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Violence against Women in Kentucky

Violence against Women in Kentucky: A History of U.S. and State Legislative Reform

Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 480
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  • Book Info
    Violence against Women in Kentucky
    Book Description:

    For more than two centuries, Kentucky women have fought for the right to vote, own property, control their wages, and be safe at home and in the workplace. Tragically, many of these women's voices have been silenced by abuse and violence. In Violence against Women in Kentucky: A History of U.S. and State Legislative Reform, Carol E. Jordan chronicles the stories of those who have led the legislative fight for the last four decades to protect women from domestic violence, rape, stalking, and related crimes.

    The story of Kentucky's legislative reforms is a history of substantial toil, optimism, advocacy, and personal sacrifice by those who proposed the change. This compelling narrative illustrates, through their own points of view, the stories of survivors who serve as inspiration for change. Jordan analyzes national legislative reforms as well as the strategies that have been used to enact and enforce legislation addressing rape and domestic violence at a local level.

    Violence against Women in Kentucky is the first book to look at the history of domestic violence and rape in a state that consistently falls at the bottom of women's rights rankings, as told by the activists and survivors who fought for change. Detailing the successes and failures of reforms and outlining the work that is still to be done, this volume reflects on the future of women's rights legislation in Kentucky.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-4493-1
    Subjects: Sociology, Law, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. Preface
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-6)

    The Commonwealth’s history is rich with dramatic stories—sometimes glorious and sometimes violent—of coalfields, conflicts, horses, sports legends, and bourbon. These stories not only tell the history of Kentucky but also tie its past to its future, as the lessons of history still inform Kentucky’s present. These stories also humorously depict Kentucky as being famous for its fast horses, bourbon, and beautiful women. This characterization would suggest that women are part of the documented annals of Kentucky, but a more serious read of history shows they are not. Historians have been all too silent when it comes to telling...

  6. 1 Kentucky Women and the Advocates Who Fought for Them
    (pp. 7-42)

    One gets a sense of Kentucky from its mountains in the east and its fields stretching across the Mississippi plains in the west; from its high buildings and urban face to its rural green landscapes; and, collectively, from its boundaries with seven other states. Kentuckians’ connection to the land has been captured by state historian James Klotter: “For many Kentuckians the land continues to provide their roots, giving generation after generation a sense of place, a tie that binds them to those who have walked the ground before them, a bridge from past to present” (Appleton, Hay, Klotter, & Stephens, 1998,...

  7. 2 The Prevalence of Violence and the Stories of Women Who Lived It
    (pp. 43-76)

    Among the greatest hardships faced by women from every generation across time and in every state across the country are those posed by domestic violence, rape, and stalking. These insidious violations are not just crimes against the few; they are crimes against the many. In the United States, one of the earliest nationally representative studies on the prevalence of violence against women, the National Family Violence Survey, reported that fully one-fourth of American couples experience at least one episode of violence at some point during their relationship (Straus, Gelles, & Steinmetz, 1980; Straus & Gelles, 1990). A second study found that one...

  8. 3 Rape and Sexual Violence: A Nation’s Reform
    (pp. 77-98)

    The first two decades of the domestic violence and anti-rape movements achieved more legal reforms for women than the previous three centuries combined. The voices of advocates were joined by those of early researchers, who documented violence against women and evaluated the police response, and attorneys, who helped survivors sue for equal protection. For anti-rape advocates, the first target was the repeal of unique provisions in sexual offense statutes that had a harmful effect on rape survivors.

    To fully understand the challenges facing advocates in the 1970s, one must examine the earliest U.S. laws addressing rape. These early laws dramatically...

  9. 4 Domestic Violence and Stalking: A Nation’s Reform
    (pp. 99-134)

    The push to reform the laws pertaining to rape, domestic violence, and stalking did not begin with the judges who interpreted the law, the police who enforced it, or the attorneys who prosecuted violators of it. Rather, it began in the women’s movement of the 1970s. Women’s rights advocates declared that what happened behind closed doors between husbands and wives was not private but deeply political, setting the stage for the anti-rape and domestic violence movements that followed (Schechter, 1982). While the early courts opined on laws that, in effect, gave abusive men immunity and permitted a veil of secrecy...

