The Law and Violence Against Women in the Family at Century’s End: The US Experience
The beating of wives or girlfriends is a long-hidden aspect of family life that has existed over time and throughout cultures. There has been a dramatic change in both public and legal recognition at the end of the century that has resulted from the work of feminism. Although many aspects of family law have been influenced by the struggle for gender equality, legal transformation on domestic violence has been spearheaded by the women’s rights movement. This chapter examines some of the crucial aspects of this process and the legal reforms which have resulted. In 1992, the United States Supreme Court recognised the pervasiveness and severity of intimate violence for the first time in Planned Parenthood v Casey, and in 1994 Congress passed the Violence Against Women Act. Planned Parenthood v Casey is widely known as the decision in which the Supreme Court narrowly upheld constitutional protection for women’s right to reproductive choice. In its decision, the Court recounted the seriousness and the pervasiveness of the problem of domestic violence.
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