Monday, 8 July 2013

Exploring Gender-Based Violence - and the woods - in the US


 CRFR Associate Director Nancy Lombard's second post from her trip to the US

"I was delighted that the students from  Stonybrook’s social welfare degree programme engaged in such an animated way after my lecture this week. Discussions covered a range of wider issues including women's objectification in the media and children's exposure to different forms of violence. The visit was organised by Dr Kathy Monahan Director of the Family Violence Education and Research Center who has previously conducted prevalence research on domestic violence in Ireland.


Picture of Nancy in from of slide reading 'young people's attictiudes of men's violence against women'

I headed North from Long Island  to meet with Professor Evan Stark in New Haven. Evan devised the concept of coercive control to help explain the domestic abuse as behaviour that consisted of more than just 'a fight'. It is used to describe patterns of behaviour that restrict a woman's liberty and freedom. It explains an abuser's behaviour as controlling and as restricting every part of a woman's life using threats, isolation and violence.You can hear him describe it on video  and read Evan's contribution to our book Violence Against Women: Current Theory and Practice in Domestic Abuse, Sexual Violence and Exploitation  The concept of coercive control has since been adapted by the Home Office to broaden its definition of domestic violence  

Evan joins us at CRFR on a Leverhulme Visiting Professorship in the autumn for three months. During his time in Scotland he will deliver the plenary at the Gender Based Violence Research Network annual conference 'Why Gender Still Matters' ; chair a PhD / ECR day; present an evening lecture at Glasgow University alongside presentations to the Scottish Government, police officers, practitioners and academics. 
 
As part of my visit I met with Dr Anne Flitcraft, a medical doctor with a vast history and experience in the violence against women's movement. Anne is also married to Evan. Both Anne and Evan have a great affinity with the UK and the refuge movement there. They talked fondly about their time at the University of Essex and also the many friends they have made in Scotland during their research visits there. Anne and Evan conducted research together that found that more women sought and received medical treatment for injuries from domestic violence than for any other reason (Stark and Flitcraft 1996). They spoke about the safe houses they had helped set up and run in the US and also cooperative nurseries they developed with other like-minded parents.

Anne and Evan not only looked after me, sharing academic stories and political insights, they also showed immense hospitality to my family. Their wonderful home in the woods provided an adventure in itself for my children who had fun exploring a world very different to their Glasgow home. A great time was had by all!"
Photo of Anne Flitcraft, Evan Stark and Nancy Lombard in the woods near their home
Anne Flitcraft, Evan Stark and Nancy Lombard

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