Evan Stark calls on battered women’s activists to reorient their understanding of abusive relationships. Rather than being primarily about physical violence, he maintains, domestic violence is better conceptualized as men’s attempts to destroy women’s autonomy and reinstate patriarchy in intimate relationships. His analysis suggests important changes to defending battered women in court, modifications to the kinds of support services the movement provides for battered women, and changes in the laws and law enforcement regarding battering. Stark also maintains that, to end coercive control, the battered women’s movement must renew its commitment not only to ensuring the safety of individual women but also to attaining the feminist goal of substantive freedom and equality for women in both public and private life.
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