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date: 04 April 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Movements to end violence against women in the United States have brought the issues of rape, incest, wife-beating, and sexual harassment to public attention, given birth to community support systems for survivors, laid the foundation for research, and triggered significant cultural change. However, they have not been without their critics. After tracing the history of the battered women’s and the anti-rape movements, this chapter explores three areas of controversy surrounding both movements. The first is the charge that activists have abandoned their feminist political agendas and have become part of the social service mainstream. The second criticism is that the movements have excluded minority women and, as a result, have supported policies that do more harm than good. The third debate surrounds whether these movements have been co-opted by the state and are used more to regulate and control the poor and minorities than to challenge existing structures of power.

Keywords: violence against women, battered women’s movement, anti-rape movement, feminism, sexual harassment, professionalization

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