PRESENTED BY: Professor Leigh Goodmark, Fulbright Senior Specialist, University of Maryland

Feminists fought hard for recognition that domestic violence was a crime and helped to conceive and build the criminal justice response that now dominates the worldwide discourse on addressing domestic violence. But the decision to rely so heavily on the legal system as the primary systemic response to domestic violence in the United States has not been a success and has had serious unintended consequences for the men and women that come into contact with that system. The legal system’s response essentializes people subjected to abuse, utilizes overly restrictive definitions of domestic violence, inappropriately relies on separation to protect people subjected to abuse and restricts the autonomy of people subjected to abuse through the use of mandatory policies. This talk discusses those problems and imagines a reconfigured legal response to domestic violence.