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Recommended Books on Domestic Violence


Women Can't Hear What Men Don't Say

Women Can't Hear What Men Don't Say cover by Warren Farrell (2001) "When the society has no awareness that men are battered by women in significant numbers, we don't develop hotlines, so we don't hear men's feelings; we don't develop shelters, so we don't hear men's feelings; we don't train social workers to be sensitive to men who get hit first, so they develop a treatment programs based on what they can see. Without responsible new information neither sex nor any social workers can be asked to alter a working paradigm."

Chapter six of Farrell's book is the most concise and forward-looking examination of domestic violence to date. If you only read one book on the subject make it this one.

Ceasefire! - Why Women and Men Must Join Forces to Achieve True Equality

Ceasefire cover

by Cathy Young (1999) "Take gender politics out of the war on domestic violence. The media should take a serious look at intimate violence by women."

When She Was Bad: Violent Women and the Myth of Innocence

by Patricia Pearson (1997). "Our ability to interpret what is really going on is confounded, however, by the advent, in feminist scholarship, of 'standpoint epistemology'. This research framework holds that history must be told from the standpoint of woman/victim." ... as soon as girls hone their verbal and social skills, at around ten or eleven, they become aggressors of a different kind. They abandon physical aggression, even though their pre-pubescent hormones are still no different than boys', and adopt a new set of tactics: they bully, they name call, they set up and frame fellow kids. They become masters of indirection." Indirect aggression, as the Finnish psychologist Kaj Bjorkqvist defines it, is "a kind of social manipulation: the aggressor manipulates others to attack the victim, or, by other means, makes use of the social structure in order to harm the target person, without being personally involved in the attack".

Ghosts from the Nursery

by Robin Karr-Morse and Meredith S Wiley. This 1997 book is an extensive enquiry into the origins of violent behaviour.

Male Violence

- edited by Dr John Archer (1994). In 1998, at a meeting with members of the North Harbour Family Violence Prevention Project, we asked Co-ordinator Reese Helmondollar where they get the information that informs their practice. He strongly recommended we read this weighty tome. In the absence of any significant discussion of female violence, workers who rely on this book to present a complete picture of family violence will be badly misled.

Current Controversies on Family Violence

- edited by Richard Gelles and Donileen Loseke (1993). In the introduction, the editors write: "By highlighting controversies, the chapters in this volume also challenge popularly held beliefs that a group of experts, such as experts in family violence, hold a united vision of 'the truth'. We do not agree on how to define this thing, how to measure it, how to think about the causes; we do not agree on what should be done about it."

Not Reviewed:

Prone to Violence

Prone To Violence cover

by Erin Pizzey (1982) Erin Pizzey founded the first refuge for battered wives in 1971. As a result of that work there is now refuge all over the world. This ground-breaking 1982 book was successfully banned by radical feminists, however the full text is now here.

Author's Preface.

The premise of our work is that every baby needs to feel love and happiness. A baby will bond these instinctive feelings to whatever people and situations are available. It is the birth-right of every child to be surrounded by nurturing and loving parents in an atmosphere of peace. In a non-violent family, a child grows up in such an atmosphere, and then, working from the secure base of being loved, will develop an independent and choosing self that is able to recreate happy love both in future relationships and with its own children. In a violent family, however, this birthright to love and peace is betrayed, because from the moment of conception the child lives in a world where emotional and physical pain and danger are always present. The child then bonds to pain. This bonding becomes an addiction to pain. The child then cannot grow to form an independent self, because he or she is slave to this addiction. Throughout life, the person then recreates situations of violence and pain, for those situations stir the only feelings of love and satisfaction the person has ever known.

Whether the children of violent families learn to find satisfaction through the inflicting or the receiving of emotional and physical pain, the violence that these people live on is merely an expression of pain. The role of the caring community is to undo this fundamental betrayal of people who have been emotionally disabled by their violent childhoods. By creating a loving environment in which deep internal work can be done to help violence-prone people to understand and to overcome their addiction to pain, these people can then learn to trust and be happy in love instead of pain.

Kill the Body, the Head will Fall: a closer look at women, violence and aggression.

By Rene Denfield, (1997), Random House. Writer and amateur boxer Rene Denfield believes that it is only when women have an awareness not just of their vulnerability, but also of their strengths that they can recognise their ability to survive and win. This book looks at why women commit child abuse and other crimes, why women often feel guilty and out of control when enraged; how female competition is often subverted into hidden, often vicious realms; and the intersection between sex and violence. Denfield also candidly discusses her experiences as one of the first women to train for what was a previously male only sport.

Abused Men

Abused Men cover

by Phillip W. Cook, (1998). This unique book by Philip W Cook is the first to comprehensively examine this important but neglected social issue, while at the same time providing helpful practical advice for abused men and for those who care about them. Abused Men-The Hidden Side of Domestic Violence offers gripping, emotional stories, self-help for victims and those concerned about them, and provocative insight into public issues, and provides a basic reference source for professionals.This work presents practical solutions for reducing domestic violence, whether its victims are male or female.


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