STOPPING WIFE ABUSE by Jennifer Baker Fleming


Email this review


Bits and pieces of advice for those who need help and those who want to give it. Activist Fleming draws extensively--perhaps too extensively--on published work (Lenore Walker, Del Martin) in guiding the abused woman through the emotional tangles of her situation (guilt, denial); problems with children who may also be suffering abuse; what to do during an attack; and deciding to leave or stay. For Fleming, the abused woman ""illustrates and clarifies the issues raised by the women's movement"" and ""magnifies what most women have experienced at some point in their lives."" Husbands and boyfriends may not consider a slapping-around abuse, yet each woman affected must be told to stop making excuses for the abuser, that two or three beatings means she is a battered woman. Yet it's a long way from realization to resolution; on the way the victim often encounters insensitive police and rigid court proceedings. Fleming's advice: know and demand your rights. And seek help. Simple understanding and counseling, shelters, and legal aid are all called for, and advice on each phase of support is given. (For the counselor: have initial individual interviews, don't admit any new members once the group has started; for legal aid forces--become aware of unofficial and official policy, of specific state statutes.) While the sympathy and emphasis lie with the victim, Fleming includes a portrait of the abuser--a man who could be ""lawyer or laborer, executive or ex-con"" but who uses violence to compensate for sensed weakness--and a discussion of couple counseling. Handy, if not markedly original.

Pub Date: Sept. 21st, 1979
Publisher: Anchor/Doubleday