  10. 5 The Structure and Strategy of Legislative Reform
    (pp. 135-182)

    Legislative reforms to address domestic violence and rape were born out of a belief among advocates, criminal justice professionals, and their allies that changes in the law would have a direct and dramatic impact on the lives of battered women and rape survivors. For many years, advocates had encountered punitive provisions in existing rape laws and a failure to enforce laws in domestic violence cases. Without this active grassroots advocacy, nothing would change for these battered women and rape survivors on whose behalf they worked. If the system were to improve, advocates had to make their presence known in state...

  11. 6 The Birth of Legislative Reform in Kentucky: The 1970s
    (pp. 183-210)

    The Commonwealth of Kentucky would experience unprecedented highs and unforgettable lows in the 1970s. The horse industry would celebrate as the fleet-footed Secretariat won the Kentucky Derby in 1973, setting a still unbroken record of 1:59.40. Secretariat was owned and bred by Penny Chenery, another rarity in the horse business—a woman. The early 1970s would also see the first female jockey ride in the Kentucky Derby, Diane Crump. Violence would mar the bucolic grounds of the University of Kentucky, as students protested and a concerned governor called in National Guard troops. Governor Louie Nunn would also send the National...

  12. 7 Legislative Reform: The 1980s
    (pp. 211-248)

    Secretariat’s speed captured the attention of Kentuckians in the 1970s, but in the 1980s it was Derby winners’ gender that made news. Only three fillies have won the Kentucky Derby, and two of them did so in the 1980s: Genuine Risk in 1980 and Winning Colors in 1988. Females also brought home trophies in other sports, including Louisville’s exceptional Mary T. Meagher, who would win three gold medals for swimming in the 1984 Olympics. The University of Louisville would capture two national collegiate basketball championships for its fans during the decade. Literary-minded Kentuckians would discover two writers with Kentucky ties...

  13. 8 Legislative Reform: The 1990s
    (pp. 249-308)

    The 1990s would see the Commonwealth celebrate 200 years of statehood. Other celebrations would follow when the University of Kentucky men’s basketball team achieved stunning success on the court, bringing home national championships in 1996 and 1998. And the decade would be capped by another extraordinary achievement by a Kentuckian when Victoria “Tori” Murden McClure became the first woman to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean.¹

    Darker moments would be seared in the memories of Kentuckians, such as the cold December morning when fourteen-year-old Michael Carneal opened fire on a group of fellow students at Heath High School in Paducah,...

  14. 9 Legislative Reform: 2000 through 2012
    (pp. 309-358)

    During the first decade of the new century, destructive weather events would be imprinted into the memories of Kentucky families. In 2003 and again in 2009, ice storms descended on the Commonwealth, leaving a frozen tundra and death. In the middle of the decade and again in 2012, Kentucky would experience brutal summer droughts and stretches of record-breaking triple-digit heat. On primary election eve in 2008, tornadoes would blow through Kentucky, foreshadowing the spiraling tornadic winds of 2012 that would kill more than twenty Kentuckians and completely flatten the town of West Liberty (Honeycutt & Warren, 2012; National Weather Service, 2012)....

  15. 10 Violence against Women Legislative Reform: Past and Future
    (pp. 359-374)

    The legislation chronicled in previous chapters peels back layers of time to reveal the stories of just over 100 bills passed by the Kentucky General Assembly from 1970 to 2012. The bills included in this chronicle were chosen because they were proposed by the anti-rape and domestic violence movements in Kentucky1 or because they dramatically impacted rape victims and battered women (e.g., the Kentucky Penal Code). These bills, in total, illustrate the building of Kentucky’s justice system, and they give a face to the state’s legislative response to domestic violence, rape, and stalking. The legislation that created the Kentucky Commission...

  16. Appendix A: Interviews Conducted by the Author
    (pp. 375-376)
  17. Appendix B: Select Anti-Rape and Domestic Violence Legislation: 1970–2012
    (pp. 377-388)
  18. Appendix C: Membership on Task Forces and Councils
    (pp. 389-396)
  19. Notes
    (pp. 397-408)
  20. Bibliography
    (pp. 409-442)
  21. Index
    (pp. 443-462)
  22. Back Matter
    (pp. 463-464)