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Constructive FeminismWomen's Spaces and Women's Rights in the American City$
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Daphne Spain

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780801453199

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801453199.001.0001

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Domestic Violence Shelters

Domestic Violence Shelters

Protecting Bodily Integrity

(p.140) Chapter 5 Domestic Violence Shelters
Constructive Feminism

Daphne Spain

Cornell University Press

This chapter looks at how domestic violence shelters have become bases of political thought and action; by providing physical spaces for safety and support, these shelters have defied one of the most brutal expressions of gender inequality—male violence—by protecting a woman’s basic right to bodily integrity. For most of history the law has failed to protect women attacked by intimate partners, leading to the question of whether or not battered women are understood as citizens of the state at all. The chapter argues that if women cannot move and act freely in the public sphere, or if they are intimidated in the privacy of their homes, their ability to act as citizens is limited. Domestic violence shelters have thus become places of refuge for these women, within which they can build their self-esteem and acquire a greater autonomy for themselves.

Keywords:   domestic violence, domestic violence shelters, male violence, battered women, bodily integrity, freedom of movement

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