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2015 BYU L. Rev. 1183 (2015)
Hands up at Home: Militarized Masculinity and Police Officers Who Commit Intimate Partner Abuse

handle is hein.journals/byulr2015 and id is 1223 raw text is: 







    Hands Up at Home: Militarized Masculinity and
 Police   Officers  Who Commit Intimate Partner Abuse

                          Leigh Goodmark  *

                             ABSTRACT

    The deaths of Michael Brown and  Eric Garner and  the almost daily
 news stories about abusive and  violent police conduct are currently
 prompting questions about the appropriate use offorce by police officers.
 Moreover, the history of police brutality directed towards women is well-
 documented. Most  of that literature, however, captures the violence that
 police do in their public capacity as officers of the state. This Article
 examines the violence and abuse perpetrated by police in their private
 lives, against their intimate partners. Although the public and private
 overlap, the power and training provided to police officers by the state
 makes them significantly more dangerous as abusers. Intimate partner
 abuse by police officers is a systemic, structural issue created and fueled
 by the ways in which police officers are socialized and trained. Police
 officers are more likely than others to abuse their partners, and as a
 result of their training and their state imprimatur, police abuse of
 partners is more problematic  and  potentially more dangerous  than
 abuse by civilians. Changing the behavior of abusive police officers may
 be nearly impossible given the interplay of policing and masculinity.
 Policing is a male profession; it encourages and rewards many of the
 same notions of masculinity that underscore intimate partner  abuse.
 Feminist theories about how intimate partner abuse serves a means of
 asserting control over one's partner may not explain officer-involved
 domestic violence; intimate partner abuse in law enforcement may  be
 part of a larger pattern of violent behavior justified by problematic
 notions of masculinity. Moreover, the increasing militarization of police
forces has given rise to a particularly pernicious type of masculinity,
militarized  masculinity,  which  is reflected in the  attitudes and


* Professor of Law, University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. Thanks to Julie
Goldscheid, Ann McGinley, Deborah Weissman, and the participants at CONVERGE! Re-
Imagining the Movement to End Gender-Based Violence for their feedback, and to Kate
DeNobile for her research assistance.

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