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.
"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