Why Battered Women Stay

Update: Lots of excellent comments have made it very clear that Stark’s book is likely to not so exciting and new as it was presented as being.  For more, I really recommend that you have a good look through the excellent discussion in the comments.    Broadsheet alerted me to an important new book just exerpted here. The author, Evan Stark, argues that many studying and trying to help battered women have mistakenly focussed on the women’s psychology in trying to figure out why they stay. Instead, he argues, the answer lies with the power exerted by their abusers. He calls this power ‘coercive control’, which he likens to kidnapping or indentured servitude. Stark argues that this should be seen as a human rights violation, which restricts women’s rights and liberties. He also makes the important point that victims of domestic violence often make very realistic assessments of their situations and options, sometimes more realistic than those trying to help them. For example, people often suppose that if women leave they will be safer, but the odds of serious injury or death increase with separation. Potentially very interesting for those working on automony, on moral psychology, and on human rights; as well as to those trying to combat domestic violence.