Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: May 28, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963930 | Print ISBN: 9781412941655 | Online ISBN: 9781412963930| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Kathleen S. Lowney
Domestic violence—usually defined as intentional physical, sexual, or emotional harm by an intimate partner or family member—likely has always been part of human history. The construction and reconstruction of this social problem in the United States occurred in several ways, beginning as the problem of wife abuse. Claims makers concerned with wife abuse emerged during the 1970s out of several other moral entrepreneurial campaigns, particularly those of the second wave feminist consciousness-raising groups, the anti-rape social movement, and the child protection movement. The first two focused their attention on challenging the secondary status of women in society. Consciousness-raising groups gave women time and space away from their busy lives to share stories of harassment, victimization, and often, abuse. These groups let many women see that what they had experienced was not unusual but rather was typical of many women's experiences. These groups gave women a discourse with which to analyze ...