19 Hastings Women's L.J. 259 (2008)
Challenging Changing Legal Definitions of Family in Same-Sex Domestic Violence

handle is hein.journals/haswo19 and id is 267 raw text is: Challenging Changing Legal Definitions of Family
in Same-Sex Domestic Violence
Shannon Little*
One called repeatedly, threatening to ruin the victim by telling
scandalous stories about the victim's sexual practices and health to police,
family, friends, and colleagues.' Another's threat was more physical, and it
included brandishing a knife, grabbing the victim's face, and pushing.2
Another engaged in an all-out battle: punching the victim in the face,
stomach, and head, and kicking the victim in the shins.3 The situations
vary, but the common thread is that the perpetrators and the victims were
men in homosexual relationships, and law enforcement and the legal
structures designed to end domestic violence failed the victims.
Domestic violence law has made great strides from the time when
husbands were allowed to beat their wives with a switch no larger than his
thumb.4 Courts no longer explicitly hold that the best response to violence
is to draw the curtain, shut out the public gaze, and leave the parties to
forget and forgive.,5  Federal and state criminal/civil laws outlaw and
attempt to prevent domestic violence, also referred to as intimate partner
violence, domestic abuse, and partner abuse.6   In the 1970s, the
feminist movement focused on developing an understanding of domestic
violence as a product of patriarchy and devoted energy to funding and
* J.D. Candidate, May 2008; University of California, Hastings College of the Law;
B.A., 2000, Journalism, American University, 2000. The Author served as the Executive
Symposium Editor for HWLTs 2008 symposium, Family Frontiers: Emerging Legal Issues
in the Post-Nuclear Era. She would like to give special thanks to the members of the
Hastings Women 's Law Journal and Kristen Washburn and Connie Cabello of Bay Area
Legal Aid's Alameda County family law division.
1. Richardson v. Easterling, 878 A.2d 1212, 1215 n.4 (D.C. Cir. 2005).
2. Moore v. Bentley, No. 03-AP-1003, 2004 WL 2804785, at *1 (Ohio Ct. App.
Sept. 23, 2004).
THEM: BATTERED GAY MEN AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE 236-39 (Harrington Park Press 1991).
4. State v. Oliver, 70 N.C. 44, 45 (1874).
5. Id. at 45.
6. Riyah Lilith, Reconsidering the Abuse that Dare Not Speak Its Name: Criticism of
Recent Legal Scholarship Regarding Same Gendered Domestic Violence, 7 MICH. J.
GENDER& L. 181, 182 (2001).


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