A Troubled Marriage: Domestic Violence and the Legal System (Paperback)

A Troubled Marriage: Domestic Violence and the Legal System By Leigh Goodmark Cover Image

A Troubled Marriage: Domestic Violence and the Legal System (Paperback)

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The development of a legal regime to combat domestic violence in the United States has been lauded as one of the feminist movement's greatest triumphs. But, Leigh Goodmark argues, the resulting system is deeply flawed in ways that prevent it from assisting many women subjected to abuse. The current legal response to domestic violence is excessively focused on physical violence; this narrow definition of abuse fails to provide protection from behaviors that are profoundly damaging, including psychological, economic, and reproductive abuse. The system uses mandatory policies that deny women subjected to abuse autonomy and agency, substituting the state's priorities for women's goals.


A Troubled Marriage is 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. Goodmark argues for an anti-essentialist system, which would define abuse and allocate power in a manner attentive to the experiences, goals, needs and priorities of individual women. Theoretically rich yet conversational, A Troubled Marriage imagines a legal system based on anti-essentialist principles and suggests ways to look beyond the system to help women find justice and economic stability, engage men in the struggle to end abuse, and develop community accountability for abuse.
Leigh Goodmark is Marjorie Cook Professor of Law at the University of Maryland Carey School of Law. She is the author of many books includingDecriminalizing Domestic Violence: A Balanced Policy Approach to Intimate Partner Violence, A Troubled Marriage: Domestic Violence and the Legal System, and Imperfect Victims: Criminalized Survivors and the Promise of Abolition Feminism. She is also the editor of Comparative Perspectives on Gender Violence: Lessons from Efforts Worldwide.
Product Details ISBN: 9781479858576
ISBN-10: 1479858579
Publisher: New York University Press
Publication Date: November 1st, 2013
Pages: 264
Language: English