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WE HAVE MANY BEAUTIFUL TRADITIONS;
FAMILY VIOLENCE IS NOT ONE OF THEM.

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Annotated Bibliography

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Ramirez Hernandez, F.A. (2000). Violencia Masculina en el Hogar: Alternativas y Soluciones. Mexico D.F.: Editorial Pax Mexico, Libreria Carlos Cesarman S.A. (The publisher can be contacted via email at editorialpax@mexis.com). Language: Spanish

This book examines the relevant issues of domestic violence, focusing on prevalent social and cultural characteristics that may create barriers to the formation of healthy, egalitarian relationships. In the first chapter the author discusses the differences between physical, sexual, verbal and emotional domestic violence. Then, throughout the book he examines the biological, psychological and gender-specific interpretations of the causes of domestic violence, as well as the importance of men accepting responsibility for their behavior. The solutions to the problem of domestic violence are considered and divided into two main areas: the community level and the individual level. At the individual level, he encourages men to commit to the process of changing destructive behaviors and working toward the creation of a new male identity that includes a new kind of relationship with their partner. At the end of each chapter, a series of questions are presented to the male reader to help facilitate the process of self-awareness, the acceptance of responsibility, and the commitment to change. At the community level, the author stresses that it is crucial that when a man is violent in the home, he should be confronted with a strict system of social and legal sanctions. Other collective solutions include influencing and changing the various aspects of education, religion, mass media and cultural traditions that help to perpetuate the problem of domestic violence.

Ramos-Lira, L., Koss, M. P., & Russo, N. F. (1999). "Mexican American women’s definitions of rape and sexual abuse." Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 21(3), 236-265. Language: English

Focus groups were conducted with 17 Mexican immigrant women living in rural Arizona to explore concepts related to rape and sexual abuse. The women discussed definitions of various forms of unwanted sexual experiences, their personal knowledge of someone who had been raped or sexually abused, and their perceptions of the roots of sexual abuse. Distinctions between rape and violations, child versus adult rape (including marital rape), motivations for rape, and social factors contributing to victim silencing were identified. The meaning and perceived impact of rape reflected the gender relations of the culture. Keeping silent was a consistent theme, underscoring the difficulties of accurately assessing rape prevalence in Latinas.

Rivera, J. (1994). "Domestic Violence against Latinas by Latino Males: An Analysis of Race, National Origin, and Gender Differentials." Boston College Third World Journal, 14, 231. Language: English

Historically, the domestic violence movement has not taken into account the needs of the Latino community. Policies formulated without taking these needs into account may actually place Latinas in danger. Extensive educational efforts must be linked to mandatory arrest policies to inform the community of the policy as well as the duties imposed on the police. Faith and trust must be established by having the police work with well-recognized Latina activists and organizations. Latinas face multiple barriers because of their race, national origin and gender. This multiple discrimination factors into how Latinas experience and respond to domestic violence. Institutional racism and patriarchal structures are interrelated in the experience of Latinas. A reform movement that recognizes these realities and experiences will acknowledge the need to work in unison, but only from a strong base. Latino community-based organizations must be strengthened and provided with the financial and political flexibility to develop and establish domestic violence shelters and services. The Latino community must prioritize domestic violence initiatives. The lives of women and the well-being of an entire community depend on it.

Rivera, J. (1995). "Puerto Rico’s Domestic Violence Prevention and Intervention Law and the United States Violence Against Women Act of 1994: The Limitations of Legislative Responses." Columbia Journal of Gender and Law, 5(1), 78-126. Language: Engli

This article considers the current and potential successes, as well as the limitations, of two recently enacted statutes to address intimates’ violence against women: Puerto Rico’s domestic violence law and the United States’ federal anti-violence legislation. Although Puerto Rico’s Domestic Violence Prevention and Intervention Law, commonly referred to as "Law 54," and the United States’ Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) reflect distinct jurisdictional and cultural concerns, they adopt similar remedial goals and mechanisms for addressing violence against women. Both embrace criminalization of domestic violence and prescribe criminal and civil sanctions for the abuser. These legislative efforts have had significant, albeit limited, success in curbing such violence because of deep-rooted gender inequalities in the legal system and legal discourse on domestic violence. This article proposes that effective legislation recognizes each woman’s individuality and her entitlement to full participation in society as an equal. The ultimate success and utility of legislation depends upon its integration into the legal framework and the political discourse on violence against women. Where that integration is tainted by or constructed pursuant to presumptions founded on gender biases about women and violence against women, legislation will face serious obstacles, and will provide only partial remedies for women. However, where the legislative focus is the safety and autonomy of women, a wider range of success is possible. In the case of both laws, their ultimate value can only be measured by the successes and failures of their implementation.

Rivera, J. (1995). "The Politics of Invisibility." Georgetown Journal on Fighting Poverty, 3(1), 61-65. Language: English

In spite of the rapid growth of the Latino population in the United States, economic equality continues to be a dream for most Latinos. Latina women have carried a great deal of the burden associated with pervasive poverty and inequality. Latinas are invisible to the majority population. When recognized, they are viewed as mothers and not as workers, political participants, and leaders. For Latinas, gender-based violence is part of a spectrum of oppression. Effective legislative solutions must be based on recognition of Latina-specific realities. Elected and appointed officials may be biased against Latina women, and these biases impact negatively on Latinas seeking assistance in domestic violence situations. Efforts to educate law enforcement personnel must address gender-based discrimination and the challenges confronting Latinas in their efforts to obtain legal protection from abusers. The lack of translation and culturally appropriate services exacerbate the isolation and discomfort Latinas experience when seeking help within the judicial system. There are only a few Latina-based, bilingual, bicultural shelter programs nationally. Advocates, activists, legislators and policy makers face the challenge of designing and enacting legislation that responds to the specific challenges faced by Latinas and other women of color. The politics of invisibility cannot distract policy makers from the goal of providing opportunity and access for all women.

Rivera, J. (1996). "The Violence Against Women Act and the Construction of Multiple Consciousness in the Civil Rights and Feminist Movements." Journal of Law and Policy, 463-511. Language: English

This article asserts that while the enactment of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in 1994 was an undeniable victory for feminism, and as such served as a vehicle for a sophisticated national discourse on violence between intimate partners, the passage of VAWA was also a civil rights victory. VAWA represents an important opportunity for civil rights activists and feminists to identify common goals and philosophies of their respective social and legal reform movements, and an opportunity to convert their doctrines into practice through joint action. The first part of this article provides a brief overview of the common, yet conflicting, history of the civil rights movements. It provides examples of the way the current political climate threatens to dismantle the hard-won advances of both movements and, simultaneously, serves as an impetus to unite the two around common goals. The author concludes by urging civil rights and feminist activists to expand and equalize their collaborative efforts and apply their respective social reform doctrines to each other’s struggles. It further encourages activists to maximize VAWA’s potential for reform by aggressively utilizing its remedies, calling for enactment and enforcement of those provisions which take account of the particular needs of women of color and immigrant women, and combining the two movements’ considerable experience and strengths to end the multiple forms of intimate partner violence against women.

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