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"Trivial Complaints": The Role of Privacy in Domestic Violence Law and Activism in the U.S.

Kirsten S. Rambo

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November, 2008
Cloth, 264 pages,
ISBN: 978-0-231-13557-3
$65.00 / £45.00

"Trivial Complaints" explores the historical relationship between privacy and domestic violence through an analysis of litigation and activism. The state has traditionally hesitated in responding to domestic violence, characterizing it as a "private" family matter. The discourse of privacy incorporates presumptions about race, class, and sexuality, and this volume examines the ramifications of such assumptions for victims and activists.

Kirsten S. Rambo begins with an analysis of courts' and activists' responses to domestic violence during the late nineteenth century and continues through to the late twentieth century, when the modern battered women's movement emerged on the heels of the battle to secure abortion rights. Rambo explores the seemingly contradictory yet often complementary ways in which the discourse of privacy has been shaped by both movements seeking justice for women. She further examines concepts of privacy as applied to same-sex relationships and domestic violence, and ultimately considers alternative models of privacy that are egalitarian and rooted in empowerment.

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About the Author

Kirsten S. Rambo is the executive director of the Georgia Commission on Family Violence and a former visiting assistant professor of women's studies at Emory University.

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