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Insult to Injury: Rethinking our Responses to Intimate Abuse Paperback – September 10, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-0691127729 ISBN-10: 0691127727

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (September 10, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691127727
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691127729
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.8 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #888,216 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In a bold new book guaranteed to cause a stir among mainstream feminists as well as among mental health and law-enforcement professionals, Mills exposes the limitations and shortcomings of the current approaches toward domestic violence. Although activists have helped get domestic abuse on the criminal justice map, Mills, a professor of both law and social work at NYU, asserts that their strategies have a tendency to ignore the racial, ethnic and religious complexities of domestic violence. In some cases, she argues, current policies may even exacerbate the problem. For example, by failing to recognize the individual needs of women in abusive relationships, "mandatory arrest" policies may strip women of their agency, thus perpetuating their role as helpless victims. Mills also challenges the axioms upon which the existing theoretical model is predicated (namely, that abuse is caused by patriarchy and sexism), and she demonstrates how such assumptions create a static, one-sided view that runs contrary to the dynamic, shifting and cyclical reality of intimate abuse. In one of her most provocative statements, Mills asserts that the current simplistic view may be motivated by "countertransference reactions of mainstream feminists and some helping professionals" who have themselves suffered abuse. Women can be as aggressive as men, she points out, and regardless of gender a child who endures violence is three times more likely to become violent as an adult. While she agrees that perpetrators should be held accountable, her new paradigm eschews punishment in favor of a "restorative justice" approach, which encourages dialogue in a counseling group called the Intimate Circle of Abuse (ICA). Mills's hope is that, in ICA, couples will begin to understand their narratives of abuse, and equip themselves with the skills necessary to prevent future recurrences. Hers is a system both inclusive and liberating; whether it is idealistic remains to be seen.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"A bold new book guaranteed to cause a stir among mainstream feminists as well as among mental health and law-enforcement professionals."--Publishers Weekly

"Drawing both on research and on her own experience in the field, Mills concludes that the conventional feminist paradigm of domestic violence as a form of patriarchal oppression is woefully inadequate. . . . [Mills's] message needs to be heard by politicians, judges, prosecutors and many others. It took the 'mainstream' feminists about 30 years to establish their monopoly on the public debate about domestic violence. Mills's book may be the first step in dismantling that monopoly."--Cathy Young, Boston Globe

"The real strength of Mill's book lies in her repudiation of a one-size-fits-all approach to domestic violence. . . . As a challenge tocurrent dogma, it is a breath of fresh air. One can only hope that its alternative message will be heard in the courses and seminars held across the country to educate counselors, law enforcement, and judges about domestic violence."--Cathy Young, Reason

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Edward Kelly on November 12, 2003
Format: Hardcover
An honest and courageous look at how despite good intentions, feminist tunnel vision and success at obtaining complete criminalization of intimate abuse and violence has ignored the dynamics of such abuse. The feminist author/social worker/law school professor powerfully condemns the politically correct dogma that only men's violence warrants attention and calls for reflection by everyone on their own contribution. The one-sided view of intimate violence has resulted in frequently making the lives of women (and men) worse and in more rather than less violence, particularly for minorities. She calls for a creative solution along the lines of the restorative justice used by South Africa that would deescalate the war between men and women, result in less violence, and could lead to improved intimate relations for all of us. The question that is unanswered is if "the entrenched and very powerful" feminists (quoting Archbishop Desmond Tutu) will be willing to give up the power that their simple but inaccurate portrayal and widespread legal assumption of only men as violent has given the feminist movement.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By B. Nelson on March 16, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I bought it for a college class and found it pretty interesting to read. If you would like to read about the ineffectiveness of the criminal justice system towards domestic violence, this is a great book.
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12 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Goldie Berg on April 26, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I don't agree with reviewers who say Ms. Mills 'doesn't get' feminism. The problem with people who spend their careers 'getting' feminism (which judging from some of her jargon may include Mills) is that they tend not to 'get' anything else. I think some of the previous reviewers are likely to have this problem. They can quote us 10 types of patriarchy, but have no suggestions for how women can juggle professional and personal satisfaction, or other thing that actually matter.

Unfortunately, most people who laugh at the '10 types of patriarchy; argument leave the conversation right after that, denying women the insight of someone who sees the idiocy of the 'mainstream feminist' approach. Enter Mills, who has clearly spent plenty of time soaking in the petri dish of elite academic feminism but is sharp enough to realize that helping women get what they want starts with listening to them.

In this book, she addresses the unspeakable fact that domestic violence often involves two parties - both are often unhappy, but both are still there. It's earth-shatteringly obvious, but earth-shattering all the same. Mainstream feminists can't bear to face it, but the fact is that often abused women not only stay in abusive relationships and try to keep the cops from being called, but then bail their partners out and refuse to press charges.

You can wonder why, but Mills deals with a bigger question - how can the criminal justice system handle domestic violence in a way that addresses the actual needs of the parties? This doesn't mean sending women back to the wolves, but just realizing that they can speak for themselves and must be listened to.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. Steven Svoboda on November 28, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
New York University Social Work and Law Professor Linda G. Mills has produced an interesting and valuable book, which I would describe as more allied with men's rights than a men's rights book per se. Such books may actually be more illuminating than those written by movement "insiders" in that they provide insight as to how sympathetic outsiders view our work. Mills calls herself a feminist though her position on most issues seems much closer to a masculist position. Mills' goal is to put forward a paradigm for how society should address domestic violence that is quite different from the currently reigning imprison-the-man approach.

While fully aware that women are involved in a higher percentage of domestic violence than conventional wisdom admits, for the purposes of this book at least, Mills' analysis focuses on male-perpetrator female-victim cases. The author eloquently contends that feminism is disempowering women by denying the effect of women's behavior on the presence or absence of male domestic violence. "[M]ainstream feminists have legislated that [a male batterer] be taken out of the context of his biography and into an automatic legal process in which he will be held absolutely accountable for any violence he committed. He will be defined as a product of patriarchy, and his masculine privilege will account for the sole source of his aggression."

Interestingly, the effectiveness of the current male-punitive approach to DV varies across races, working the best for Causasians (surprise, surprise!) and being counterproductive for African-Americans in the sense that it actually increases the incidence of DV.
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By Jessica Hollar on October 12, 2014
Format: Hardcover
An eye-opening and thought-provoking piece of literature on intimate partner violence. Linda Mills isn't afraid to turn society's current views of domestic violence on their head and share new, inventive ideas. A must-read for anyone who already holds interest in intimate partner violence and/or anyone who is looking to share and even work towards implementing these ideas.
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