underpinnings of violence against women, including the gender hierarchy evident in the basic structure of our society and in our institutions. Through an analysis of the stages in the battering process, he explores the context, meanings, and decision-making processes that lead men to batter women and encourage women to choose various coping, resistance, and survival strategies. What emerges from Tifft’s study are not only patterns of physical violence, but also patterns of sexual, psychological, and spiritual violence that the batterer uses to control his partner’s thoughts, to annihilate her voice, and to deconstruct her sense of self and reality.Intrapersonal and interpersonal interventions have failed to decrease the prevalence of battering in our society. Primary prevention strategies designed to change the social structural arrangements that foster violence are likely to be much more effective. Tifft explains why and how these community-coordinated interventions, which challenge our most basic assumptions, are our best hope for reducing the incidence of battering.

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About the Book and Author

Interpersonal Intervention Programs

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Page 173 - Every child, despite his individual differences and uniqueness is to be considered of equal intrinsic worth, and hence should be entitled to equal social, economic, civil, and political rights, so that he may fully realize his inherent potential and share equally in life, liberty, and happiness. Obviously, these value premises are rooted in the humanistic philosophy of our Declaration of Independence.
Page 173 - This definition views child abuse as inflicted gaps or deficits between circumstances of living which would facilitate the optimal development of children, to which they should be entitled, and their actual circumstances, irrespective of the sources or agents of the deficit...
Page 17 - faggot," "pervert." It is at puberty that the full force of society's pressure to conform to heterosexuality and prepare for marriage is brought to bear. Children know what we have taught them, and we have given clear messages that those who deviate from standard expectations are to be made to get back in line. The best controlling tactic at puberty is to be treated as an outsider, to be ostracized at a time when it feels most vital to be accepted.
Page 17 - To be a lesbian is to be perceived as someone who has stepped out of line, who has moved out of sexual/economic dependence on a male, who is woman-identified. A lesbian is perceived as someone who can live without a man, and who is therefore (however illogically) against men. A lesbian is perceived as being outside the acceptable, routinized order of things. She is seen as someone who has no societal institutions to protect her and who is not privileged to the protection of individual males.
Page 19 - Hart (1986) carefully and concretely defines lesbian battering as that pattern of violent and coercive behaviors whereby a lesbian seeks to control the thoughts, beliefs, or conduct of her intimate partner or to punish the intimate for resisting the perpetrator's control over her.
Page xiii - Van Hasselt et al, eds., Handbook of Family Violence (New York: Plenum, 1988), pp. 104-106. Suzanne Pharr, "The Connection Between Homophobia and Violence Against Women,
Page 18 - ... must be punished, homophobia can wield its power over all women through lesbian baiting. Lesbian baiting is an attempt to control women by labeling us as lesbians because our behavior is not acceptable, that is, when we are being independent, going our own way, living whole lives, fighting for our rights, demanding equal pay, saying no to violence, being self-assertive, bonding with and loving the company of women, assuming the right to our bodies, insisting upon our own authority, making changes...
Page 101 - Hastings (1988) also integrate sociopolitical and psychological theory in their work, stating that "psychopathology must be considered part of the picture for a majority of identified batterers
Page 19 - ... that pattern of violent and coercive behaviors whereby a lesbian seeks to control the thoughts, beliefs or conduct of her intimate partner or to punish the intimate for resisting the perpetrator's control over her. Individual acts of physical violence, by this definition, do not constitute lesbian battering. Physical violence is not battering unless it results in the enhanced control of the batterer over the recipient.

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About the author (1993)

Larry L. Tifft is professor of sociology at Central Michigan University. He is author, with Dennis Sullivan, of The Struggle to Be Human: Crime, Criminology, and Anarchism and the forthcoming The Social Structural Roots of Crime.

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